I took a pause while looking at a social media’s profile photo of one of my contacts trying to make out what it meant in real terms.
I always think that these innocent looking profile photos really mean something. They always tell a story about people who posted them. This particular one, had an artist impression of a picture showing a little girl helping out her mother in the kitchen.
The caption “it’s the little memories that will last a lifetime” written across the profile photo said it all. For a moment, it was tempting to ask what really inspired this young woman to post that information in her profile. Instead, I dwelled back to my growing up years looking for clues to what I am today. The past do add up to give an answer to the present.
The casual slap on the face at home, the shove on the street or a word shouted at you in the classroom, all made us what we are today. How we deal with all that now is crucial. So crucial that it can be the ingredient of success or a complete breakdown further down at the finishing line. Though that slap leaves no physical scar but the clues of its effect are everywhere in the way we carry on.
I bet Elon Musk does not just want to make money for his electric cars but try unwarily to settle a score to someone in his days as a child in South Africa. Perhaps the same can be said for Napoleon in his attempt to conquer Europe, Pele in his footballing wizardry or even the explorer Ibn Battuta in his quest trying to find new foreign lands.
It is like a boomerang of actions, no matter how far it is thrown, it always come back to us, in one form or another. It is just some people turn their vented up anger of childhood into good use while others, just steer the wheel of their present life to self-destruction. We don’t need a psychiatrist to tell us how well we can use our growing up experience to our advantage. It is just we need to understand and reconcile with our past. We cannot go back to rearrange things and come back into the present.
But even for the seemingly fortunate ones, who spent ‘quality time’ with their parents helping out with household chores, or just mingle with the ‘right’ friends in their spare time, the rudder of their bearings could still steer to the wrong direction.
In a nutshell, whether we look lovingly in the past or just dread it, we all need to march on. But the most important part of understanding the past is to understand people around us.
If you had a bad childhood, then make sure your children do not go through the same experience. That’s how you reconcile with your past and make better use of it. So next time you see someone’s profile, cast your thoughts into your past to get some answers.