Med One to One Fall/Winter TWENTY TWENTY-ONE ISSUE 69

WHAT
Defines
Us?

Written By: Randy Smith

What Defines Us?

When our daughter was 13 years old, she had a disagreement with her best friend. She was so upset that she would try avoiding being even on the same block, although her best friend lived nearly across the street. When her former friend was in sight, our daughter would change directions or cross to the other side of the street just to avoid her. This became such an obsession that her life was disrupted just trying to avoid meeting this other young girl.

She decided to completely alter her life because she didn’t like this one person at that time.

After about a year, the two girls finally decided that they could be friends again and had months before forgotten what the original disagreement had been about. The two friends had totally disrupted their lives and had lost many opportunities they would have had as friends over a silly disagreement that didn’t even matter in the long term.

To this day, many years later, the two girls are still friends.

From the movie Milton’s Secret, a line by actor Donald Sutherland goes, “Without forgiveness, the past determines who you are and not the present.” How often do we hold grudges against others that impact our attitudes and our actions? Often, the other person has no idea or doesn’t care and goes about their life with little or no impact from your actions or personal feelings. We are the only one that has the problem, and we let this define what our actions will be.

In the movie Ghost in a Shell, the actress Scarlett Johansson states, “We cling to memories as if they define us, but what we do defines us.”

Over the years, I have often stepped back to look at my life and see if I am going in the direction I want to be. We all have regrets about things we have done or said in the past, but we need to look beyond that. Yes, we should learn from our experiences, so we don’t make the same mistakes again, but we can all decide what we do and say now and in the future. The past is the past, and it should stay there.

We can’t let others dictate what our lives will be.

At the Spencer F. Eccles Convocation on 9 September 2018, Gail Miller quoted her husband, Larry Miller, former owner of the Utah Jazz basketball franchise, as saying, “Measure yourself against yourself.”

As we stay true to ourselves, forgive others, and let the past lie, we free ourselves to determine our own future and find peace without the noisy encumbrances that can limit our lives.

"We cling to memories as if they define us, but what we do defines us."
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