Moving on

So we’ve all heard some form of the phrase “You need to move on.” People in movies and shows say it as a quip, never really expecting the person to take their advice. But what does it actually look like to move on?

I present for your consideration Ella from the 2015 Cinderella, she’s a really good person. Kind and courageous. Enduring a lot of mistreatment with never a harsh word. Her Stepmother, who hates her for no reason of her own except that she exists (the most deadly type of hatred,) keeps doing cruel things to her out of jealousy. At the end of the story Ella is finally found and rescued by her Prince. She is about to leave this house and the stepfamily who treat her worse than a dog. She could gloat, I bet a lot of us would have a hard time not doing that, but instead Ella looks back at her Stepmother who is sinking down on the stairs in defeat. Seeing her Ella seems to realize that no matter what good might happen to her the Stepmother will still be miserable because she has chosen to be. So Ella, perhaps seeing a hint of guilt in her expression, says simply “I forgive you.” Then she walks out the door.

If you forgive someone from your heart, you no longer harbor ill feelings for them. You can be glad when they do well, and sorry when they suffer. (This may sound impossible, if so you’re not there yet, but don’t give up we’re all on the journey all the time.) But until you move on, the person still holds power over you. You still may desire their approval. Or you may be overly sensitive to their words. It’s taken me ages to realize that until I move on, I will still base my self worth on what other people think of me. Think of a person who you have a rocky relationship with: When they’re around can’t you just feel what they’re thinking about you? Can’t you tell their opinion of you deep down even when they seem okay with you? Well, there’s a strong chance you’re imagining it. But sometimes it really is the case. Either way the effect on you is to measure yourself by what they think of you.

I’m not going to be silly and say that it’s stupid to measure yourself by people’s opinions. It’s quite natural actually, and sometimes it’s helpful because we tend to mirror each other’s attitudes. If that is the case we need to alter our behavior before we worry about theirs. But, there are times when we honestly have tried to be kind to the person in question. And sometimes they know it and other times they never realize it. (Like the Stepsisters.) Either way it can be discouraging. And they will name us things like Cinderella (I read once that it means “ash baby.”) People’s opinions can have value. But only as much as you give them. If you don’t trust the judgment of the person then they shouldn’t give you your name–which is your identity.

When your realize that you’re wrapping your identity in someone else’s judgment, then it’s time to move on. Forgive them as many times as necessary, but stop pondering what they say about you, stop thinking about the past except when you have to, stop wearing their label.

Likely they never meant to label you, or they thought the label was harmless; but even if they did it purposely, let it go.

At the moment all I know about Moving On is that it’s a choice like most things are. There’s a time to every purpose under heaven. We have to walk away form the pain if we would move forward into the joy. I don’t mean we should be indifferent to people. But that we should recognize that they don’t always get us right. So, moving on…

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