Do you find getting to know others challenging? Sometimes it is hard to know how to show who you are to someone else. Maybe you are still trying to find yourself and you feel overwhelmed by the daunting task of letting someone see the real you. We’ve all heard the phrase, “just be yourself.” Many times I have thought, “Who am I? I would love to be myself… if I could figure out what that means.” Today, while looking at some of my old things, memories began to flood back to me and I thought, “What a great way to remember where I came from and a great way to show who I am to someone else.”
Most of us have articles (old toys, books, letters, etc.) or pictures of earlier times in our lives. As you are getting to know your significant other, take one to three things from your past with you on a date and take some time to explain what each one is, what it means to you, and what was happening in your life around the time you got it (in the case of pictures, what was happening in your life around the time it was taken).
You will be surprised at the things you remember about yourself as you take your boyfriend/girlfriend down memory lane. This can be a long, time consuming process; yet, it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes this exercise will be short, sweet, maybe funny, and to the point. Other times, it can spark discussions that deepen your relationship and help bring you or your significant other resolution about the past.
Looking through my photo album, I ran across a few pictures taken during my last Sunday before leaving for college. Each time I look at them, I’m reminded of the fear and excitement I felt. I remember how small my world was at the time and how I could not imagine having a life outside of my home town. Other pictures I found show my friends and me at college, enjoying our weekends, and having no idea how much we would miss those days once they were over.
On my bookshelf, there is a teddy bear dressed in a Victorian style dress. I remember getting her and naming her “Victoria Bear” (because I’m so original) from a family friend when I was a child. During that time in my life, we got together with these friends often to celebrate Christmas and birthdays. We gathered for random dinners and we even went to Disney World together one year. While I don’t think about those days often, I remember them fondly when I gaze on Victoria Bear. Each person that influences our lives shapes us in some way. It is good to remember how different people have helped to make us who we are today. When we do remember, it is good to share it with our spouse or significant other, because we should always want to share new things about ourselves to those we love.
Hopefully, sharing past memories will be fun. Obviously, be discreet in doing so. Certain articles of clothing that hold sentimental value to you should not be shared on a date. Items given to you by ex-boyfriends or girlfriends should probably be avoided, unless there is something about the item that profoundly changed or influenced your life. Don’t use this opportunity to throw your past romances in your significant other’s face. Not only would that be hurtful, but it shows incredible insecurity and immaturity.
Have fun with each other. Laugh as you remember embarrassing and humorous times growing up. Most of us have our share of horror stories turned funny with time and perspective. After sharing your items and stories with each other, tell each other what you have learned from listening. Don’t only mention the obvious things, but seek to learn things that are not blatantly spoken. Maybe you’ll learn a different smile the other person has when talking about a high school team on which he played or how she felt when she rode horses on her uncle’s ranch. Maybe you’ll learn an area of sensitivity that he or she has to certain words or actions. If we are open to studying each other, there are always opportunities to learn.
What do you think you would share with others about your past memories and experiences?