Thursday, 2 June 2011

Turning your life around

There's a great story in the Toronto Star today about a woman who turned her life around from working as an escort to becoming a lawyer. The day her daughter confronted her about her life choices, this woman quit and never looked back. The woman's also past included convictions and jail time for other offences, but she never let it get the better of her.

One comment she made made a particular impression on me.

"While interviewing for law school, Smithen says she never tried to hide any details of her past. "I was totally honest...because I was starting my life over again," Smithen says."

It might have been tempting to try and sweep it all under the rug and hope that no one found out. She may have worried that her past mistakes might have prevented her from finding honest work to support herself and her daughter. Some people out there may have been prejudiced against her, dubious of any real intent to change.

But Smithen makes an excellent point. She felt no need to hide any details of her past because she had truly had a change of heart. While she feels remorse for the consequences of her actions, she knows that her life journey brought her to this exact point, and that the journey still has places to go. How wonderful that others were able to see her genuine desire for change and gave her the chance to do so.

It makes me reflect on myself. It is a difficult thing to embrace past errors. Usually we would just rather they go away. We tuck them away into the dark recesses of our memory and push them down when they try to surface. It seems to me that Smithen's method seems much more freeing. Mistakes happens, everyone makes them. There is no shame in making a mistake, if you learn from it and move on, rather than letting it chain you to that spot.

It is heart-warming to read such stories in the news today.

1 comment:

Mom said...

I totally agree with your statement that everyone makes mistakes and that the most important thing is that we learn from them. I often say that to my students - I think it's especially good when I make a mistake and they see it and I ask the students if it's okay to make a mistake - they always say 'yes'. Then, when they make a mistake, they know that it's okay and they can keep trying without any feelings of 'I can't'.