5 things we can learn from The Lion King Pt 1 : Your past is past
I was on the train today as I am everyday, going back to my house from yet another long day at work. There are only three things I do on the train, since the ride is about 40 minutes long. The first thing is to read a book. I usually read about 10–15 pages.
If I am not reading, I am most likely on my phone browsing some news articles or on Quora.
Last, if I am not doing any of the things mentioned above, I am without a doubt lost in my thoughts until I fall asleep.
Today, for the most part of my morning, I have been thinking about The Lion King for a very strange reason. I could not stop hearing the Background melody of the scene where Mufasa dies. Very disturbing thought I know but in my defense, I have not watched any cartoon, or anything sad for that matter, so this was very random.
Anyway, I started thinking about the Lion King and before I knew it, I could hear this sentence in my mind “Things we can learn from the Lion King”. I decided to write a blog post about it without googling, because I am sure others have done this in the past and I wanted to see what I could come up with first, on my own
So here we go.
Simba had a very traumatic experience at a young age. we are not told exactly how old he was but let’s assume that if he were a human being, he would be somewhere between 8 and 12. My estimate might be completely off but it really doesn’t matter. At a young age, Simba lost a parent he was very close to. The few scenes of him and Mufasa are enough to portray a strong bond between a father and his son. They were buddies.
His dad meant the world to him and Simba’s illusion of life was that they would be together forever.
Simba was not just the only child, but the only SON. His loss would be devastating to the entire pride. We can only imagine the pain Simba had to bear for the longest time. Not just the pain of losing a parent but the burden and guilt of wrongly believing it was his fault. I would not wish to ever experience that, neither would you.
To lose the most precious thing in the world, live with the guilt that it was your fault and with the least pleasant of reputations.
It is easy to fall into depression and even attempt committing suicide. It is in moments like these that we start asking ourselves questions about the meaning of life. What is life all about? Why me? I didn’t deserve this. Life is unfair, why do bad things happen to good people? etc.
No matter how horrible or grandiose one’s past is, the truth, the cold blooded truth is that the past is past and there is absolutely NOTHING we can do to change it. Not even death can alter the facts. We are are on a timeline that only goes forward. We have no ability to go back into time, alter the events and bend the will of time to a desired outcome. We must let the past be.
Now, I am not saying that the past is bad and that thinking about past events is forbidden. On the contrary, there is a lot of benefits in looking behind. For example, the past tells us how far we have come from where we were. The past bears witness that we are no longer who we used to be.
What I want to say is this : looking in the past is not the problem, living in the past is.
People who live in the past do not draw strength from it but feed on their weaknesses. They do not look at their past mistakes to learn lessons and proactively seek to avoid the same errors today. They rather lamentate on their past mistakes which lowers their self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence and ultimately they end up in a bottomless and purposeless pit.
This could have easily been the fate of Simba. Had he focused on the past, and lamented everyday about how much of a failure he was, how unfair life treated him. He would have never become the King he ends up becoming.
Simba had to put the past behind him. This doesn’t meant pretend it never happened. It means to acknowledge that it is in our circle of concern as Stephen Covey puts it in The 7 habits of effective people.
Things that are in our circle of concern are things we can worry about but we cannot act upon and change. Ie: the weather. We can complain about how depressing the weather is and write an essay on 10 reasons why I hate winter, this will not change the fact that the weather is what it is. Instead of focusing on our centre of concern, Stephen Covey invites us to focus on our centre of influence : things that we can act upon and influence.
“You have to leave the past behind you” — Timon
Leaving the past behind is facing it. If the past was a man who had abused you and was responsible for what it seemed like an eternity of pain and sorrow, you ought to stand up tall before him, look at him in the eyes and say : You have NO POWER OVER ME. I OWN YOU. Because the truth is, our past is a part of our lives no matter what.
The past is past, face it.
Please share your thoughts and stay tuned for Part-2.
Note : You can also find this post in my series.
Originally published at jeanpouabou.com on May 19, 2017.