Your Past Does Not Define You

Your perception of it changes as you do

Katrina Loos
Jul 10 · 4 min read

“The sooner we let go of holding on, the sooner we can hold on to the beauty of what’s unfolding before us. Nothing was ever meant to stay the same forever.” — Julieanne O’Connor

You’re Not Living If You’re Holding On To The Past

Tony Fahkry understands how the past works.

How the things you’ve done in the past are not life sentences for suffering, but lessons learned. “I’ve made peace with the past because every choice constituted the level of awareness I held at the time.”

The past is just that — the past. It’s already happened. There’s nothing you can do about something that doesn’t exist anymore.

Whatever happened, you are here. But being here doesn’t mean that you have to stay here or that you will stay here.

The Past Guides The Choices We Make As We Go Through Life

What do you need to let go of in order to move on with your life?

One of the unhealthiest things we can do is live like we’re still in the past. Everybody knows that, but most people don’t listen to that advice. Thinking about the past distracts you from what’s really going on inside yourself.

It makes it easier to get trapped in this impossible dream of wondering what could have been or what could have happened if you did things differently. Some also dwell on how good things were in the past; an overly nostalgic longing for what was.

Our past is a concept that was our reality at one point. But it doesn’t exist anymore. It is a figment our brain imagines and misinterprets as reality. It distracts us from what’s going on in the present.

The past guides the choices we make today. We go through experiences, opportunities, and constraints and make decisions based on what we dealt with in the past. But those things are what they are.

Wishing things were different don’t actually make them different.

When you look at the past, it’s difficult to fixate on what’s going on in the present moment.

There’s a reason why thinking too much about the past is horrible.

When we think about the past and get stuck there, we put into perspective who we wish we could be rather than who we really are.

We’re yearning to be this person we’re really not.

It’s a different kind of suffering when you lie to yourself and think you’re this someone when you’re repressing who you truly are. You’re hiding your full potential when you do that to yourself.

It gets tricky when you start pretending to be somebody else and people believe that person.

It gets harder to get out of that mold you crafted for yourself. Those people who believe you’re somebody you’re not will define you by a lie.

That is why the process to change yourself for a better you is not easy.

You will have to face your own misconceptions about yourself, you will have to forgive others and yourself, forget opinions about you, and then you will have to accept yourself as you really are and act upon it.

You are the only one responsible for creating your own destiny. Other people’s opinions really don’t mean anything. They only mean something if you allow it to.

We Are Not Our Past

We are what we choose to be right now.

We all used to be somebody else. But we’re not that person anymore.

For some reason, we have accepted the idea that our past is who we are when that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The simple truth?

We define ourselves through our behaviors and actions of our present.

Our present self is the only thing we’ve got going on. It’s what truly defines us.

Your perception of your past changes as you do. The more you grow, and the more time goes on, the more you’re grateful for your past. The more you’re grateful for your experiences and the lessons you learned.

We are slaves to the past only by our own choosing.

The past serves us with lessons and reminders. The past is a path that has to lead us to this moment. Our potential — what we allow ourselves to do today, and what we do on behalf of a better tomorrow — is always unlimited.

If you took a moment to quiet down your thoughts and reminiscence on who you used to be, would you be proud?

Would you be overwhelmed with how far you’ve come?

Would you be angry at being stupid enough to make the mistakes you made?

No matter what, your past does not define your future.

You should be proud of how far you’ve come. It is overwhelming to think about far you’ve come in your life, but you should be fucking proud of yourself. It’s okay to be angry, but don’t beat yourself up for the mistakes you’ve made. You are not your mistakes.

Your past does not define you.

Katrina Loos is a writer and poet based in Oklahoma City. When she’s not reading and writing, you can find her on Twitter, loving on cats, and reading and writing some more.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

Katrina Loos

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Anxious writer. Writes poetry sometimes. Prefers to hang out with her cats than go out in public.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.