man walking on road at daytime

Your Past Can Shape You, But Never Allow It To Define You

We are a product of who we’ve been. But that doesn’t mean that we cannot make a new choice for ourselves today and choose to learn and grow from our past, rather than choose to be defined by it.

We often allow our past failures to tell us whether we can succeed or not in the future. Whether we realize it or not, we hold ourselves back from our true potential because of something that either happened in our past or something that someone has told us in our past.

But you see, these things only shape us if we allow them to. Those comments said only mold to you if you allow them to. And every day, we can either choose to believe a story about our past or a story about what another person has said about us or we can choose to create our own story, our own narrative, and our own journey instead.

I’ve come to know fear and my past quite well. It always shows up exactly on time whenever I attempt to leave the confines of my comfort zone and enter unknown territory that is new, exciting, and invigorating. Yet at the very same time, if we allow the voice of fear to dictate our choices, we’ll never grow and move forward. That is why it’s so important to come to peace with our past and all that we’ve been through. Not only to let go of the past and the regrets we grudgingly hold onto, but because it’s holding us back now in this present moment from doing the things that make us feel the most alive.

Our fear of failure and our fear of the unknown are merely byproducts of the past trying to predict the future. Our minds love predictability. We love knowing all the answers, and thus, the voice of fear attempts to predict our fate by using our past as a metric and our failures as the standard.

But to you, the reader, I want you to know…

The ghosts from your past may haunt you at the beginning of creating your new future. The ghosts of your past may tell you that you aren’t enough or that you don’t deserve happiness based on the experiences from your buried and deceased memories. But if those memories no longer serve you, then please be brave enough to let them go and trust that new beginnings are always hard but always so very worth it.

Be brave enough to acknowledge them and feel them if you must, but at the very same time, be courageous enough to let them go and move on from them, for the good of your own life and path moving forward.

Because remember, the past may shape and mold you, but it never has to define you. It has never had to restrict you. It can be built upon and it can be used for the good of your journey, rather than the substandard of what’s to come.

Let go and you will be a soldier. Hold on and you will always be a victim. One is freeing and the other is limiting. However, both are always a choice.

About the author
Constant thinker, perpetual story-teller and coffee drinker. Follow Matt on Instagram or read more articles from Matt on Thought Catalog.

Learn more about Thought Catalog and our writers on our about page.

Related