Looking Past Your Past

We have all done things in our lifetime that we are not proud of. I know I have my fair share of regrets. In fact, this is true of most people I know that have struggled with addiction. If you would have told many of us that we’d be remembered by some of our bad choices, I would hope that many of us wouldn’t have made the choices we did.. I believe our lives have defining moments. I describe these as things that happen to us which have the ability to shape the course of our lives and alter the paths we continue toward. Often when I talk to people I say, “don’t let the moments define you, define the moments.” It pains me to see when those defining moments have claimed a person and that’s how they are remembered. It’s almost like we become our choices for people. And it’s hard for people to move forward and make the best out of a once bad situation. Or in some cases, it’s many bad situations. At one point in time, I thought my defining moment was my reality and I almost accepted it. I have found that we let people put labels on us, then we spend most of our lives trying to defend those labels, instead of trying to change our labels. There’s one thing I couldn’t quite understand. Now, it’s a question I pose to people.

Why can’t our past be a launching pad into a brighter future?
Why can’t we take our pain and turn it into purpose?

Just because we have made mistakes and things didn’t quite work out the way we’d thought, why can’t those experiences shape us and grow us? Why can’t they add value and shed light on life. I have taken all the past pain, mistakes, and trials and gotten out of it myself. I’ve used all of it to speak into the next generation. I simply don’t look at my past as a failure; I look at it as an opportunity to not go back to it and to help someone else shape the course of their life moving forward. Although this isn’t an easy task, it takes work, self reflection, ownership, and a willingness to change. It takes the desire to grow from our old selves into the new person we have to become. It can be done — trust me on this. Here are three reasons why people struggle to overcome their past. (And how to overcome those struggles.)

1. You haven’t gotten over the guilt or the shame.

This is a big one. And it’s probably one of the things that keeps you the most hindered. We have to be able to forgive ourselves. You messed up. So what. Aren’t we allowed to make mistakes? Can’t we learn from our history and make the most out of it? I believe that people deserve do-overs. I myself have had a few of them. Be able to understand that mistakes are a part of life, that growth is a lifestyle, and that without those experiences you couldn’t move forward.

2. Other people still remind you of who you used to be — and you believe them. Also, you have not cut out the people that aren’t helping you move forward.

This is something we shouldn’t stand for. Understand that the stuff we do not only affects us but also the ones who care about us. If you are trying to heal now and become a better person, people need to allow you to do that. Most of the time when we make changes in our lives for the better, other people ask themselves what are they doing wrong if we were able to overcome hard times. It’s a reflection on them, not on you. When they remind you of who you used to be, remind them that that’s not who you are anymore. Introduce them to the new you. Also watch the company you keep.We become like the five people we spend the most time with. Look at your life and see who you’re hanging out with; this will tell you a lot. People will help you make a mess than leave you to clean it up. Be the influence on them, not them influencing you.

3. You have not figured out your self-worth and are not walking in who you were created to be.

This is key. Your self-worth shows you what you will and won’t allow in your life. You can’t expect somebody to know your self-worth if you don’t know. What are your values and what do you believe in? Are you okay with standing alone? Leaders are. Walking in who you are created to be is a beautiful thing. There is no better feeling. I want everyone to experience it, because it’s so liberating. We are all created for a purpose and there is only one you. You can’t be duplicated, so understand that your job is one only you can do. I believe that if we all take to this concept we would infect our world around us and all be able to create major positive changes in our society.

I believe in you.

Understand you can and will do major things. Also understand that you have to be able to define the moments. If you can learn to do that, I promise you would impact the world in a way you never thought you could. There is no better teacher than past experiences and they can be used as a great tool to help someone else. All you have to do is start talking about it.You will find out that people will want to listen, and that’s when you start looking past your past.

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