If only we could turn back the hands of time, right?
What I hope you know for certain since reading with me, is that I have a very colorful past. This is why I do my best to create such a judgment-free safe zone for anything anyone might be going through out there. I offer my advice and a listening ear to everyone who asks for one, but I never want anyone to feel like I think I know everything or that my opinion is really anything more than just that–an opinion. We all come from different walks of life and we’ve all made mistakes. To me, there is no one mistake that is greater than any another. The important thing about making mistakes is being sure to learn from those mistakes and to do your best from making the same mistake twice. With that being said, I’d like to talk about making peace with your past and what doing so could mean for your future.
I have always been against the encouragement of forgetting your past or disregarding your past in order to pursue personal growth. I think evaluating and accepting your past is a very healthy medicine for someone who is trying to come to terms with their past and grow from it. Furthermore, I feel the only true way to accept your past is to embrace it. With embracing it, you must truly dissect where you were in life before now, no matter how ugly things used to be–and I’m sure that in itself will make you very proud of where you are currently. It is okay not to be where you would like to be, so long as you are not in the exact place that you used to be. Encourage yourself and be proud of yourself for what growth you have already accomplished. For example, I used to drink A LOT a few years back… in recent years, before I became pregnant I still drank alcohol, but not anywhere near as heavily as I did in college. That is growth. Just because you haven’t eliminated whatever it is you’d like to, does not mean that you are not growing through it.
Another very important part of accepting your past is remembering to be proud of all the aspects of who you are. That includes being proud of the ‘old’ you. I know it sounds a little weird, like, “why would I be proud of who I used to be–she was crazy!” but in all honesty, you can’t be who you are now if it weren’t for who you were prior to now. Never allow someone to make you feel bad about who you used to be–not you or anyone else. If you can think of any differences between the person you were and the person you are, then you have already begun to achieve so much. You will move forward from there, I promise. It is natural for most of us to want to do better, so don’t worry about getting stuck. Do your best to embrace your past so that when you end up having to face it (which you will have to do at some point), you are not intimidated by it. This is another good reason to embrace your past instead of trying to hide it because I guarantee you, your past will meet up with you again at some point in your life.
When you embrace your past, you let go of any anxiety or depression that may have been a result of oppressing it in the first place. It also frees you from any judgment others will try to pass against you. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t stop them from judging you, but their judgment will not defeat you–if it even affects you at all. This is how you create a path to such a fulfilling future. When you look at your past and see how much you’ve grown, it gives you a desire to continue achieving better. It gives you a sense of self-pride that cannot be taken away by judgment from others. When it comes to everything else, things will begin to change for the better… the company you keep, the things you do, the way you speak… just to name a few will start to change to fit your ever-developing growth and lifestyle. Keep in mind though, one very important thing… your past should not change who you are, completely. If you accept your past, you will not feel the need to be someone other than who you were created to be. There is only one you. Your past does not define who you will be in the future–but it is a part of who you are.
The bottom line? Make peace with who you were, be proud of who you are, and get excited about who you are yet becoming. Accept your past so that you’re ready to embrace the bright future you and I both know you deserve.