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Does Our Past Define Us?

Updated on October 28, 2019

Well, for some past is filled with darkness like fear, accident, abuse, bloodshed etc. Then for others it is filled with light like great family, friends, education, good upbringing etc. For others it a mixture of both and in my opinion most people fall in this category. Regardless of which category we have fallen into, we can’t let our past dictate our future.

''we always tend to remember our past experiences in a way that we believe to be true about ourselves and others''

Everybody has been through some THING. We all have our share of emptiness, defeat, discouragement, failure, unfulfilled needs, unfulfilled desires, brokenness, fears. We have all floundered in our faith or slipped somewhere in the path. We have all fought our demons. Nobody goes unscathed by the past. Let me tell you, you are not alone in this. But I will say that your past will always push you in some direction that you have no control over. It will shape you into a person you never wanted to be or you never expected to be.

On the other hand, we always tend to remember our past experiences in a way that we believe to be true about ourselves and others. The what and how we remember it, colors or darkens the way we conceive others or ourselves. We always tend to measure our success, failure, experiences, capabilities, likes, dislikes etc. But we never tend to understand that this is mostly our reaction to the situation or someone, because we do not question our self, were we even mature enough to measure those? If yes, on what scale?

In retrospect, there are many things which could have gone in another way and we could have altered life in another way. Sometimes we get so caught up in imagining how our present could have been different if this thing went this way in the past. We may have had regrets and resentments but instead of dwelling on “what if then..”, we can think of “what if now..”

" What we are is the energy of existence! Who we are in this physical existence is what we choose to create for ourselves, complete with our own developed persona. A life time process of learning and development."

I have made a huge mistake in the past, I didn’t know it was a mistake but it happened. I regretted it and it’s over. My mistake doesn’t define me, but how I react to it does.

It’s hard to be defined by something or an event or a timeline as we always change. We change our perspectives, decisions, what we consider as good or bad and so on.

Although… Most things makes us who we are now, after all we are what we learned to be.

Your past will only define your past, how you apply the positives and negatives of it to your present and future remains your choice. If others choose to define you by your past that is their problem and perhaps their error should you decide to transform your profile according to your own standards.

What we are is the energy of existence! Who we are in this physical existence is what we choose to create for ourselves, complete with our own developed persona. A life time process of learning and development.

" Our past doesn’t define who we are, because we are not our past, but we are what we choose to be at this very moment."

“The past” can be regarded as an immense network of intertwined causes. These are the processes which live on, continuing now. They are not separated into “you and me”.

Also, “past” and “causality” are theoretical things, their existence is illusory. And if you investigate, how we come to the idea of “existence”, you might see it’s illusory itself.

Our past has significant influence over our future.

But in the present, we can make choices.

There are always limiting factors we cannot escape, like who our parents were, where we were born, our childhood health, and such.

But within those limiting factors, we are not defined.

Our past does not require a single future, it only reduces the range within which we can each define ourselves.

So much of it depends what your thinking is around the past. Your thinking determines how you handle decisions in the present.

If you are the kind of person who is always thinking about the past, and never puts it to rest, then your past will define you. If you are the kind of person who learns from the past and continues to view life with vulnerability (an open heart and mind regardless of good or bad experiences in the past), then the past will not define you.

Your present defines you. Your past will shape you. It will shade your decisions, but it doesn’t prevent you from making decisions counter to your previous experiences.

Our past doesn’t define who we are, because we are not our past, but we are what we choose to be at this very moment.

We are defined by two factors: our life experiences and our genetic inheritance. We can’t change our genetics, but time itself changes our life experiences. We will have new ones tomorrow and the next day and all the days that follow and these new experiences will change us. So, only at death can we be said to have been defined by our past.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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