We’re all told all the time not to let our pasts hold us back or define us, but how many of us actually listen?


Also, how many of us actually understand what that means?


At first, when I used to hear about “not letting your past define you,” it was a foreign concept to me. Back then, I imagined that my past was all that made me, me. I fiercely held on to all the negative things that I had experienced, reliving them over and over again. I felt like without them, I wouldn’t be Devonnie. Needless to say, that warped my thinking. I wasn’t confident in my abilities, and I did my best not to attract attention out of fear.


It wasn’t until I got serious about pursuing my dreams and following my heart did I realize that I had it all wrong. Sure, my past made me who I am, but it wasn’t supposed to be a roadblock, it was supposed to be a stepping stone to take me to greater things. The past is nothing but a backdrop for our future successes, it shouldn’t be a blindfold.


Ever since I realized that about myself, I became more cognizant of the way people around me viewed their past and the results of the stance they took about it. What I noticed was that oftentimes, our pasts were literally inhibiting us from achieving success and becoming who were really meant to be.


That’s what’s hardest to come to terms with. The idea that maybe we’re doing something wrong is scary. It challenges everything we know, and pushes us out of our comfort zones. We’re forced to reinvent ourselves.


If you’re hung up on your past, reinvention can seem like you’re not being true to who you are.


Here are a few things to consider if you find it hard to let go of your past (whatever it may be) and move forward:


  • Holding on to the painful parts of life don’t shield you from future pain. I had fooled myself into thinking that this was true for a very long time. I thought that if I could compound everything and remind myself of it constantly, then I would somehow be able to ward off anything else of the same nature that would come my way. Needless to say, that wasn’t true. I believe that it’s this kind of negative thinking that continues to attract negative occurrences in our lives. You don’t have space to welcome anything positive if you’re hung up on the negatives.


  • Life is a cycle of change. If you try to resist change, you’re interrupting the cycle so it will feel like everything is working against you. Change is a common theme in life. Very few things stay the same throughout the years. So, why should you stay the same? Think of it like this, life changes whether you want it to or not. It only complicates things when you refuse to flow with life. Accept the fact that things change, and so should you. I’m not saying you need to have drastic personality changes every month. What I’m saying is, time should make you better, not worse.


  • Your past happened, it’s not happening. You need to focus on making the most of what’s currently happening. Getting hung up on the past is going to stunt your growth. It’s like holding yourself hostage. Why would you want to self-sabotage? Stopping our own progression goes against what most of us know, but it’s something we still do because there’s a huge gap between what we do and what we know. That means making a conscious effort to shift all our attention to the present and making the most of the 24-hours every day is all that really matters.


Ultimately, the choice rests with you. You can use your past as a barrier to success, or you can use it to motivate you to achieve greater things. If you know better, you do better. You can’t beat yourself up over things that happened to you when you weren’t as wise as you are now.


Your past doesn’t define you, and don’t keep people in your life who try to peg you to your past . Outrunning your past isn’t the aim. Becoming a better person because of it is the ultimate goal.