Everyone has something in their past they’re not proud of. Maybe they’re ashamed or embarrassed. Maybe someone hurt them or they hurt someone else. Some people carry their past like a millstone around their neck. A heavy burden keeping them from being who they wish they were.
I have many skeletons in my closet.
I’ve been abused, raised in an alcoholic home, homeless, addicted. I’ve been hurt by people I trusted and loved. I’ve hurt people who loved and trusted me.
But rather than dragging this emotional baggage around for the rest of my life, I do my best to leave it where it belongs … in the past.
Each and every day you wake up is a new opportunity to start fresh. It doesn’t matter what happened twenty years ago or yesterday. The past exists only in your mind and it’s your choice if you want to let it define who you are today.
You might have been the quarterback of your high school football team. It doesn’t matter.
You were the Prom Queen. It doesn’t matter.
You were sexually abused as a child. It doesn’t matter.
You were dirt poor growing up. It doesn’t matter.
Each of these moments have shaped the person you are today. It’d be impossible for them not to have colored your life in some way. These moments build you up and they tear you down. They hurt and they’re painful. They boost your ego and give you confidence.
But they don’t define who you are in this moment. You can’t live life stuck in the past.
You aren’t the Prom Queen anymore. You aren’t a rape victim anymore.
Whether the events of your past were good or bad, you need to move on and live the life you have now. The longer you cling to the past, the longer you ignore the possibilities of today.
Our lives are a work of art.
Each day, a new stroke of color is added upon the canvas of our lives; the bright colors representing good times and the muted colors, times of struggle. As our lives play out, the picture changes; a seamless metamorphosis into the person we are today. The struggles I’ve endured throughout my life have made me who I am today. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am.
But the events of my past don’t define who I am. Not because they haven’t impacted me, but because I am not the same person I was one year ago … or yesterday. To define myself by what happened more than twenty years ago would be absurd.
Yet, people will try to use your past against you, especially when you’re trying to change your life for the better. They’ll try to bring you down. They’ll call you names. They’ll tell you you’re fake.
These people are wrong.
Ignore them and focus on today. What’s happened in the past doesn’t define who you are. Do whatever you want with your life and become the person you want to be.
Leave the past where it belongs … in the past.