Your Past Mistakes Do Not Define Who You Are

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Have you ever thought if whether your past mistakes define who you are?  Let me tell you, I have made some mistakes.  Okay, a lot of mistakes.  Some were easy to deal with and well, the others? Not so much.  I’ve spent a good chunk of my life living with so much pain that some of my choices haven’t always been smart ones.   I often wondered how much of my past would define who I am. Wonder what would others say about it.  Well, it doesn’t matter what anyone has to say.  Your past is just that; the past. You don’t need to bring your past mistakes with you to your present or your future.

past mistakes

I know it’s hard not to think about it.  Though, to say that I can easily forget my past is not an easy feat.  Our past is part of our story.  How you choose to tell your story is entirely up to you.

The other day, I was listening to Rick Warren’s Daily Hope podcast. Now, if you don’t know who he is, he’s the Pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California and also a great speaker.  He’s also the author of The Purpose Driven Life book. Anyways, he has a message entitled God Can Use Anybody.  Let me tell you, it is AMAZING.  If you’re feeling like you can’t do anything because of some of the things you’ve done in your past, then you need to take a listen to him.   By the time you have finished listening, you’ll think differently about yourself and your past.

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” ~ Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

In this podcast, he talked about how God can use anyone.  Do you hear me?  ANYONE!!  This means you too.  Before I go any further, whether you’re faith-based or not, you can still get something from this post.  Just stick with me for a minute.

We all have a purpose. Do you believe that?  We do. Whether you choose to believe it or not, we all do.  Your past may be the catalyst to drive you into your purpose and your future.  I know you’re probably rolling your eyes and wondering what am I talking about.  Your past mistakes, dealings, etc. may be linked to something that you should be doing.

My last post was a two-part series on My Journey With Depression. Now, because I was diagnosed with that at a young age, I thought it was a negative stigma. So much so, that I spent a good majority of my life living with this illness and not really sharing that with anyone.  On top of that, I’m also a survivor of rape and I was adopted.  I had a lot of reasons to rebel against life and feel totally broken, or rather not worthy of anything. In all honesty, I’m still dealing with all of this.  My past wasn’t squeaky clean.  Oh, let me let you in on a secret.  Most of the people you know have a past too that they may or may not be sharing.  Just saying.

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Some of us spend a lifetime running away from our pasts.  We spend time trying to keep that part of ourselves hidden.  Whether it be an embarrassing thing or something you’re ashamed (like me). One thing I’ve learned is that we can’t keep running from our past.  At some point, we have to stop and just accept that it’s part of our lives.  Most importantly, we must get over the fact that we have to accept that this is our story.  This is what happened (past tense) and we now have a chance to turn it around.

As I was going through my latest depression episode, I had to accept that this is me.  This is part of who I am.  I am a woman diagnosed with depression.  I am also a fighter fighting my way through this latest episode. Like I said, this is me.  I have a voice and I have a story to tell.  My story is unlike anyone else’s story and it’s supposed to be that way.  You were uniquely created for a purpose that is only meant for you.  The dream that you possess is only meant for you.  Only you can deliver your dream the way that it’s meant to.  After all, your dream was given only to you.

Now, you and I can have similar dreams, but our niches or our specialties can be completely different.  Who we are called to serve can be absolutely different. Bottom line is that we’re supposed to be serving others.

The truth for you to understand today is this.  WE have all made mistakes in our past and some in our present.  The key is to not bring those with you to your future. They happened in the past.   Now, if there are some people that can’t forgive you for what you’ve done, then that’s entirely up to them.  You don’t have control over those people.

“Don’t confuse poor decision-making with destiny. Own your mistakes. It’s ok; we all make them. Learn from them so they can empower you!”  ~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

From time to time I still get stuck back in the past.  I feel so bad for some of my actions of the past that I forget there’s nothing more I can do about it. It’s in the past.  There is nothing more you can do other than to try not to make that same mistake again in your present or your future.  You may have tried to reach out to the person you may have offended and apologized.  If they don’t accept your apology, once again, that’s on them; not you.

It’s time to step out from the dark shadows of your past and make way for your future.  Stop punishing yourself for things that you may have done. Don’t dwell on it.  This is easier said than done.  I know.  But, there is still a purpose that you must fulfill.  Is there something that you went through in your life that you can share your lessons with others?  How can what you’ve been through be used to empower someone else? Think about that for a minute.

Oops.  I forgot the most important thing.  FORGIVE YOURSELF.  Sure, you may have asked those that you may have offended or hurt for forgiveness and that’s good. But, you still need to forgive yourself.  That is what’s going to help set you free.

Until Next Time….

 

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