My Past DOES Define Me

Regrets. We all have them, or so they say; but do we have to?


I have often been asked if I have any regrets? It’s one of those questions that come up during late night conversations or while on long drives when philosophical thoughts keep the driver alert. My answer is always a resounding “no.” And it’s true, I don’t have regrets to the level of “if you could change anything in your life, would you?” My past is what makes my present, why would I want to alter that?

The good, the bad, the heartaches, the frustrations, the missed opportunities….all of it comes together to create the person I am today, and though i am far from perfect, I rather like who I am. If changing any singular moment in my past would alter that, then I rather not take that chance.

Now, does this mean I’m happy with every choice I made? No. I can look back on things I have said, or behaviors I demonstrated, and wonder what on Earth I was thinking, but I don’t want to change it because that was a learning opportunity for me. Loosing my temper, making irrational decisions, a moment of weakness…all of those “bad” things that can occur in life provides an opportunity and creates the foundation of empathy. When I accept my imperfections, I am able to accept others imperfections as well.

Like so many other things in our life, looking over you past is about choosing the perspective you wish to take on it. You can view your mistakes as regrets, negative things you wish you could change, or you can look at them as the stepping stones that create a unique individual. And your experiences allows you to be a guide to others who may be going through similar situations.

I have seen inspirational pictures saying “don’t let your past define your future.” Though I understand the message that is being conveyed, the truth is, our past does define us. Our past makes us who we are today, however, it does not mean that we must continue to be that person from the past. Once a cheater does not have to mean, always a cheater. A bad temper does not have to lead to abusive behavior. Depression does not have to mean you are void of experiencing joy.

Your past is not an excuse.

Nobody is perfect. No journey is smooth.


Often, while on a road trip, we inevitably get “turned around.” I usually get a little anxious – worrying about fuel, meal times, and other random hazards. But, when I finally take a breath and look out the window, I discover that there is a world of wonder to behold. Suddenly, I forget about my need to be in control and just enjoy the ride. We eventually get to where we are going, or sometimes we forgo it altogether for something that looked far more appealing, but either way, we had an adventure and created a memory and saw a bit more of the world.

That is life, a series wrong turns that lead to unexpected adventures. We just have to learn to take a deep breath, trust the driver, and enjoy the ride. No discoveries would ever be made if everyone stuck to the map after all.

Pax tibi.


More Reading

The Positive Side To Regret

Positively Present

Your Past Doesn’t Define You, It Tells Your Story of Strength

10 Ways to Live Life with No Regrets

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