You Are Not Your Past

Posted by Nick Hughes on

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”
~Carl Jung

This week’s quote refers to a relatively simple concept that has the power to completely transform the way you experience life. It’s a reminder that you are not a product of your past, you are the architect of your future. Whatever happened to you in the past is part of your personal history, but it isn’t who you are right now. In other words, your memories of past experiences are still valid, but they don’t define you as a person. 

As Carl Jung would say, you are not your regrets, you are your aspirations. You are not the mistakes you have made or the adversities that you have endured. Who you are is better defined by how you respond to life’s challenges, how you choose to rise up in the face of adversity. Regardless of what you have been through, you always have the option to choose resilience over despair.

Living your life while focusing on the past is like driving your car on a busy freeway with your eyes glued to the rearview mirror. While it can be informative to look backwards on occasion, focusing solely on the rearview mirror will increase your chances of having an accident since doing so prevents you from focusing on what is happening in front of you right now. Much better to keep your focus on the present than to remain obsessed by that which has already passed you by.

So, liberate yourself from your own personal history. However, don’t get too caught up in defining yourself by your aspirations. As Carl Jung also explained, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” Therefore, instead of making plans to transform, why not start your transformational journey today? It begins by letting go of who you used to be. By releasing yourself from the shackles of the past, you give yourself the ability to create yourself anew in the future.

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