The Past Does Not Define Us

The past does not define who we are or what we can become. We are slaves to the past only by our choosing to refuse to let the past remain there.
November 2, 2009

The Past Does Not Define Us

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The past does not define us; what does is only what we choose to be.

We are slaves to the past only by our choosing.

For it is only by unwillingness do we refuse to let the past remain there.

To enslave one’s self to the past is to relive it within one’s own mind — the past becomes an overbearing and overarching foe, an obstructing veil that colors what we do and how we live. Worst of all, those with whom we interact, those who cannot see and seldom realize the veil of the past that you choose to wear, suffer the consequences of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and strained relations.

The past serves us with lessons and reminders. The past is a path that has lead us to this moment.

But as a hiker does not dwell upon the rocks that caused her to slip, or the creek that demanded from her a leap of faith so that she might cross it, dwelling upon challenges and trials of our pasts serve only to obstruct us from living fully, today.

While the past has, of course, heavily influenced who we perceive ourselves to be today, it does not define, limit, or restrict us and who we choose to be.

Our potential — what we allow ourselves to do today, and what we do on behalf of a better tomorrow — is always unlimited.

About the Author

Dave Ursillo is a professional life and career coach, multi-published author, writing teacher, and future mental health counselor. He has coached over 300 professional helpers since 2012, spoken and taught workshops on 4 continents, and turned more than two dozen writers into first-time authors. His words and work have been featured on Creative Live, Psychology Today, Forbes, INC, The Hindustan Times, and beyond.


Chronicles of a Self-Storied Life’


What is Avoidance, Really?

What is Avoidance, Really?

Of everything I thought I knew, avoidance was on top of the list. But how much did I really know about avoidance at the time?

read more