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Your Past is Not Your future: simple ways to thrive

We are all born to a family with a set of beliefs, traditions, and values- they are our first influences, thus you are who you are today because of your past. Although some influences may be great, some practices can stop us from what, potentially, we’re capable of becoming in the future.

It’s true that your current life is, to a large extent, molded by your past however how you move forward is truly in your own hands. Simply put, your past does not have to define you or your future.

What’s holding you back?

It’s devastating that so many people around the world, are living with the burden of their mistakes and regrets. We are all Imperfect and it is but normal to make mistakes, get discouraged, get disappointed this is so we can learn and grow. Sadly some wake up every morning wishing that they could find a way to change the past.

The problem is you can’t alter what you originally did, or what happened to you. Nor can you change the messages about yourself that you received (or thought you received). What you can change is your perception, understanding, and the meaning you formerly attached to whatever feedback you encountered about yourself.


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It’s understandable that sometimes the severity or magnitude of your mistakes makes you live with the consequences, but what’s done is done. What you can do though is you can choose to change perspective. Instead of viewing them with constant regret, try to see them as valuable lessons that you can use today.

You Do Not Have to Be a Victim Any Longer

What you can do for yourself and others, is to let go of the past, stop worrying so much about the future, and focus on your present decisions.

Life experiences have changed you. You are not the person that you once used to be and, therefore, you do not have to make the same mistakes you once made. You do not have to play the role of victim anymore, stop reliving the past in your head over and over again. You have survived. You are a survivor.

Therefore make the conscious choice to forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Accept the fact that you cannot change your past, but you can change your future. It is within your power to choose how you view your past, and your right to break free from all the baggage.

Empowering Thoughts

  • You can enjoy a happy relationship even if you made mistakes in a previous one
  • You can experience abundance even if you grew up poor
  • You can be a good parent even if your own parents were less than ideal
  • You can succeed in business even if you have failed before
  • You can get in shape even if you have been overweight for a long time
  • You can be happy even if you have experienced a loss
  • You can get your degree even if you neglected education in the past
  • You can learn to trust again despite being betrayed
  • You can make wise choices even if you have made unwise ones in the past

How to Thrive

1. Capture your thoughts.  This is going to be hard work. The brain likes to automate things and so you may find yourself repeating the same lies you had been told or had told yourself.

Be mindful of your thoughts, when you find yourself thinking about past thoughts or experiences shift them right away. If you allow self-criticism about the past to stall you, you will continue to make choices that lead to regret.

2. Think about the person you want to be & the life you want to live. Spend some time thinking about the person you want to be, make a goal, and a plan to be that person, to live that life. Anything is possible as long as you believe.

3. Focus on the positive. Your mind will wander, that’s what it does. When you find yourself ruminating on the negative, shift immediately to positive. This can be challenging. One of the things I did was wear a rubber band on my wrist and every time my thoughts started to drift negatively I pulled on the band to bring me back to the present. You can try wearing it for at least 21 days or until catching your thoughts becomes a habit.

4. Break free from toxic relationships. There will always be people who find joy in reminding you about your past, who will tell you that you will not change, that you have no hope, and some who want to entice you back into that lifestyle. Stay deaf, stay calm, and focus on your goals.

Your past is not a compass for your future. Give yourself permission to chart a new course – Stephanie Leigh Muale

Dealing with past traumas will likely cause some emotional pain in the short term and it can really be challenging. But on the other side is the freedom to live your life and not be chained to your past.

Once you look honestly at your past reality, you can turn your attention to the present and make changes going forward. It is best to recognize what beliefs, values, and practices work for you and let go of what doesn’t.

Try something. Anything. Don’t focus on whether the trying gets you great results or even any results at all. Just be happy you did something. Know that your future is determined by how you act, and think in the present moment.

Here’s a great follow up to read: HOW TO STOP LIVING A SMALL LIFE BY FACING THESE 10 FEARS

6 Comments

  • Reply Melissa January 2, 2022 at 8:33 am

    I think this is exactly what I needed this morning. I am trying to make changes and be a more positive person but I do get caught up in negative thoughts a lot.

    • Reply Lani January 3, 2022 at 4:33 am

      Hi Melissa,

      You’re not alone. The important thing I guess is awareness of your negative thoughts so you can choose to react accordingly.

  • Reply Kit January 2, 2022 at 10:08 am

    What a fantastic post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Reply Lani January 3, 2022 at 4:30 am

      Hi Kit,

      Thank you for your comment. I hope you enjoyed and learned something new.

  • Reply Mayra January 2, 2022 at 12:17 pm

    I loved the line “You’re not a victim, you’re a survivor”.
    There are so many negative external influences we have to deal with but sometimes the worst ones come from within.
    You provide great tips to rewire our thoughts.

    • Reply Lani January 3, 2022 at 4:29 am

      Hi Mayra,

      Thanks for your comment. You are correct, most of the time our greatest enemy is in our head.

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