Shedding our former selves
"Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop."
We are all a collection of our past thoughts, actions and experiences. We are shaped by our past, but we do not have to allow the past to define who we are or what we are capable of in the future. We are not the same person we were ten or five years ago. Most of us may claim that we are not even the same person we were a year ago. Life grants us the opportunity to learn and grow from our experiences. As long as we do not cling too much to our past, we can focus more on improving our own wellbeing and create even better lives for ourselves moving forward.
I have been making an effort to not allow my past define who I am today. Even though we are a collection of our past thoughts, actions and experiences, I have been more aware of letting go of the patterns and habits that no longer serve me. I experienced a lot of emotional and physical trauma growing up. I would use this as a reason to lash out at others or be disrespectful. I also would retaliate against others if I felt they wronged me in some way. As I grew up, I realized my actions were not helping me. In fact, they only made me feel worse in the long term and soured my relationships with others.
As I started doing more deep reflection through meditation and talk therapy, I learned how to respond better to my environment without needing to react impulsively and end up regretting my actions. When I look back at the old me, I see someone who still had a lot of growing up to do. I have also been able to let go of my old identity as someone who needed to seek revenge or get in the last word. I was able to create the person I choose to be, with more self-awareness and less contempt for my circumstances or people I disagree with. I still get riled up at times, but I have learned to get like Elsa and let it go.
Allowing the negativity from our past to dictate our future can make it tough to create a better future for ourselves. While it is important for us to learn from our past, it also benefits us to not let our past define who we are or what we aspire to be. We simply have to be willing to shed our former selves so we can constantly keep stepping into improved versions of ourselves. The past is the past. It's who we were, not who we are. The more we focus on the now and what we are building for our future, the more we can leave the past behind us.