Does your past define you? A philosphical perspective


Depending on whom you ask if your past defines you or not the answer will vary. For each religion, philosophy or creed it is different.

Many find a common ground when it comes to defining your past on a personal level.  All seem to agree that the past does not exist and therefore it can’t define us.

According to Dr. Linda Paul, “No, the past does not define who you are. The past certainly influences a person, including influencing how they see their possibilities, but some change and some control is possible.

“This is one of the goals of education, actually. To help people see from different perspectives, to understand their experience differently, to realize different ways of thinking and responding to what we are confronted with. Effort put into these practices allows us to have some control over who we become.” 

I personally agree with the above quote. Although the past does not define you it definitely shapes who you are. According to Paul everyone has the capacity to change and grow.

The past does not define us as people because the past is constantly changing. In one minute, the current minute becomes the past. We can change now and pave the way for our future.

Some people have been through extremely hard things and can’t escape their past. This is why many people turn to suicide or drugs. But those who change have the ability to help so many people.

They haven’t let their pasts define them, so why should we? It is important to remember that change is the goal. Without change we can get lost in our pasts and continue to make our past the future. It is important to note, as Paul says, that change and our ability to see other perspectives is key.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that we do have some control over who we become. Paul also mentioned that your culture and family also play a part in conditioning how you are.

Nature can influence who we are in terms of  what we’re surrounded by.

The only thing that is constant is change. Life is all about change. The more experiences we have in our lives shape who we will become. 

In order to keep up with life we have to continue to change as well. Changing is a part of growing. We can use our past to change into who we want to be, and we can break the bondage of the past.

Many people say that they can never get over what some people have put them through. Yes, in many cases what has been done to them is unfortunate, but carrying hatred towards people from our pasts just keep us in the cycle. It is very important to forgive.

Forgiveness helps us grow as people, which means we are very different than in the past. If it’s too hard to forgive, we carry this pain from the past into the future. This will not serve us well and can actually hinder our growth.

The past can be defined as someone’s history that can often be considered to be shameful. This is interesting because a lot of people tend to be judged or shamed for their past. This ridicule often comes irregardless of if it was just one small mistake that they made.

Other people seem to not let us escape from our pasts. This causes us to define ourselves based on our past because that’s how everyone else treats us.

But we need not treat ourselves this way and tune out all the chatter. If we can learn from our past mistakes and then change, people won’t be able to bring us down anymore.

It is important to remember that we can always better ourselves from learning from our pasts.

Experiences shape who we are, but do not control who we can be. It may not be easy, but the past can be used to help us grow instead of hurt us. The past is behind us.