Past experiences shape who we are. We, humans, spend an incredible amount of time reliving our pasts and forming narratives that, consciously or unconsciously, can begin to dictate how we think of ourselves and how we show up in the world.
But the truth is, you likely have some stories about your past that aren’t serving you – that are, instead, keeping you from owning who you are NOW and rocking the hell out of this one precious life.
Today, we’re going to talk about your past and how to change it.
For many of you, this may be the most important work you do in your life. Because far too often, we base our entire identities on our past experiences.
All those things we regret.
All those things we feel victimized by.
We spend a lot of time with those memories – those thoughts – of the past.
In turn, this influences how we experience the present moment – and how we create our future.
What is the past, anyway?
The “past” as we experience it now is a thought – a thought about what happened.
We feel like our thoughts about the past aren’t optional – that they are just recollections of facts. We don’t think we have a choice about how we think of the past.
This is why, when we spend all our time perseverating about the past, we keep living the same life over and over. We keep repeating the same patterns.
But actually, we get to remember our experiences however we want to.
Does this mean that all those traumatic events in our childhood didn’t happen? F*ck no. Of course, they did. Does this mean that all that work we did to heal and overcome them and move forward somehow becomes minimized by not giving them as much brainpower? Never.
But our interpretation of those facts – the STORY we tell about them – THAT’S optional. Ultimately, our thoughts create our results.
Using myself as an example, I could choose to tell myself the story of how hard my life was because I grew up poor and in a violent, gang-ridden neighborhood, with a mother who abused me, a mentally ill father who gave away all our money whenever we might have had any, and because I was raped at 16 years old. And I could use all that to have a big ol’ justified pity party for myself.
But instead, I choose to tell a story of triumph and how I am the true heroine of my own life. (you can hear more about that on the podcast).
I want to encourage you to use your past in a way that actually serves your present. Because believe it or not, our brains can only be in one place at a time – right now.
To create a DIFFERENT future, you need to create new thoughts. Choose new thoughts.
When we are mindful and aware of our thoughts about our past, we can choose thoughts that help us show up as better humans in the world.
It is possible to rise from the ashes – I’m living PROOF.
And to do so, the story you tell about all that past stuff has to change.
Your PAST does not define you. YOU get to define you.
Topics in this Episode:
- Why our thoughts about the past can keep us from living our lives to the fullest
- How to use your past in a way that actually serves your present
- Why our identity is tied to our story of our past – and how to change this
- Tips on embracing what I refer to as “practical” emptiness
- Why my past suffering helped me develop grit, start my business, and ride out the ups and downs of abusive internet trolls and hate letters.
- How you can come up with the new thoughts about your past + ways to really start practicing these new thoughts, instead of defaulting to old ways of thinking
- Changing your narrative – the reason you should get curious about why a past experience happened for you, instead of to you
**Please note that the content of this episode does not apply in the same way to people with a diagnosis of PTSD or severe trauma or other mental illness which continues to impact their daily functioning capacity – that’s out of the scope of what I’m referring to. If this is you, feel free to still listen to the episode but please consult with your provider knowing the podcast content may not be fully relevant to you at your current stage of healing.
// Want to know how to build unshakable confidence and resilience? Have a tribe that supports you? Learn about the Rebel Buddhist Manifesto? Click here to grab the Rebel Buddhist Training Kit for a free resilience training, an active online community, and more.
// Ready to dive even deeper into all this? Check out Freedom School where we have an entire month on content on this topic. See what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.