My Past Shaped Me, But My Past Does Not Define Me

During a conversation last week, someone asked if I had allowed myself to move on from past trauma or difficult times. It stopped me short. If we’re being honest, the answer is no and has been no for several years. I’ve become exceptionally gifted at playing the victim in my own life. I’ve allowed things as simple as an ignorant comment to weigh on my mind far longer than they should and have a difficult time closing the door on the hurt from my past. Still, deep down I know– I am not defined by my past.

I Am Not Defined by My Past

I Am Not Past Relationships

People will come and go from your life; we all know this to be true. Whether it’s broken friendships, a bad break-up or even a previous job, we’ve all experienced some sort of hurt in our past. Since I have this noteworthy ability to dwell on past circumstances, I’ve noticed there has always been a lesson to be learned. But that’s it. You cannot force someone to be a good friend or to not get angry at you for finding happiness. (Yes, this really happened). And, you cannot change someone who has no interest in changing. These situations are out of my control and I am finding the strength and confidence to leave them right where they belong, closing that door once and for all.

I Am Not The Bullied Girl In Grade School

People are jerks. Plain and simple. There are some that have nothing better to do than destroy the lives around them. They’re obnoxious, rude and hurtful to those around them. I was teased for being too skinny, having too much acne, not enough money, etc.  Those experiences wreaked havoc on me far longer than they ever should have. I can tell you stories, verbatim, of the awful things I was called when I was growing up. But I’m not those things (I’d applaud anyone who said I was “too skinny” after three babies!) and I know darn well that the opinions of the naysayers from way back when do not define who I am today.

I Am Not The Opinions Of Others

Good or bad, I need to stop allowing what people think of me to define how I feel about myself. Whether someone “likes” or “loves” a photo of my kids on social media does not justify how cute they actually are. Some of the people closest to me have never once shared or complimented the posts I write, but that does not make those words any less important. We spend a great deal of time searching for reassurance in today’s world. As humans, we want to feel valued and important to others but seem to lose sight of feeling those things about ourselves. There is a need to hear that our decisions were the right ones, and we want to be seen. 

I know that in falling into this ugly trap, I’ve forgotten to see myself. I’ve allowed my past and the dark days I once experienced to run the show. Instead, we all need to remember, and repeat, the following:

You are not defined by the rough roads and struggles that led you to where you are today. They contributed to the journey but do not make or break the person you have become.


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Lindsey is married to her husband Nick and mother of three beautiful children. Emerson and Brayden are eleven year old twins, and Hartley just celebrated her first birthday. They are transplants to Cedar Rapids by way of the Quad Cities and love everything about the Corridor. She currently stays home but keeps busy getting the kids to their various activities and chasing around her very mobile toddler. She loves cheering for the Bears and White Sox, good music and enjoying a peaceful moment to herself when that rare occasion presents itself!