If I could go back in time and change certain aspects of my life, I wouldn’t hesitate. Unfortunately, that is not an option. Since changing the past is not feasible, I choose to forgive myself, take the lesson from it and move on. The problem is the masses do not do the same. Sadly enough, we become a prisoner to the mistakes of our past. Our friends and those who claim to be our loved ones can oftentimes be the same people who constantly remind us of our prior mishaps and use those missteps to justify convincing us that we are forever inadequate. I am here to tell you to free yourself.
It’s often been said that we live in a culture in which Malcolm Little could have never become Malcolm X. I am inclined to agree. Luckily, the late great Malcolm X was of a different period in time in which change was welcomed. I advise all of you to not allow the stagnant mindset of others, even those closest to you to stifle your growth or talk you out of your dreams and aspirations. This is easier said than done but I never said it would be easy, I simply stated it’s what needs to be done.
The woman I am today is not at all the woman I was a decade ago. I am not the woman I was five years ago. I am constantly evolving. What I have noticed is the main people who have tried to stifle my growth are the same people who are paralyzed in their own. That paralysis is then projected on to me. Since they have not changed, they foolishly think or better yet hope that no one else has changed as well. As we all know, misery loves company.
Someone’s opinion of you only becomes true when YOU accept it and stop acting on your potential. I challenge you to disagree when other’s limit your abilities based on their narrow perception of who you are. I cannot tell you how many people I have spoken to who felt God put something on the inside of them to become or fulfill, yet they do not out of discouragement from those near and far. We hang on to other’s opinions of our dreams and aspirations as if God cc’d them on the vision of what we are destined to become. This must stop so that the deep work can begin.
We have all made mistakes in our past and when there is an audience, they can unfairly keep us captive to a dark season. I am here to tell you that dark seasons are a part of your past, but it is in no way an indication of your future unless you allow it to be. Many people have a nasty habit of trying to keep you where they found you. This is why an ex-con who has completely turned his/her life around gets reminded of the mistakes of his/her past. This is why the person who was once an addict but has been clean as clean can be for the last seven years is still a prime suspect when someone’s wallet goes missing at a family function. This is the same reason why the woman who was young, lost, broken, confused and as a result, promiscuous, is still seen and treated as such when she changes for the better. Break out of this prison.
By now, you may be wondering how to do this. I offer a couple of ways in which I do this. In all honesty, it is still a struggle, but I refuse to remain a captive of someone’s limited idea of who I am. One way in which you free yourself is to know yourself. When you understand that the person you were is no longer the person you are now, you understand the opinions of others whose objective is to stifle you is not valid. You know this, and you move accordingly. Having a true sense of self-awareness means that you know what is true and what is not true of yourself. Self-awareness presents concrete evidence of who you are, not who you used to be. The person you used to be was used as a steppingstone to grow into your current identity. It is by no means your end all be all.
The last suggestion I have is by far probably the most difficult. To preserve your peace and to free yourself of your past, I recommend distance. I surround myself with people who celebrate my growth rather than relishing in my past downfalls. I greatly distance myself from the negative Nancy’s in order to continue my evolution of becoming my best self. The negative Nancy’s want me in a familiar place, but I know that is not my calling. It takes being fearless, but I know you can do it. If you remember none of what was stated above, just do not allow people to keep you at the place in which they found you. Soar far above and beyond that place.