Your Past Does Not Define You, But It Does Create You.


Hello my lovelies!

I am totally excited today because the amazing and beautiful, Jennifer Pastiloff (one of my all time favorite writers!!!) “liked” The Self Love Challenge on FACEBOOK! WOO! Sorry. I’ve been totally fan-girling all day long because of this because it means so much to me that she took time out of her busy day to check out my page and LIKE IT. I mean I know we’re all human beings and one person isn’t any better than another, but it’s just super exciting when one super awesome human being, who totally has been an inspiration to your daily empowerment and self love journey, likes your blog page on Facebook.

I discovered her a few years back from my other favorite author, Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Facebook page, and ever since then I’ve been hooked on everything she writes about. Her own journey has been truly inspiring and similar to my own, in relation to anxiety and depression and being stuck at a job you dislike, which stunts the growth of who you truly are meant to be. And she’s moved from being that “stuck place” to creating this beautiful and inspiring idea of Manifestation Yoga and making sh*t happen and encouraging so many others to follow their own paths and journeys of empowerment and self love. You can read more about her story on her website, Jennifer Pastiloff, and I totally encourage you to do so because she is one awesome lady. So if you’re reading this Jen, THANK YOU for all you have inspired me to be, and I hope one day we will get to meet at one of your workshops or retreats and I will get to experience all of that goodness!

So moving on! Today I wanted to focus on my own past and story and how it’s actually shaped me to be the person who I am becoming now. I know for most of us, “the past” has a bad reputation and we look back on it like something we are ashamed of rather than something that has actually helped form us into who we are today.

Let’s just admit it. Everyone has a past. I know some of our pasts may be filled with things we’ve done that we’re not so proud of or maybe even things that have happened to us that we are still wounded from, but I think it’s time to free ourselves from carrying that shame and instead be proud of our stories and where we have come from.

The past few days I have been cleaning out my garage and I found a ton of boxes of random knick knacks – photographs, journals, ornaments, knick knacks – you name it, it was there. It appears that as the years go by, I’ve mindlessly acquired a ton of stuff and I’ve just been shoving it in these boxes for the purposes of keeping it as a memory. Well, the last few days I have been opening up those boxes filled with “memories” and it really has been forcing me to travel back in time to some happy days, but also some not-so-happy days. I started to reflect on everything I’ve been through over the years. I read through journals of when I struggled with my anxiety or my depression, of when I thought I was truly losing my mind. I saw old pictures of when I looked really happy with my ex-boyfriend and I started to wonder why everything went south the way it did. I held in my hand fragments of a life that I used to have. Little knick knack souvenirs of the times I travelled here or there, or of things I’ve kept that reminded me of certain friends or family members who were no longer in my life. I read quotes I’d kept that reminded me of how worthy and loved I was. I found pictures from when I was a child and when my parents were together, and I cried because I knew that was also something of the past.

It was bittersweet. I knew that those days were over, and that made me sad, but I also recognized how far I have grown from where I had been – that girl who was full of fear and longing for love. And since then I have accumulated so many memories and experiences and so much wisdom , that it has truly shaped me into the person who I am becoming now. So I thank my past for that.

We can learn a lot from our pasts and even our past selves.  We can learn from our reactions, our failures, and our mistakes, but also where we went right and what worked. I know personally in the past I was always very cautious, afraid of failure, afraid of any kind of risk and always hesitated when making decisions – in other words, I constantly played it safe. Safe never really got me anywhere though. Sure, it may have kept me “safe” but I never progressed and I never was able to follow my dreams past a certain point. So an example of learning from my past would be, not to play it so safe anymore and to not be afraid of taking some risks and being ok if failure is the result. Sometimes the only way to know if anything will work out is if you try and go for it. Always use judgement of course, but I’m learning that if you want to get anywhere in life, you do have to risk a bit to get there. 

I’m also learning to value people and things more. Ever since losing a few people who were dear to me, I’ve learned the art of appreciation. Things and people aren’t going to be around forever, so we must not take them for granted. So today, I am wiser, and I try my best to really stay in the present moment and appreciate things for what they really are. 

What else have I learned? Not to be so serious all the time. That having fun is ok. I’ve learned to forgive myself for past mistakes, that sometimes I didn’t know any better, and that’s ok and even if I did know better, maybe I didn’t have the best information at the time to make the right decision. But still. I forgive myself because that’s all I can do. Living in unforgiveness is never healthy for anybody. 

I’ve learned that you can’t please everybody, and if you try, you’re the one who will end up unhappy because you won’t be staying true to yourself. Striving is never good and will only make you feel like you’re never enough. 

The experiences and trials I have endured have not gone to waste. From them I have learned to persevere through tough times, to grow within my own character, to learn from my mistakes, and to experience all kinds of emotions that I would’ve never experienced otherwise. These events from your past are what create who you are in your present. If you experience hardship or sadness, maybe because of it you are now a more compassionate person towards others who experience similar trials. If you made a lot of mistakes in the past, maybe now you are more cautious or exercise better judgement. If you were unkind, maybe now you have learned to find more kindness in your heart. If you were unhappy, maybe now you will seek joy instead. 

We are constantly changing. Constantly growing. Morphing into different versions of ourselves, hopefully a version better than before. We become wiser. Or smarter. We learn to love more deeply. And find more passion in our daily lives. This is all due to the past. Because we constantly learn from what history shows us, and we use that wisdom to better our future. 

So when we think of our past, we should not feel shameful or like it’s something we must tuck away deep within our closets. Instead, let’s try to embrace it for what it was and maybe even show it some gratitude for shaping us into who we are today. 

The Self Love Challenge: Accept your past as part of what created you. Learn from it. Take wisdom from it. And create a better version of your present self because of it. 

love to you all.


Christina Ciro

p.s. I would really like to start growing my blog even further, so if you would please take a moment to go like my Facebook page, I would really appreciate it! Also feel free to share, like, and comment. Your feedback is always appreciated and I do my best to connect back. 

p.p.s I would also like to start figuring out some kind of catch phrase for The Self Love Challenge blog, so if you have any ideas, throw em’ at me! I’m thinking something along the lines of #loveyourself.