Have you ever felt like a prisoner of your mistakes or trapped in the place of your last bad choice? I believe many of us have been there. It is one thing to make mistakes or bad choices, but it is something quite different to allow those experiences to have a paralyzing affect on our lives.

The paralysis that is wrought by our faults takes place when those faults are internalized. In other words, when we begin to think that the mistakes we have made define who we are, then the paralysis ensues. We become stuck in a time warp in which we cannot get past our past, instead merely existing in a place that has already died.

Living this life, being held captive by our flaws, is not living because we cannot truly live if all we see are our wrongdoings. You cannot truly bask in the beauty that life has to offer if all you see is what is displeasing or problematic about yourself. When life is lived this way, it is almost impossible to escape feelings of misery and depression. In fact, misery and depression become your partners in a journey that leads to a slow emotional death. And trust me, there is nothing gracious or dignified about this kind of death, especially when this death is the result of self-inflicted wounds.

When you constantly view yourself through lenses that are tainted by your shortcomings, it impacts the relationships in your life. Think about it. If people only get to encounter the you that is shaped by your misgivings, that means that people are constantly meeting your shadow and are rarely getting a chance to encounter the authentic and genuine you.

Why? Because the you that is only a construct of your mistakes is not the totality of who you are. You are more than your mistakes. You are bigger than your blunders. You are a wonderful compilation of experiences and all of your experiences contribute to shaping your identity.

Your identity is not merely shaped by negative or painful experiences. It is also shaped by beautiful and positive experiences. I know it is always tempting to see yourself negatively, but do not allow the dark to overshadow the light that dwells within you. Do not become the victim of negative self-imaging. Do not prey on yourself, simply waiting to become a victim of your own diminishing thoughts.

Break free from the psychological chains that have kept you bound for far too long, for the world does not need one more casualty of self-defeat. Revolt against the enticement of your past mistakes and become unbound. Remember, your mistakes are meant to be your teachers, not your captors. Press forward and live in the light of new days that are waiting to dawn in your life. Press forward and march to a beat that has been crafted in the bosom of freedom.

In the words of Bob Marley, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds.”