Do I Contradict Myself?

Embracing the past and the present

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Do I Contradict Myself?

Open your eyes and embrace your past and present self.

Open your eyes and embrace your past and present self.

Christina Davenport

Open your eyes and embrace your past and present self.

Christina Davenport

Christina Davenport

Open your eyes and embrace your past and present self.

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Many of us mature and become very different people from who we were in elementary school, middle school, different from who we were freshmen year. Maybe we’ve become more kind, more accepting, more open minded, more honest. Maybe we’ve given up old bad habits that we had for years, maybe we’ve found the kind of music we really like, maybe we’ve improved our mental health.

Now, it is very common to look back on your old self, who you were when you were younger, the old opinions and notions that now seem so unreasonable, so childish. It is easy to look back and to hate on who you once were, to hate the strange way you dressed, to hate the lies you’ve told, to hate the time you cheated on a test, the time you betrayed one of your friends, the time you fabricated a story just to seem interesting, the time you posted something stupid on social media. In fact, it has become a sort of trend to criticize yourself in the past, poke fun at who you were before. It is easy to dwell on the mistakes you’ve made. In fact, these long gone flaws are often just as haunting as present problems.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the mistakes you’ve made and your journey has made you who you are today. As the famous poet Walt Whitman states in “Song of Myself”, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself; (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” As human beings we contain different facets in our personalities, we hold multitudes within us. Most of us are different people than when we were ten years old and we might disagree with opinions we held strongly in the past.

Those little ridiculous quirks that you grew out of helped make you into the person you are now. When you hate on your past self, you hate on who you are at the moment, you disfigure your story and turn it into something negative, something poisonous. You turn a story of improvement into something you want to bury, a path of regret and guilt rather than self discovery.

Keep in mind who you are right now. Love your present self as well as your past self, even if you’ve made mistakes, even if you believe your old self is unlovable, someone you’d rather cast aside. Embrace your life and how you’ve lived it and how you’ve changed it for the better, and be proud of that. In order to improve, in order to move on, you must also accept the past.

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