Why Your Past Will Always Reflect Your Future

Many events will foreshadow what you’ll become, but the beauty of life is that you’ll never know which events these are until later.

woman in a field of flowers lequangutc89 / pixabay via Canva

By Candice Zhang

Since I was six, my parents enrolled me in camp every summer or March break. I don’t remember much of it except that it felt like school.

There were so many days when I wished I was somewhere else. I didn’t want to go to a place like camp every day, where I’m forced to play games and listen to counselors.

In the past, I would never imagine working a summer camp job after my experience. After I turned 13, I never envisioned myself coming back to camp.


A decade later, I returned to camp not as a camper but as a camp coordinator. In my role, I oversee all camp operations, including administration and supervision. I assign the counselors on their lunch breaks, prepare the forms, and liaise with the parents regarding their children’s behavior.


When I look back, I realized how the past played a role in the future.

Ten years ago, I was a kid who didn’t enjoy camp at all and wanted a break from it. Nowadays, I’m the person running the camp, dealing with kids who were once my age.

This made me wonder; how can the past foreshadow our future? According to research in psychology, our view of the future is heavily shaped by the past.

In one study, participants were asked to predict an event that would happen in the next week or the next five years. Later, individuals in the study were asked if the event occurred in a familiar setting. The event in the next week occurred in a familiar setting, compared to the event they predicted five years later.


This not only applies to goal setting, but to the settings we find ourselves in as well.

When we go through an event that impacts our lives drastically, chances are that our thoughts are impacted by the event. Therefore, our decisions will be reflected as a result of the event.

Think about a time in the past that changed your perspective. That one event perhaps has impacted your whole perspective, and the future decisions you made were a cause of what happened.

The reality is that our past will always impact our future. It shapes our mindsets, personalities, and goals.

And although we can’t control the events in the past, there are ways to reframe our thought patterns for the future. This will allow us to approach situations and problems with a growth mindset. We’ll also be ready to tackle anything that happens our way.


So, with that being said, if you went through a bad experience in the past, you may be surprised how that bad experience may turn out to be fulfilling in the future.

The stories of your past are heavily influenced by how you, the author, write and explain them. Every turbulent moment will have a happy ending, and every decision you made in the past will lead to an outcome that can change your life.

Many events will foreshadow what you’ll become, but the beauty of life is that you’ll never know which events these are until later.


Candice Zhang is a writer and frequent contributor to Unwritten whose bylines have been featured on Her Campus, The Strand, and others. She writes primarily about health and wellness, relationships, and current events.