In the grand scheme, we learn the history of our respective counties to know our identities and directions as citizens.
In the same vein, our personal history defines our own identity and individual direction. But sometimes, if not usually, our histories contain some "blemishes," for lack of a better word. These blemishes can, and often do, affect the relationships we have and the choices we make, ultimately affecting the direction we take in life.
These blemishes affect the direction we take because emotionally, and/or logically, they point to the next steps of our behavior. And those next steps lead to others, and those lead to others, etc. But they don't have to.
Not to trivialize it, but after a blemish has happened, it is just a story, and you find yourself at a point where you choose to continue that story, or to break away on a new path.
You choose the narrative going forward at each moment in your life: Either you are offended, an orphan, a victim of abuse, a liar, a thief, etc., or you were offended, an orphan, a victim of abuse, a liar, a thief, etc. What is history truly is history. Whether or not it lives on in our minds is our own choice. Depending on the type blemish, it can be hard to let it go and leave behind, but that's where history is; behind us. None of us claims "I am five" when we're actually twenty-seven years old, yet we all were five.
I challenge you to know yourself, not by who you were, but by who you actually are now, and who you seek to become. A new vector can start at any point.
I'll leave you with a classic Buddhist tale to ponder:
Buddhist monks were forbidden to touch women, but one day a particular monk noticed a woman in distress who needed to cross a river to get to her family. The monk picked up the woman and carried her across the raging river torrent. Other monks had seen this activity, and they became indignant of the helpful monk. They scorned him fiercely for breaking his vows by touching a woman. The helpful monk replied in his defense:
"Friends, I set the woman down at the river bank. Why do you still carry her?"
What are you still carrying?