You have probably made some mistakes in your past. Whether that was in a relationship where you failed to commit as you should have or in your career where you may not have taken things as seriously as you should have. Other times, we can feel bad about falling out with our friends or family. Whatever it is, carrying the guilt and regrets of your past can hold back your future. In order to move forward and make the best of your life you need to be able to forgive yourself. However, this doesn’t mean brushing your past under the carpet, instead, you need to recognize your mistakes, own your failings and move towards a better you. This might not be easy, but here are 5 steps to help you forgive yourself and find a better future.
- Accept Your Mistakes
Ignoring your mistakes will never let you grow, so you need to take ownership for your own mistakes. Look at the bad decisions you might have made in the past and think about how you might have acted differently for a better outcome. We learn through our mistakes as much as through our successes, accept where you went wrongtake responsibility for your own errors, and use them as valuable life lessons.
- Let Yourself Feel
Shutting down your emotions will only store up problems later. Don’t be afraid to let yourself feel – which includes accepting those feelings of regret, sadness, or guilt. If you need help to process them you might want to try writing your thoughts down in a journal or email to yourself. Perhaps you can speak with someone about them – either a trusted friend, family member, or even a counsellor?
3. Accept Yourself
Once you have let your feelings flow and faced up to your mistakes, it is time to show a little compassion for yourself. Accept who you were at the time when these past mistakes were made. It doesn’t matter how much you think our personalities are genetically passed down to us, part of who you are (like with horoscopes), or taught to us through what we go through in life, who we hang out with, and what your parents told or showed you. Understand who you are, where you come from, and give yourself a break. Recognize that you were doing the best you could at the time based on your understanding, knowledge, and coping tools at the time. Life is not about being perfect all the time – it is also about making mistakes, falling down, and generally f*cking things up. However, what makes you stand out is how you learn and grow from these moments.
- You Are More Than Your Past
The past is gone. Get over it. Yes, it taught you a lot and has brought you to where you are now, but you are not your past. You are your present and you could be your future. Don’t base who you are today on who you were in the past, especially if that past contains shame or disappointment. Every day you learn and change, so every day you can improve and be better, with some valuable experience to draw upon too! Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be proud of your past achievements, but you should also honor your past by being at your best today.
- Change Your Story
Don’t let anger, guilt, sadness, or shame consume you and ruin your life. It is easy to stay stuck in a cycle of blaming yourself or others for the past, always harking back and using it as an excuse for your present. But why not look back and see how the past has taught you where you went wrong and what you can do to be a better person. Rather than seeing your past as littered with missed chances and mistakes, change your perception until you can see how you survived those moments to rise again stronger than ever before. Take this forward into the future and leave the mistakes where they are, in the past.