This article is for all of you who sometimes lie awake at night, wondering where you would be now if you hadn’t made all those wrong turns. Wondering if you will ever be able to forgive yourself for your past mistakes.
The times you showed the worst version of yourself. The times you failed miserably. Even though some of these mistakes happened years and years ago.
Sometimes, it’s all too easy to hold a grudge against yourself.
There are moments in everyone’s life that we would gladly go back to and change. But we can’t.
We can, however, work on forgiving ourselves for your past mistakes.
Mistakes happen when you don’t know any better
To forgive yourself for your past mistakes, you need to acknowledge that you weren’t always the person who you are today. As simple as that sounds, it’s not something we usually think about.
Being who you are now, you see why your past actions were a mistake. Maybe you have learnt the value of true friendship while going through a rough patch. And now, you’re regretting that you didn’t stand by a friend in need once. Maybe you see now that education is important and regret partying so much when you had the chance to learn.
One of my biggest regrets from when I was younger is that I tried so hard to fit in instead of focusing on real friendships. I always wonder if I would have more friends now if I didn’t make all the wrong choices…
But we didn’t know then how things would turn out.
I had no idea that popularity and “fitting in” would lose all importance once I graduated High School. I only recognised the significance of learning (vs. getting good grades) once I had finished University and began missing the information input I was used to.
The truth is, we learn as we go. And mistakes help us figure out what not to do.
It’s hard to appreciate a good relationship when you’ve never known a bad one. It’s tempting to take abundance for granted when you’ve never known scarcity. And similarly, it’s hard to strive towards good choices when you’ve never made a mistake.
In a way, our past mistakes have helped us become who we are now.
Forgive yourself for past mistakes by improving your future actions
We’ve all heard the saying “learn from your mistakes”. But people don’t usually suggest that we just avoid mistakes altogether. And that’s because it would literally be impossible.
Just like a child falls down over and over again before learning how to walk, we make tons of mistakes before figuring things out.
You can’t change the stuff you did wrong. But you can forgive yourself for your past mistakes by focusing on doing the right thing in the future.
If you regret treating someone badly, use it as an incentive to be extra kind to people. Should you regret not following your dreams in the past, channel it to work towards them now. After all, you wouldn’t want to make the same mistake twice!
The choices you wish you made are a guideline you can live by. Instead of dwelling on them, you just put them into action. Now. Tomorrow. And the day after that.
By using your past mistakes to guide you towards a better version of yourself, you’re creating the life you desire. And isn’t that exactly what we all want?
When putting the lessons you’ve learnt into use, a once wrong turn can suddenly become something positive.
Then, you can look back on past mistakes as hurdles you faced in your personal growth. And you’ll forgive yourself. Because without them, you wouldn’t have learnt quite as much.
Focus on the mistakes you didn’t make
Sometimes, you need to just be grateful for the good things in your life. The good choices you made.
Doing so will remind you that you did things right, too. And it will help you forgive yourself for your past mistakes.
You know that everyone makes mistakes. And I’m sure that yours could have been so much worse!
In my case, there are lots of things I regret doing (or not doing) in the past. But I don’t regret everything.
For instance, I’m glad that I always maintained a good relationship with my family, even when it was “cool” to hate your parents. I’m happy that I kept believing in my dreams, even though no one else did. And despite being a push-over for most of my life, I’m thankful that I kept helping people, even when I got nothing out of it.
If you look at all the mistakes you could have made, you realise that you made plenty of good choices. And your past mistakes probably don’t seem quite as bad anymore.
So, instead of dwelling on regrets, focus on what you did right. And in time, you’ll be able to forgive yourself for your past mistakes.
Everything happens for a reason
I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. And although that doesn’t mean that I just accept past mistakes, it does help me deal with them.
When I think back to all the times I failed, I believe that maybe it was meant to be. I got back up and tried again. And I learnt valuable lessons that helped me succeed later on.
If I hadn’t made terrible career choices that contributed to ruining my mental and physical health, I might have never started my own business. Had I not stayed in a bad relationship for far too long, I would not be able to appreciate what I have now quite as much.
Believing that everything happens for a reason can truly help you forgive yourself for your past mistakes.
Your mistakes helped you grow as a person. They taught you valuable lessons that you might not have learnt otherwise. And they made you the person who you are today.
And that’s why it’s worth forgiving yourself for not always getting it right.
How do you manage to forgive yourself for your past mistakes? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! And please don’t forget to share this post with your friends of you liked it. 🙂