By Laura Lifshitz
We can all look back and feel regret or pain over mistakes or choices we have made. No one is perfect. Life is a journey and on our journey, we take wrong turns and make bad moves. If we knew everything already, we most likely wouldn’t need to be here. We’ve all felt regret and wanted to kick ourselves over things we’ve done. This is normal.
When it becomes unhealthy is when we dwell, living in the fear of our mistakes lurking behind us like shadows. When we can’t forgive ourselves and move forward. When we continue to judge ourselves in the present and future for actions that are left in the past, that is unhealthy. We need to be able to wave goodbye to the choices of the past and move ahead towards the future without yoking ourselves too intimately to our pasts. As long as we are not repeating the same choices, why should we continue to beat ourselves up, sentencing ourselves to misery?
If this is you—feeling regret over marital mistakes, life choices, or whatever the case, try these things in order to give your past one last embrace goodbye, and move on happily, with forgiveness in your heart.
You Wouldn’t Be You Without The Past
As much as we may not like the previous choices we’ve made, our pasts help us make future choices! It builds us to be the person we need to be. Everyone’s journey is unique and comes with different challenges. Appreciate all you’ve learned and experienced for the one simple fact that it had a part in creating the beautiful person you are today. All of our stories are intricate and troubled at times. In the end, this makes us unique, stronger and wiser.
Beating Yourself Up Won’t Change The Results
You can’t change your past. You’re not Harry Potter—you can’t use some time-traveling charm and reverse your choices. So, what good will beating yourself up over a choice you made do?
It won’t change what happened. It won’t change the end results.
The only things that can indeed, bring about positive change are FACTs:
Forgiving yourself, acknowledging what you did that was wrong and why, deciding to make different choices for yourself and lastly, committing to transforming and changing your life. If you’re willing to do all of that, how could you possibly continue to kick yourself over the old, former you?
You May Have Thought What You Were Doing Was Right
At the time, you thought marrying that person was right.
At the time, you felt what you were doing was right, even if in the long run, it wasn’t.
Hindsight is wonderful, but in that present moment, you weren’t gifted with knowledge of the future and the end result of your choice. Sometimes, we really think we are doing the right thing even if in the long run, it wasn’t. Sometimes, we’re missing the information we need to make a better choice or perhaps, we have self-esteem or other mental health issues clouding our judgment.
Be easy on yourself. Not too easy that you don’t transform to a stronger and better person, but easy enough because we are all human and guess what?
This won’t be the last bad choice you make.
Refusing to Forgive Yourself = Holding Onto Negative Energy
If you’re constantly beating yourself up, you are treating yourself as less than and incapable. By doing so, you invite others to do the same to you! If you don’t feel good about yourself, why should anyone else?
All that negative energy invites bad people and bad feelings into your life and wastes your time. It takes any energy you have and fuels it into a tunnel of misery in which there seems to be no way out.
You have to forgive yourself. By doing so, you are creating an open invite for positive people and things to walk into your life. You free your energy and time up to go towards the pursuit of happiness, not doom.
Build a Loving Life By Loving You
If you drown in your past, that’s where you will stay: submerged in the darkness.
By forgiving yourself, embracing change and a new way of being and moving forward, you will begin to love yourself again. With self-love, you can swim to the surface and start to live again. Because truly, holding onto the pain of your mistakes is a death sentence. An end to joy, an end to love.
The good news: you’re not special. Well, you’re special, but you’re not unique. We all have felt pain and regret over the past. The even better news is so many of us have swum to the surface and started to live again. What are you waiting for? You have your whole life ahead of you.
About the Author
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated writer, comedienne, single mother and chocolate fanatic. A former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate, you can find her work in many places, like the New York Times, DivorceForce, Mom.Me, Women’s Health, Worthy, Working Mother and numerous other sites. Follow her on Facebook and her own website, frommtvtomommy.com.