We all make mistakes. It’s part of the legacy of being human. Sometimes we even get so caught up in blaming ourselves for “mistakes” that we lose sight of what the past really is – a path to our present self.
If you’re caught up in the language and thought process of woulda, coulda, shoulda, it’s time to stop!
Go easy on yourself. Be kinder to yourself, be as kind to yourself as you are to others, and you’ll be amazed at the healing and empowerment you’ll find.
If that isn’t enough reason for letting go of days gone by, here are a few more:
It was right at the time
There may have been a career path you’d have chosen that would have made you a higher earner by now, but you would have missed out on all those adventures that made you into you.
You might not have stayed in that relationship had you known what you know now – but you didn’t. You knew you needed the love, the safety or the challenges you were getting there. Don’t sell your past-self short. We make decisions based on our best guesses at the time. And who knows? Those guesses could have been better for you than you know. So, give yourself a break it was right at the time.
The road not taken isn’t on the map
Do you know why the grass is always greener on the other side? Because we can’t quite make it there from here. You don’t know what would have happened had you made different choices. If you hadn’t called it off with your ex, do you really know that you’d be happy? If you’d left your dead-end job earlier, who’s to say you’d be in your dream job now? We don’t know the outcomes of things we never did because they never happened and never will, the past has gone, we are here in the now.
Instead of worrying about what wasn’t or what you think “should have been”, concentrate on making choices that help you be you who you want to be now. Maybe you wish you hadn’t strayed in your last relationship. Great, – don’t do it in the next one! But that doesn’t mean you and your ex would have found bliss together. There are unexpected things we cannot control along life’s journey and you can’t know how things “would” have turned out. What we can control is who we are and how we react to the challenges unexpected and otherwise that arise. It may help to remember everything is actually perfect just as it is, because life is perfect in its imperfection.
Don’t regret growth
So you now know that if you had a chance to do things differently, you’d make some different choices. Stop beating yourself up and instead, take that as a measure of success! Look how far you’ve come! If the goal is to one day be wiser than we are, then being wiser than we were is actually an achievement. But that achievement is only possible if you can see a decision or two as a misguided, immature or just a bit silly.
If you can look back on a past you and know you wouldn’t make the same mistakes again, perhaps different ones, but not the same ones, then congratulations! That’s how you know you’re doing it right. You know you have learnt and are wiser for it.
Keep moving forward and growing wise