Learning how to let go of the past and forgive yourself can be one of the hardest things we every try to do.
We have all made mistakes during the course of our lives.
No matter how “big or small” your mistake might be considered, the fact that it is having a profound affect on your ability to live your best life means it is time to take steps to letting go and forgiving yourself for past mistakes.
Letting go of the past and forgiving yourself is a long journey that will not happen over night.
It is a process that will be different for everyone as we are all affected by situations and mistakes differently.
It will bring out a lot of different emotions, some in which you may have never felt before.
I want to help you with this process so you can move forward and live your best life, letting go of what was and embracing the life that lies ahead.
1. Acknowledging your mistake
The fact that you are reading this most likely means you have already acknowledged that you have made a mistake which is a huge step in itself.
You’ve taken ownership of what has occurred because of a poor decision, judgement or choice.
Possibly you have taken steps to fix your mistake or have shown remorse for what has happened.
If you haven’t and it is possible to do so, for example giving a meaningful sincerely apology whether this be in writing, through a meeting or any other means appropriate then this may be something to consider in the process of letting go and moving forward.
Too often, we let our pride get in the way or remain in denial when mistakes are made and fail to acknowledge and take ownership.
2. Understanding why
This is something that may not be as easy for some as it is for others.
It is not always easy to establish why we make certain mistakes, especially on our own.
Often it may be something that goes much deeper than you can figure out on your own and may require some professional help from a therapist or counselling.
For others it may be easier to figure out why it has happened and could be more easily fixed.
If you can get to the bottom of why, then you can learn and grow from this or put strategies in place to avoid future mistakes of a similar nature.
3. Be clear on your new morals and values
We often feel guilt or regret for past mistakes because those actions from the past do not fit with our current morals and values.
You may have been brought up to have high moral standards but certain situations cause you to make poor judgement and those morals we once lived by seem to just disappear, this could be momentarily or it could be for a more prolonged phase in our lives.
The good thing that can come out of this is that our past mistakes can often lead us to figuring out what we truly value and stand for.
Identifying our morals and values can make it clearer for us to see what is causing us the hurt and inability to let go of what has occurred in the past and forgive ourselves.
4. Start living by your new morals and values
Its all well and good to say you have established new morals and values, but prove it to yourself that you truly do believe in them by acting in accordance.
If you catch yourself having a weak moment or feel yourself slipping down a darker path, remind yourself of your new morals and values and how far you’ve come in this process already.
What would it mean to you to turn your back on them?
Start to eliminate the negative thoughts and instead replace them with thoughts and actions that are inline with your new morals and values.
This is a huge step in the process towards letting go and forgiving yourself.
It creates healthier habits that promote a happier and healthier life.
5. Identify your biggest regrets and learn from them
You may have many regrets from a past mistake and to think about them all at once often just becomes a blur and can be extremely overwhelming.
Instead, identify your biggest regrets.
Write them down and reflect on them, but don’t dwell.
Dwelling will not allow you the ability to move forward and will only trap you in the past.
Instead reflect on those regrets and ask yourself, ‘what would you tell your old self now if you had the chance?’.
Let those regrets be a lesson and take your lessons into the future.
6. Leave the past in the past
Remember, it has happened and it cannot be changed.
No matter how much you regret the past, it has occurred but its is history.
You cannot control what has already happened but you do have the control to pave your way to a better future.
Whether you consider your mistake to be big or small it is all a part of history.
You’ve hopefully learned from it, understood why it has happened and now it is time to let it go.
Leave it behind you and just look ahead to all the amazing possibilities that await you if you can let go and allow yourself to move forward.
7. IT’S TIME TO BE KINDER TO YOURSELF
You have probably spent far too much time already beating yourself up about your wrongdoings.
It’s time to implement changes to how you see yourself.
Most people that are reading this have found it because they have made a mistake that they are struggling to let go of and forgive themselves.
This says a lot about you as a person in a way that it shows you care to make a change.
You realise you’ve made a mistake, that you’ve done something which isn’t considered acceptable behaviour.
This in itself is very honourable and you should feel good about yourself for this alone.
It is too easy to focus on the traits we don’t like about ourselves and the things we have lived to regret but how much focus do we put on the achievements we make, or the good things we do and have done?
Take some time to reflect on the things you like about yourself an the things other people appreciate you for, and don’t say there is nothing.
There is always something to like and be proud of. Give yourself a break and stop beating yourself up over the past.
As said earlier, the past is gone.
Start living in the present and be kind to yourself.
8. Surround yourself with the right people
Often we are surrounding ourselves with the wrong people and this can have a huge affect on our ability to move forward positively.
If we are constantly surrounding ourselves with negative people who have a more pessimistic outlook on life, we will be far more inclined to take on these traits as well.
This will significantly slow your ability to stop the negative thoughts that we have got into the habit of thinking.
Instead surround yourself with people who have a more optimistic and positive outlook.
Be selective of who you choose to share your thoughts and emotions with.
By doing this you will adopt more positive ways of thinking, resulting in being able to move forward much faster.
9. It doesn’t define you
Yes, you have made a mistake that you are certainly not proud of.
Many people may even make judgement and form their opinions of you, most of which are usually based on very little knowledge of you, what has happened and why.
For many people this can have a very overwhelming affect on our emotions and we begin to make inaccurate judgements of ourselves.
Remember, what has happened was a choice you made at a time in your life against your better judgement.
This does not define you as a person.
Everyone makes mistakes, people in all walks of life, ages and professions.
Don’t let your mistake define you and undermine your self worth.
Instead let them teach you a lesson so you can learn, grow and change from it.
10. trust that your best life is taking shape
You don’t need to have your whole life planned out before your eyes.
Life will never go to plan, and the more focus you put into planning exactly how you want your future to be, the harder it will be to accept when those plans don’t work out exactly how you hoped.
Don’t get me wrong, having goals and aspirations to work toward is extremely important, but avoid becoming fixated one specific plan that you don’t intent to allow room for change.
Adjust your way of thinking.
Acknowledge and accept that this is the path that you were meant to take.
This path is all part of the process leading you to living your best life.
I don’t believe there is a “destination” that we arrive at where we are all of a sudden living our perfect life.
Of course things in our lives are changing constantly, often when we least expect it and we are thrown off course for some time.
Try to remain positive and don’t let it get the better of you.
Hold onto the expectation that things will eventually change for the better, because if you truly want them to they will.
Take some positive actions towards creating the new lifestyle for the better version of yourself.
Always show gratitude and trust that your best life is on its way to you.
No one is perfect. You, me, your neighbours, your boss, your president.
We’ve all made mistakes and done things were not proud of.
But, to move forward and be a better version of yourself, you absolutely must learn to forgive yourself.
Understand what went wrong, and instead of beating yourself up continuously, treat it like a gift to yourself. A lesson learned so that you can grow from it and make the necessary changes so you can move forward and live a rich, fulfilled life.
Being stuck in the past is no place to be. But thinking too much about the future is pointless, because we can only control so much.
Focus on now, like right now. What can you do to better yourself in this moment?
Feel free to leave any comments below!