Updated: Jan 25
We are defined by our experiences and these moments make us who we are. But what shines through and what seems to stand out above all else are the times that we fail. Our mistakes.
We go back to these times in our lives, revisit them and loop them over and over in our minds as we contemplate.
“I should have known…” “If I knew, I would have done it differently…”
There is no one alive that doesn’t feel this way about something in their life, there is no one alive who hasn’t experienced regret. Actually that is untrue- I’m sure there are a few who can’t process this or other emotions. But a good number of human kind, have made an error, big or small that seems to linger inside us, distracting us from the life we are living presently. Forcing us to linger on our past.
Even I have done some things in my past that I regret. They’ve often caused harm to people, I cared about and damaged relationships, with some irreparable damage. Some of these mistakes, what I’ve done, how I’ve reacted. I still reflect on several situations, in my past. The serious work I have yet to do, to accept, forgive and let go of that weight. It's more challenging than it seems...
Let's Try Something Different
Instead of wallowing in our “would’ve, should’ve and could’ve” and living in the place where we are victimized by our own darkness. At the time, they weren't options. The decisions were made and based on the options that were present, and what you knew... try not to live that place of possibilities, the constant reflections on how things could have been? Rather in a place of how things are.
Let’s attempt to bring light to it, change our thought process to engage these moments directly. Let's reflect on our past choices but not live there. Learn to accept what we can’t change and reflect on how we were changed that moment. What did you learn about yourself in that moment? Assuming this isn’t repeated, even if it is something you’ve done over and over again with different people- perhaps the better question you should ask yourself is:
“Why am I making the same choices?” “What am I doing that leads me to this end?”
Don’t worry too much about not being able to answer yourself. Sometimes there is nothing to be gained from our past. As difficult as it might be to let go of the things we can’t do, the things in our lives we can’t change. That in mind, we can’t change anything in our past aside from apologizing for it. Even that doesn’t change anything, but it allows you to let go and move on to the things you can.
Mistakes Are Valuable Tools
They change who we are. They teach us about the person we were and let us decide what kind of person we need to become. You can never be the person you were yesterday. Even your choices today will change the person you could be tomorrow. Forgive yourself for your past misdeeds. Should you feel the need to atone, don’t let it be for long.