5 Ways To Overcome The Mistakes Of Your Past
Do you squander away the moments of your life in regret? Do past failures replay in your mind like an annoying tune? Do you wish you could relive a moment, armed with what you know now, and completely revolutionize the consequences?
If you answered yes to those questions, you're certifiably human. Because it's so intrinsically human to take an ill-fated path, all of us can identify with the feeling of remorse. No one escapes. Even Adam and Eve experienced regret, and sought to hide their shame. They chose to hide, but success in life requires that we show up, vulnerable, naked, and ready to confront our mistakes.
James Joyce once said, "Mistakes are the portals of discovery." This is the only way we can honestly approach mistakes in our past. If we don't discover anything from them, we aren't looking hard enough. It takes patience and a good dose of courage to be able to look for the good in your mistakes. Here are 5 ways to help you find success in life, by overcoming your past.
Where Did I Go Wrong?
This is the first and most crucial step in overcoming your past. You must identify what contributed to your mistake. This is the hardest part for most people, because it takes guts and introspection. Sometimes looking at yourself is like taking a kick in the stomach. It's not easy, and quite frankly, most never hold themselves responsible for the outcome of their lives. This is the truth: you are directly responsible for your consequences. If people are always victimizing you, it's because you allow yourself to be their victim.
There are two types of mistakes: those made out of misinformation, and those made from an unhealthy mentality. The former type of mistakes are easy to identify and cure. You chose to buy a red sports car, but did not realize it would raise your insurance premiums, and had you known that information, you would've made a different choice. That's an example of a mistake born from misinformation. You can identify where you went wrong, and how you will avoid similar mistakes in the future.
The latter type of mistakes, those stemming from an unhealthy mentality, are the harder ones to overcome. Discovering where you went wrong leads to discovering your guiding truths on that subject. For example, if you continually fall in love with the same type of person, and this relationship always descends into the same type of break up, you must figure out what is in you that's attracting this into your life. As Freud would suggest, this usually has a backing in your childhood.
Mistakes rising from an unhealthy mentality are always unconscious. It takes work to wake yourself up. If you're fortunate, a good mistake will be an alarm clock that jars you into consciousness.
I Forgive Myself
Roberto Assagioli supposed that "without forgiveness, life is an endless cycle of resentment." I can't think of one thing more draining than holding yourself or others in contempt for your past. Resentment is the posture of the powerless; forgiveness empowers us. It gives us the permission to nod at the past and turn our eyes toward the future.
Nodding at your past does not mean that you are happy with your choices, but it means that you honor it as a lesson. Life is always schooling us. Mistakes are our greatest teachers. Of course, you must allow your mistake to teach you, you can't pretend that it doesn't exist, because how will you learn?
Forgiveness begins with the simple decision to do it. It doesn't take $1000 and a two-day retreat in the mountains to find forgiveness. You can find it right now, while reading this sentence, with the simple assertion, "I forgive myself." Whenever tempted to recall the mistakes of your past, combat it with those three words. You may not believe it now, but you will believe it eventually.
Where Are My Friends?
True friends are the greatest asset for any overcomer. True friends are hard to get and hard to lose. A true friend will stick with you during your darkest moments, and inspire you to claw out of your pit.
A lot of times, we suffer in silence, keeping secret the shame of our past mistakes from those closest to us. Too often with others, we downplay or conceal mistakes in our past, but the only way to overcome your mistakes is to speak about them. This is where friends come in. There's no need to get over a loud speaker, proclaiming to the world your past mistakes. You can whisper to a true friend, and find healing and release. A true friend will never judge you.
If you don't have any true friends, seek out mentors who have made the same mistakes and triumphed over them. Your mistake is not original. You can read their words, if you don't have access to talk to your mentor personally. The market is saturated with books by people who have overcome mistakes similar to yours. Soak in the words, but don't let it end there. After you read, it's incumbent upon you to speak. Help someone else out who's suffering through your similar mistakes. Volunteer for an organization that mentors individuals who made the same mistakes as you. There are all sorts of organizations out there: from consumer advocacy to abstinence awareness. If there isn't an organization, start one! Create a voice, and overcome through your words.
I Am Different
As humans, we are always changing and developing into a different version of ourselves. You are not the same person you were 5 minutes ago. You're older, maybe hungrier, and the simple act of reading this article has changed your consciousness. The beauty of this present moment is the overwhelming amount of possibilities. You can choose your response. You're presented with these 5 ways to overcome your past. What will you do?
I Will Persevere
You cannot stop. Life goes by too quick to make allowances for pity parties. It's okay to take some time to collect yourself, and go through these steps, but don't allow yourself to get stuck on regret. It's unproductive and it won't change the past. What you're doing now is creating a new past for yourself. If you spend all of your time regretting the past, all you'll have is a past filled with regrets.
Jump into life full force. Don't try to live too carefully, because you're afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are not bad, they are lessons learned. Whenever a mistake knocks you off the path, get back up and start again. As long as you're alive, you have the power to press forward.