Walking Away From the Past and Running Towards the Future

Whether it’s a mistake I’ve made or the way someone else has treated me, I’d say one of my biggest struggles is letting go of the past and allowing myself to move forward. I am a young twenty-something who has been presented with many opportunities to screw up (and, I have). I still let something someone said about me years ago impact the way I see myself today or guilt myself over something I did at age 18. In my journey to forgiveness I’ve come to learn that as human beings we cannot let our past define our present or control how we live out our future. Self forgiveness as well as forgiving others is what will allow for a happier and healthier life in the long run. I’m still working on ways to keep self improvement on the forefront of my mind, but I have learned helpful lessons along the way.

Don’t beat yourself up.

It’s easy to lock yourself away and wallow in guilt but it’s also detrimental to your mental health. Instead, own up to your mistakes in the moment. Apologize, learn, and do better. As time goes on, don’t let other people guilt you either. Accept that you messed up, and if the topic emerges again, admit to your mistake and prove that you have moved on, and others should too.

Don’t beat other people up.

It’s important to forgive others in the same way you forgive yourself. Make sure to receive an apology, don’t be passive when you aren’t being treated correctly, but know that everyone else is just as human as you. Humans mess up. The best thing to do is move on and live separate lives from those who have hurt you, but to put the mistakes others have made behind you.

Know who you are.

Sometimes we act out of character. We make mistakes that may seem unlike us. Know who you are and what you stand for. If you do something that strays from your core values, remember that this doesn’t change you as a person. We all lose our way sometimes. Instead, understand why you did what you did, and improve. This same rule applies to people who hurt you. Know who you are, and don’t let the actions of others define you. Don’t stoop to other people’s levels, and don’t let someone else’s opinion of you shape your opinion of yourself. You know you better than anyone, and just because someone doesn’t see or appreciate all your qualities or feelings doesn’t mean they aren’t valid.

The best advice I can give as someone who has made mistakes and has been hurt by other people’s mistakes is to never avoid the issue, but know when to move on from it. Admit to your faults and hold others accountable for their faults, and then press forward. Working on yourself is all you can do, so keep self improvement on the forefront of your mind. Life is a constant job requiring you to work on being the best version of yourself that you can be, and often times this job requires some tough lessons. Learn from what life throws your way, and be better because of it.

Thanks for reading, talk soon!

-Jess

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