No one is perfect. No one can look back on their life and confidently say that they have never, ever made any mistakes. One question I am regularly asked is: "How can I forgive myself for something I've done in my past"?
I certainly don't have the perfect answer to that. However, I want to share with you a technique that I believe can help. It's a simple change in perspective that can help you along your path of accepting behaviour in your past that you're not proud of.
Let me first start off by providing you with an illustration. When you're a baby, you crawl. With practice, dedication and growth, you start to walk. Ask yourself this: When you start to walk, would you feel any need to revert to crawling? Of course not. Why? It's because walking is so much more convenient. It gets you from point A to point B so much quicker.
You may be asking yourself how this illustration can help you in your journey in forgiving yourself for your past. This is how:
Ask yourself how you feel about the behaviour in your past that you're not proud of. How does it feel? I bet it feels horrible to merely think about it. Well, that's not necessarily a bad thing. You see, when you think about something that you've done in your past, if you cringe, if you feel disappointed in yourself, if you feel regret, guess what that means. It means that you've grown. It means that you are no longer the person in your past. If you ask yourself, "How could I have possibly done that!?", that means you cannot relate to the person you were when you did what you are now regretting.
So just like a baby who learns how to walk no longer wants to resort to crawling, a person who resents their behaviour in their past is no longer attracted to those behaviours.
The decisions we've made in our past were a reflection of where we were at that time. It's a reflection of the knowledge we had at that time. It's a reflection of who was influencing us at that time. Everything we've been exposed to throughout our entire life had a profound impact on the way we acted, what we believed and the values we possessed.
So just like you would never go back to crawling once you've learned how to walk, chances are, you wouldn't go back to the behaviours that you now regret. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. However, when you look back and view the person you once were with disappointment, it's safe to say that you have grown.
We all make mistakes. We learn from those mistakes and we grow. We all do things we regret. We learn from those regrets and we become someone we could have never become without learning from the behaviours we exhibited in our past.
Stay strong and realize that the things that we are thankful for today probably would not be in our lives without experiencing the exact past that we experienced.
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