There are times when I sit around and, out of nowhere, my mind goes on a juggernaut with memories of things, people, decisions, and situations that I have always harbored deeply regrets. I suspect these will follow me to my grave.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I learned from someone really wise that I was not moving on because I was subconsciously holding myself back by not just regretting those memories but still blaming myself for them.
Hold Yourself Accountable and Move On
Moving on is not about casting caution to the wind. It’s not about being reckless nor is it about NOT caring for those who may have been affected by those decisions, situations, and memories. It’s about holding yourself accountable for them and then moving on.
“Also it gains respect from the ones around you because this shows both humility and your willingness to learn. According to Linda Galindo in The 85% Solution: How Personal Accountability Guarantees Success, personal accountability contributes 85% to success and the other 15% depends on the way the wind blows.” — Holding Yourself Accountable For Your Mistakes — Rohini Rajaratnam, Leaderonomics.com
There is absolutely nothing we can do about the past. Nothing. The only thing we can do is to learn from them and if it is something we don’t ever want to repeat again, we don’t.
How do we hold ourselves accountable for past mistakes?
By looking at our past selves with kindness, calm wisdom, and a caring heart. We tell our younger selves that it is OK to make those mistakes and that you’re fine despite it.
Letting Go is Harder than Anything in the World
A part of us refuses to let go of those memories because, believe it not, holding onto those memories even though they’re tough to remember and rattles our brain cage, it comforts us.
It lets us reminisce about something we’re familiar with. Despite feeling bad about it, we are still comforted. It’s weird how our brains work, I know.
Letting go of those memories and mistakes might take some time. There are people who move on faster than others but for me, it took longer because I am a little more sensitive. No, a lot more sensitive.
Spending time with yourself and reminding yourself that it is OK is important in learning how to let go of those memories. Tell yourself there is no reason to feel guilty anymore, you’ve done your time, and there are tons of lessons to be learned from them.
For the longest time, I thought I had forgiven myself and moved on with my life. I never once let them hold me back. Like many things in my life, I consider them over and done with…until they come back and I have to face them.
And then it hurt.
If it hurts badly, it means you’ve not forgiven yourself nor the person/people involved.
Looking for Progress
For instance, if you’ve been betrayed or misunderstood by a friend or family member and you’ve recently met up with them or heard about them from a third-party, and you feel a knife twisting in your belly, you’ve still some remnant hate or regret living on in you.
I don’t think I have met anyone who has completely moved on from life situations that changed them drastically.
They might look and act all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when you look at them. In actuality, they, to a certain extent, continue to harbor some level of ill thoughts about other people or themselves.
For people who want to really move on…REALLY move on…there’s no other option than to forgive yourself for the stuff that hurt you and the people around you. Even if others choose not to forgive you for it.
It’s not selfish, it’s not self-preservation. It’s the only way to progress.
Mistakes are a Part of Life
As a parent, this is something I struggle with everyday. When my kids were little, every mistake on my part or theirs were huge deals. A small cut, the wrong school, or taking on the wrong project…they were all big deals because it affected not only my livelihood and quality of life but it also affected the innocent lives of my kids.
That’s a lot of pressure.
Parents then live their lives trying to make as few mistakes as possible, mitigating them, and narrowing down our options to the safest ones.
But mistakes are parts of our lives too. We may not be proud of them. We learn better from them. I am not advocating, once again, being reckless. What I am trying to convey is that despite our best efforts, mistakes are inevitable.
And when they happen, we don’t have to put ourselves through hell and back, again and again. We can look at the scars and say to ourselves, ‘Man, that was SOME ride. But we’re OK.” Some people look at the scars and dig into them, making them harder and harder to heal because of the regret and self-blame they inflict on themselves.
The stance is not axiomatic to change and progress.
Until you forgive yourself, you’re living in a self-made mental, emotional jail of sorts meant to stunt your progress and growth.
Let them heal and be OK with that. We were all young and stupid once.