Some memories can last as long as decades. What happens when those are memories of past mistakes?
If you’re having trouble moving on from mistakes of the past, we’ve got some tips to help. Read below to find out!
Take Responsibility for Past Mistakes
Own whatever it is that you feel you did wrong. If you upset a friend, apologize. If you caused the damage, make the repair.
Instead of shifting blame or finding excuses for why the issue isn’t your fault, take a look at the situation and address what you did wrong. You will feel better for acknowledging whatever it is you did. If the mistake involves other people, it is then on their shoulders to accept your apology.
Allow Yourself to Feel
It’s an unhealthy practice to push away your feelings or pretend that they don’t exist. Doing so will keep them boiling underneath the surface until they eventually spill over.
It could be years or decades later when they finally surface, and because you haven’t sorted through them, you are carrying them with you in every decision you make. Don’t push away thoughts that come whether they are positive or negative. Let them stay until they’re ready to leave.
They will leave. It may not feel like they will at first, but they will.
This doesn’t mean you should spend time ruminating on past mistakes. Anxiety and depression can take hold if you do that.
However, when feelings and thoughts arise on their own, don’t push them back down. Allow them to have their moment, and then move on.
This step is important and is often skipped. We feel as if we deserve the punishment we inflict on ourselves for the mistake we made. Sometimes, we let this error define who we are as a person.
Remember, you make mistakes. You are not a mistake.
It is a part of humanity to do things wrong from time to time. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
Stop thinking and talking negatively about yourself after you’ve taken responsibility for what you’ve done wrong. It’s time to realize that what’s done is done, and know that you’ve learned a lesson for the future.
Your past mistake is not your identity or personality. Tell yourself this when you or others continue to remind you of what you’ve done wrong.
Once you forgive yourself, you will start letting go. Past mistakes may take time to fully heal, especially if there is trauma involved, but forgiving yourself is an essential step.
Find a Positive
When a negative memory or mistakes of the past comes up, try to find something positive in it. It’s been proven that not only are negative memories remembered more often than positives, but also that associating a positive emotion with the negative can diminish it.
Try to remember something about the situation that wasn’t bad. Maybe a friend was there with you or you had a great meal. Focus on something positive in the memory.
Don’t confuse this with choosing not to feel the negative emotions at the beginning of healing. Instead, keep this tip in mind for long-term memory storage.
Reach Out for Help
If you’re struggling with past mistakes that you can’t seem to get past on your own, talk to someone. Reach out to a mentor, friend, or therapist who can help you resolve your trauma.