5 tips to forgive yourself and let go of the past
We often find ourselves struggling to let go of the past. We remember different situations and replay them in our mind, thinking if we did the right thing or what we could have done better. We think we made mistakes or others have wronged us, and we keep obsessing about what happened. We blame ourselves, we guilt ourselves, we hurt ourselves. Meanwhile, life is passing by and we're not truly living it. Isn't that unfair? It's time to forgive yourself and let go.
Acknowledge your emotions
Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. This doesn't make you weak. We want to seem strong and positive, but burying your feelings under the rug doesn't magically make them disappear. Be honest with yourself. Whether you hurt yourself or someone else did, embrace the emotions that are naturally coming. Be angry, be sad, cry if you must. It's ok to feel, it's ok to release, processing your emotions will help you to move on. Being in denial will only make these resurface, maybe when you least expect it, and will constantly affect you. Breathe in, so you can breathe out.
Accept what happened and the way you reacted. We look back and question our decisions, obsessing about what we could have done differently. We are playing all these scenarios in our heads of what could have been, what if "this" or "that" happened, imagining different outcomes. But the truth is, we are just being unfair to ourselves. Any decision you took was the best for that moment, you made it for a reason, don't punish yourself. Maybe today you would do it differently, but you are a different person today. And maybe it is exactly those experiences that made you grow into the person you are today. Accept that you can't change the past. And overthinking about it makes no sense, as the past doesn't exist, it's just a memory, you are living now.
Learn the lesson
It's a well known saying that "you can't change a situation, but you can change your attitude towards it". What's done is done, the only thing you can take from it is what you have learned. Don't let your past bring you down, instead focus on how your experience helps you develop. There is always a lesson. Whether you believe in karma or not, the fact is, life will repeat the same scenarios until you learn your lesson, until you are able to have a different approach. It's not because the Universe has a twisted sense of humor, but because it gives you the chance to learn, to grow, to become who you are meant to be.
Be kind to yourself
Release the negativity and treat yourself with compassion. The thoughts you are having, the words you tell yourself, end up affecting you more than just emotionally. You create a vibe, you dwell in that energy, and it can eventually make you even physically sick. Don't punish yourself. Speak kind words to yourself. We are human, we are flawed, we make mistakes. Forgiving doesn't mean tolerating being treated badly, by others or by yourself, it is understanding and accepting. Forgive yourself for not knowing better at the time, for what you did or what you endured, for being you. Know that you are enough. Allow yourself to love yourself. The best advice I got when struggling with this, was to treat myself like I would treat a child. See yourself as a child, and treat yourself with love and compassion.
In the end, it's as simple as that: You can't change the past, you have to move on. Living in the past is harmful for you, you are living in a place that doesn't exist. The only time that exists is now. Live in the present. Take your lessons with you and leave the past behind. Your experiences, your mistakes, everything shaped you for the better. Realize that everything that happens, happens for your higher good, even if it doesn't seem so at the time. Eventually, we understand. Make space for new things in your life, have faith in what is to come. Life doesn't always give you what you want, but it always gives you what you need.