How do you make peace with your past mistakes so you can get on with your life and create a stronger future? The answer is to not feel …
Creating a stronger future becomes twice as difficult when you have a conflict with your past. You carry the burden along with you, and it limits what you feel you can do. You don’t realize the many opportunities on your path because you become blind to them, or you feel undeserving.
Making peace with your past is important because it frees you from the prison you set up yourself. You become brave to take new opportunities since you don’t feel undeserving anymore. You move out of your comfort zone and move on with your life to a better future.
The way to make peace with your past is to not feel bad about what you have done in the past.
What you did could have been bad, or there was a bad event, but you don’t have to feel bad about it in the present moment. Even if the past event carries ongoing consequences, there is no reason for you to feel bad about that event and the consequences.
For example: You were involved in a car accident. You were the driver, and you were with several of your friends. Because of your reckless driving, your friends were injured, and some of them are scarred to this day.
This example happened to my brother when his friend was driving. In this case, if you were the driver, you don’t have to feel bad about the past event. You simply do what you need to do to improve the situation, without feeling any bad. You can even commit to helping your friend heal without feeling any bad.
The bad feeling comes from thinking you have to already be a perfect person since the beginning of your life. It also comes from thinking you have to know every available answer all the time. When you do something wrong (not good), or you give a wrong answer, you feel bad.
There’s no need to feel bad because none of us are already a perfect person (we’re constantly improving), and none of us know all the answers already (we are constantly learning).
Making peace with your past can be achieved by dissolving or eliminating any feelings of bad inside of you. Here are a few ways you can experiment to reduce the bad feelings you have.
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Forgive and Accept … Yourself
If you already understand that there’s no need to feel bad, you don’t need to forgive or accept. If someone hurt you in the past, you already understand why they did it. You can cut out that person from your life, or you can work or live with them with certain restrictions.
But if you still feel bad, then forgiving and accepting is an excellent first step. At first, we may think about forgiving and accepting the person who hurt us. But once we dig deep into our hearts, we find that the person we need to forgive and accept is ourselves.
Even if you are the victim, you can still feel bad about being a victim. You may feel helpless or that you let a person rob you of your power. Forgive yourself for feeling bad about being helpless, and accept that you are not helpless. You always have some power to create a stronger future.
Find the “Seed of Benefit”
There is a quote from Napoleon Hill:
Every adversity carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit.Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
It means that every seemingly bad thing can carry an equally good thing. When something bad happens, our brains tend to get stuck thinking about the bad things only. But if you move your thinking beyond the bad, you can find there is an opportunity, or a chance to improve.
In the example of the car accident above, the benefit is it makes us realize the priorities in our lives. It can also make us become more careful with risk, and be able to avoid large danger in the future.
Finding the seed of benefit becomes a boon, a great gift, that comes from seemingly bad events in our lives. Many successful people become successful after they experience a large failure and find the benefit from it. By finding a benefit that you can grow, you can reduce the feeling of bad from past mistakes.
Realize That You Are not Stuck
Feeling bad about past mistakes implies that you are stuck and there is nothing you can do. It’s correct that there is nothing you can do to change events in the past, but you are not stuck about how you feel in the present.
Remember, seemingly bad events may not be bad. A car accident that resulted in injuries is not bad by itself, especially if you can find the seed of benefit in it. An event is simply an event, it’s how we feel about it that makes it seem good or bad. And if you can choose, why not feel good?
Knowing that events are only events, and we always have some power to improve, then we are never stuck. Past mistakes that carry consequences in the present don’t make us stuck because we are still alive and can do some things about it. Even if you carry physical injuries that limit your movement, you can still do some activities to improve.
I remember a quote but I forget the source:
Before the accident, there were 10,000 things I can do. Now, there are only 9,000 things I can do. Rather than focus on the 1,000 things I can’t do, instead I focus on the 9,000 things I can.
I would slightly change that quote to say: after the accident, there are still 10,000 things I can do, but they are simply a different 10,000 things.
Your past mistakes do result in consequences, but there’s no need to let it make you feel stuck. You have some power, use it to get unstuck and improve. Once you begin getting unstuck, you also eliminate any bad feelings because you know you can move forward.
You eliminate feelings of undeserving because there is no need to feel deserving either. Simply do what you need to do because you have some power to do it. You have some power to take on new opportunities and create a strong future.