5 ways you can free yourself from your shameful past and move forward
none of us are perfect. we’ve all made mistakes in our past, are in the midst of making a mistake now, or will make a mistake in the near future. it’s inevitable. so if none of us are perfect, why do we put so much effort on being perceived as such? why is it that we go the extra mile to make sure others view us in a way that makes us better than what we actually are? why is it so hard for us to forgive ourselves from things we’ve done and people we’ve hurt? i know many of us are out here grinding hard trying to flourish in our chosen professions. but the sad reality is we won’t have room for what’s to come if our hands are full of what already was. we have to be able to forgive ourselves from our own past if we’re gonna have any real shot at obtaining long term success. otherwise, you’re just playing yourself. seriously.
5). stop replaying your past mistakes in your own mind.
one of the easiest ways to keep yourself from progressing is by living in the past; and we all live in the past in different ways. some of us are constantly talking about our life’s worst moments—people who have wronged us, situations that almost killed us, etc. but my question is….why? now don’t get me wrong, if you’re revisiting your past mistakes to prevent someone for making the same mistake or something like it, that’s different. i’m all for using our stories to heal rather than hinder; and sometimes that requires you to revisit past mistakes and speak to them from a place of healing and strength. but if you’re constantly replaying your past mistakes in your mind, bringing bad situations up every chance you get to remind people that you’re an overcomer or a warrior, you may want to reevaluate your purpose for replaying these past mistakes. are you trying to help someone or are you using these experiences as an excuse for why you haven’t progressed in your life? i get it. many of us don’t look like the things we’ve endured. but everyone doesn’t have to know all that you've gone through every single time. stop aimlessly rehearsing what you don’t have, who doesn’t talk to you anymore and the horrible things that have happened to you in the past. it’s a paralyzing space to be in and it stops you from moving forward in your life.
4). stop surrounding yourself with people who constantly remind you of your past mistakes.
show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. be careful of the company you keep. your character is defined by the people you hang around. birds of a feather flock together. if you can’t build with them, don’t chill with them. any of these sound familiar? well, they’re true! you are only as good as the company you keep. if you’re trying to work on being a better you, why would you surround yourself with people who get a kick out of reminding you of the person you once were? why are you entertaining conversations with people who use your past as leverage to make them feel better about themselves? it’s counterproductive and it keeps you bound. the person may be different for all of us. it could be a parent, spouse, sibling, friend, fraternity brother, sorority sister or anyone else for that matter. but understand this: you can’t expect to hang out with negative people and live a positive life. so if that means you gotta unfollow some people on social media and remove a couple of folks from your contacts list….so be it. anything or anyone that’s costs you your personal peace is too expensive.
3). let go of the victim mentality.
this was a hard one for me…but it was absolutely necessary. you gotta take responsibility for your own life, folks. now don’t get me wrong -- i’m not saying that the people who wronged you weren’t wrong (cause they probably were) and that the things you did weren’t messed up (cause they probably were) but i’m saying that you have to be honest with yourself and the role you played in your own outcomes. more often than not, we get so caught up in pointing the finger without realizing that four are pointing back at us. i talked to you earlier about the negative impact of revisiting bad moments in your life, but sometimes it can be good to revisit these moments if you’re looking back to see what you did wrong and where you could have done better, ya know? playing the victim role for your own life isn’t good for you, and it prevents you from taking responsibility and ownership over your life. but if it’s one thing I learned it’s this: mess doesn’t just appear in your life. at one point or another, you either created it, invited it or associated with it.
2). learn to forgive others who have wronged you.
you can’t forgive yourself if you don’t know how to (or refuse to) forgive others who may have done you wrong in your past. i know sometimes it can be really difficult to do because people can do a lot of hurtful things. but trust me when I tell you... forgiveness is absolutely necessary for you to move forward. it’s literally an attirubte that only the strong are able to do. when people choose to live with unforgiveness in their heart, it’s a sign of their own weakness. and even though you may no longer talk to those who you feel wronged you, you can still forgive them. you don’t have to call them, text them or make a status on social media about how you forgave them. it doesn’t necessarily have to be something you say, forgiveness is something that you do… in order to heal and move forward.
1). Stop comparing yourself to others.
speaking from experience, comparing yourself to others won’t do anything but stress you the heck out. we are all a work in progress; none of us have it all figured out, regardless of what we post on social media. once you start playing the comparison game, you replay all the bad things in your past that you think prevented you from having what everyone else appears to have. that’s a horrible way to live—thinking that you’ve messed up so much that you aren’t allowed to know happiness or have good things in life. i've got good news for you.....that’s not how life works. each day is a new opportunity for you to do something great, regardless of what you’ve done or what people have said about you. forgive yourself…for yourself.