We all have a part of our past that we’re not proud of. We’ve all made some awful mistakes. Perhaps it was a bad friendship we kept, a nasty habit we put up with for years, or an attitude we had towards people.
Our pasts can be very overwhelming and discouraging. There’s always that voice in our heads that constantly remind us of who we were and the stupid things we did.
Our pasts can also hold us back from basking in the present moments and looking forward to the greater things ahead, but one thing is certain; our past does not define us.
Sometimes, I really don’t understand why we regret and dwell in our pasts. There are people who literally spend every dying minute wishing they didn’t do or say something. They keep dwelling in the abyss of depression because they’re worried at the fact that actions of the past can never turn out differently.
The question is, “what can you do about it?” The answer is nothing.
There is no power that can possibly take you back in time to make amends or fix the things that happened months, years or even seconds ago.
The fact that there’s no such thing as a time machine should prompt every one of us to stop dwelling in the past. As sad as it sounds, you can never, ever go back in time to take any words back or alter any of your actions. You never change who you were or what you did before, so why bother?
Time goes forward, and so should we. Looking back and regretting only distracts us from the things that are actually important.
“I wish I didn’t”, “if only I could”, “why didn’t I do this?” are sentences that only promote remorse in our lives. You have to understand that you can never, and I mean never, make amends to your past, that is how it is and that is how it is always going to be. There is absolutely no going back. You just have to let go.
Let that marinate.
Now, after accepting how irreversible time is, the next and only thing to do is focus on what’s coming. Let go. Move forward. Don’t look back; look ahead.
What will it profit you to regret the things of the past? Nothing. But there is definitely profit in working towards a better and happier future for yourself.
Although this can be difficult, there are some key points to remember to help make the journey easier.
- Don’t punish yourself because of your past –
Just because you did a bunch of stupid things in the past does not mean you should lock yourself up at home and rot in there. You are human, and human beings were created to make mistakes.
Nobody is exempt from doing things that are stupid and regrettable. It’s all part of life.
Having a bad past isn’t an avenue for you to chastise or hate yourself. While you’re in your “healing or recovery” mode, love yourself. You are not perfect and you’re bound to make countless mistakes in life.
People will judge and condemn you for what you have done, but remember that everyone is a sinner and no man is better than the other. Ignore the critics and stop punishing yourself. Your shortcomings are all part of being human.
- Learn from your past
All the wishing in the world will never take you back to the day you did something you regret.
Nothing good comes out of wishing, but everything good comes out of learning.
Teach yourself a lesson. Be open to learning from your mistakes. It brings about a wiser, more cautious and more aware you. Understand and accept every wrongdoing of yours and learn as many valuable lessons from each and every one of them as possible.
- Enjoy the present, focus on the future
We are bound to miss out on the best times because we are too busy trying to fix the impossible. Stop obsessing over the past, it is gone and it can never come back.
Looking back at it will only result in you building up more anger and regret.
Enjoy the present and make the most of every special opportunity that has been given to you right now. Remember, this present moment will be classified as ‘the past’ by tomorrow, so don’t end up wishing you did something meaningful with it.
Try to focus on your future too.
It’s okay to make mistakes, but it’s not okay to make that same mistake 100 times over. There are things we may have done in the past that would be too foolish to repeat in the future.
In order to stop “wishing you didn’t….”, you must carefully plan out the kind of person you’d want to be in the coming years.
Who were you before? Who do you want to be from now on? What did you do in the past? What can you do differently in the future? These are questions you should ask yourself in your quest to become a better and much wiser person. Never stress over what has already happened, you are only wasting time. After all the wishing, regretting and complaining, nothing is going to change.
The only point of a horrible past is to guide you into living a better and more responsible future.
The first recipe for happiness is: avoid too lengthy meditation on the past.
~ Andre Maurois