In the first part of the Believing in Yourself series, one of the first steps to building confidence I mentioned is letting go of past mistakes. It’s always hardest for us to forgive ourselves for things that have gone wrong, and this only serves to keep us stuck, unable to move forward and become the confident, successful person we are meant to be.
It doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re ready to move forward (and I know you are because you’re here reading this), you can try these simple strategies to deal with the past and finally move on to being who you are meant to be.
Be honest with yourself.
Many times, the reason we can’t let go of a past mistake is because we don’t want to be honest with ourselves about what really went wrong.
Instead of trying to stuff it into the back of your mind, allow yourself to spend some time reflecting on the mistake. Some things to consider are:
- How did you feel about the circumstances that led to the incident, and how do you feel about them now?
- How did your mistake affect others, physically and/or emotionally?
- Who do you need to talk to; get opinions from; or ask forgiveness from in order to release your feelings around the event?
[tbpquotable]Being honest with yourself and admitting where you went wrong is the first step to releasing feelings of pain, guilt, or shame that are keeping you stuck.[/tbpquotable]
This is one of the hardest things to do, but it needs to be done in order to remove past mistakes as obstacles to your future confident self.
You can start here by reflecting on what you could have done differently. Then create a plan that will help you act differently if you ever encounter the same situation again.
Another part of forgiving yourself is realizing that you are not the same person you were then. This is especially true if you’ve been carrying the burden of a past mistake around with you for a while. If you answered the questions in the first part of this post, you should be able to see just how different you are now from your past self.
Even if it’s been awhile, consider apologizing to the others affected by your mistakes and asking for forgiveness. You don’t know what kind of feelings they’ve been carrying around, so this step can be healing for you both. In seeking to let of past mistakes, you may be helping someone else let go of past hurts that are keeping them stuck too.
If too much time has passed and you can’t make amends directly, you can make indirect amends through acts of restitution and kindness, and other good deeds. Taking concrete actions will cement in your mind that you’ve changed and moved on, and also show others that you regret whatever hurts your mistakes caused.
[tbpquotable]By hanging on to past mistakes, we allow ourselves to stay stuck in the past.[/tbpquotable]
Above all, remember that everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes the feelings of pain and grief that you carry around as a result can be more damaging that the consequences of the original mistake. By owning up to them, and asking for forgiveness from people you’ve hurt, you allow yourself to let go and take another step forward toward the confident person you are meant to be.
The Believing in Yourself workbook includes writing prompts you can use to work through some of the issues this post addresses. Grab your copy by tapping on the button below: