Yes, we do. All of us. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of. But most of us move on from them, learn from them, and don’t repeat them.
We don’t talk about those things, and we certainly hope no one else does either. Many times very few people even know about them. They may have happened at a time in our life many years ago, and either no one ever knew about them, or the people that did know, and may have been affected by them, aren’t in our lives any more.
It may be something others did to us, something we’ve had a really tough time putting behind us. We may have kept it secret, or have shared it with friends. But it still happened.
Or it may be something we did, bad decisions we made, things we’re really embarrassed over that we hope no one ever finds out about.
Most of us go on with our lives, build careers, raise families, and are happy with who we are. We have friends who love us and respect us. We put our past behind us and don’t repeat the mistakes, and don’t keep pulling it out and reminding ourselves about those awful things we did at another time. We’ve forgiven ourselves, and we’ve been forgiven.
But there are many others who cannot do that. They continue to dwell on past mistakes, past errors, past indiscretions. They cannot forget the things they did wrong, usually many years ago. They blame these past mistakes on perceived failures in their current lives, and feel like they’re getting what they deserve. They have no self-confidence because they’re too busy telling themselves how bad, how undeserving they are.
Or they continue to look back on the things that happened to them, the wrongs that were done to them, the people who treated them wrong, and instead of placing the blame on the ones who hurt them, find a way to blame themselves for others treating them that way.
Really? Why? Not everything bad that happens in your life is your fault!
Misplaced guilt is a prison you put yourself in. There’s no parole; it’s a life sentence. There are visiting hours, but the visitors go home, back to their own lives while you continue living in the prison of despair you’ve created for yourself.
The only way out is escape! And escape isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
It requires planning. It requires help from those who aren’t in that prison. And it requires confidence.
Because if you don’t have the confidence to think you can escape, chances are no matter how hard you think you’re trying, you won’t succeed. Because you just won’t let yourself break loose from the chain that keeps you tethered to your past.
It’s sort of a misplaced safety net. You know the past all too well, but the future is an unknown. And you’re not sure you can deal with it.
But if you don’t move on, move forward, the past will start to repeat itself, and then where will you be except back in the same place you were years ago. And that’s not what you want.
Keep in mind that you’re probably the only one who really cares about what mistakes you made in the past.
And you don’t have to tell everyone you meet your entire life story. At least not right away. And unless it’s something so bad they can find out about it in a police report, what does it matter?
You weren’t the same person then as you are now. They probably have things in their past they don’t want anyone to know either.
We all have a past. We’ve learned from it. It’s time to let it go and move on with your life.