Healthy relationships require healthy people; if you are unsure of whether you can forgive yourself for something, how can you expect to develop trust that others will do the same? By focusing on a few key areas, you can begin to make peace with your past.
Do you have something that follows you around? I'm not talking about a dog or a toddler. No, I'm referring to the thing that you did recently or a long time ago that you just can't seem to let go. It's in your mind all the time - though sometimes it demands more attention than other times. And no matter what you do, you just can't shake it.
This situation can come about as a result of mistakes or wrongdoings. Mistakes that result in bad consequences can include anything from deciding to go for a run at night and being mugged as a result of it. You didn't intend to do anything to put yourself in harm's way; you just had a lapse in judgment at the exact wrong time. Wrongdoings involve things that you know are wrong, but you do them anyway. This could be something like stealing, hurting someone, or staying in an abusive relationship. While the psychology behind each of these may be complicated, the effects that they have on your future relationships are as real as the initial trigger.
Though we often say things reminiscent of "that's in the past" or "I'm over that," it's much more difficult to apply these in our lives. We are a product of our decisions and our experiences. With everything that we do, we are setting our life on a specific path. When you make relationships with new people, you are taking two paths and letting them merge for a while. If you are feeling guilty or ashamed of your past, you only bring a portion of yourself to the relationship. While these feelings may never go away entirely, there are ways to make peace with your past and mitigate the negative affect that it has.
One of the most important things that you can do is to take responsibility for your role in the event. If you are trying to deal with a mistake, then please skip this section. If somebody attacks you, it is their fault, not your own. However, if you are trying to come to terms with something that you did that was wrong, you need to be able to say that it was your fault. Everybody has done something to intentionally hurt someone else at some time or another. The severity of these instances differ, but there are negative consequences regardless. By taking responsibility for your actions, you can deal with the real issue instead of peripheral issues.
Another key for making peace with your past is knowing the difference between forgetting an event and accepting it as part of your story. Though ignoring something sounds like a good fix, this behavior actually multiplies the pain that you will experience. By understanding and accepting what happened, you will be better able to deal with the effects on your life.
By integrating your actions into your life story, taking responsibility for them, and getting professional help when needed, you can finally come to peace with your past.
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