When you reach a certain age you have had enough time in life to look back. Maybe you are over fifty or even as young as forty looking back at your twenties and thinking of the crazy and stupid things you did with regret. How could I have done, thought, endured, chosen, or dreamed that. As an Encinitas, California psychotherapist and hypnotherapist I see and have seen many clients of all ages. Of course we can do stupid things at any point in our lives. I have counseled sixty years olds who are still choosing to do things that hurt themselves and twenty-five year olds who are focused and courageous in their therapy. But the real questions are, “Have I learned anything from my mistakes?” and “Have I forgiven myself for the bad ones I have made in the past?”
Until we really face ourselves and our mistakes we are typically doomed to repeat them. Facing our mistakes is not easy. Most people tend to define themselves by their mistakes. “I did this and therefore there is something wrong with me.” The truth is that our mistakes not only do not define us or our worthiness. Our mistakes are our teachers. If we have the courage to look directly at our mistakes we can learn and grow. We can forgive ourselves and move on. Be kind to yourself. Look back and don’t blame yourself. Look back and see what you have learned or what you still need to learn. Then do what’s right and move forward.
Some years ago Janet came to me pretty much a self-hating wreck. As a result of having been molested as a child she had followed a self-destructive path of inappropriate and often illegal sexual behavior. By regressing back to her childhood and facing and healing the molestation abuses she was able to understand and forgive herself for her adult patterns of behavior. And she did move on. Years late I received a note from her thanking me for helping and compassionately accepting her. She had transformed herself into someone she truly liked and admired. I was so proud of her reading that note. Proud that she had the courage to look at her own self-destructive behavior, proud that she had the courage to make changes in her old patterns of behavior, and proud that she could forgive herself and move forward. I admire her and feel blessed that she came into my life for the relatively short time I helped her.
No matter what you think you have done in the past it isn’t too late to look, heal, and move forward. You are a beloved child of the universe. Your destiny is to experience being loved unconditionally and to love unconditionally. How could you not forgive yourself? How could you not find the courage to look at your past and grow from it without defining yourself by your mistakes? You have it within you to dot this. If you can’t find a way to forgive yourself right now consider this: you are already forgiven by something far beyond your understanding.