“Some of the best lessons that you learned came wrapped in sandpaper” -Lisa Nichols

If I had been full time instead of part time in school, I could have graduated about two years earlier. I would probably be living on my own right now, if I would have just educated myself on personal finance. Maybe I’d even have a car. And that guy… The one that made my heart flutter and inspired me to write again; I should have moved to his city. We’d probably be together- engaged even. What if I would’ve quit my old job earlier than I did? What if…

I could go on like that all day if you’d let me… Or if I did not have progress to make. Many people I know probably could too. They probably do. And I hope they are reading what I am about to write: Please stop doing that! Please stop regretting the leaps you did or did not take. Please stop feeling guilty for what you did, or said, or thought at one time or another. Please quit blaming yourself for where you are or are not in life. Take accountability yes, but please stop beating yourself up. Forgive, forgive, forgive yourself!  I know it is easier said than done, but it is vital that you flip the switch on how you process your past, if you’d like to make accomplishments in the future.

The first reason is because you are human. As human beings we work with what we have and this often times determines our next step. We have to pay bills; so we stay at a job that’s not so rewarding but provides a steady paycheck. We keep a job with consistent pay so we can live; so we lighten our course load at school so we don’t burn out (and because school is not cheap). This is what we do. We find a way to make a way. And then we get through. Acknowledge the fact that at the time, that thing you did – whatever it was, was the right choice for you given what you had to work with. And this brings me to my next point.

The second reason you should stop dwelling on past “mistakes” is because you were not who you are right now. The mindset you have, your rationale and your wants and needs are not the same as they were 5 years ago, 6 months ago- or even yesterday in some cases. You are not the same. You have been through things since then, you have learned lessons from your actions, both good and bad. So now what seems like the worst mistake ever was once the best decision you could have made, but because now you’ve seen the outcome, your opinion has changed. Right now, you are like a defeated general looking over a map and pin pointing everywhere your soldiers should have went or every move they should have made, because the war is over. And like the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. Now let me give you one more thing to look at.

You only know where you “went wrong” because you have since learned from your experiences. I can confidently say that at least 75% percent of your biggest regrets taught you one thing or another about life, money, love, family and last but not least, yourself. Take a few moments to think about some of your regrets. Now think about how you now maneuver in life because of the lessons you were taught. Some were hard lessons, I don’t doubt it. But hard lessons or not; it happened, you cannot change it, so why not make some lemonade?

Sitting in the past not only keeps you from prospering in your future, it makes you neglect your present. Who are you now? What good are you doing now? And why would you ever let yesterday, keep you from today? Or tomorrow? You are worth more than your mistakes. You are not the sum of your failures or accomplishments, but the sum of the lessons you learned from both.

Carlie Shrouder

Carlie Shrouder

Carlie Schrouder, poet and recent graduate in Human Relations, enjoys writing about and exploring the transition into "adulting" in the areas of love, life and career. Her goal is to turn negatives to positives. She believes in not just working with the hand she is dealt - but creating her own deck.
Carlie Shrouder

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