How to Forgive Yourself for Wasted Time
Today we're going to be talking about forgiveness and more specifically, one of the most important kinds of forgiveness. Forgiving yourself for past mistakes, wasted time, and maybe some old regrets you have. At the end we'll do an exercise to start this process of forgiving yourself. And also, I'm going to set you off with a challenge for this week.
"A well-adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous."
- Alexander Hamilton. "
One of the reasons why this is so important, it's not just because of self-love and self-compassion, which, don't get me wrong, are extraordinarily important. It's also for the sake of your productivity and for your goals, because when we get caught up in these negativity spirals, they hold us back.
We feel like if we hold onto this anger for what we did wrong, it will help us make better decisions in the future. Maybe you're mad at yourself for wasting time one day procrastinating or wasting time for years, just not going for what you knew deep down you really wanted. Either way, the longer you spend loathing that negativity is time taken away from what you can be doing right now for your future. And I know that it is so tempting. Deep down, we feel that if we hold onto that, it will be the fire that fuels us to change. But there is a fire that burns not only healthier, but it helps you move faster. And that fire is when you drop all of that old baggage holding you back. I promise you will move faster. I promise you move more streamlined and more focused towards what you actually want.
This is a personal post for me. For my first many years in New York, I wasted so much time, I wasn't making enough money, so I was really desperate to hold onto the clients that I had. I was scared to move a client to another time to go to a meeting for some career opportunities that I wanted because I was so scared of missing out on that income. I also felt stuck and scared to put myself out there for goals that mattered to me too. I would make big plans and consistently not follow through. I would work hard but never on what I was "supposed to be doing" spinning my wheels. I kept losing money, I was overeating to numb out and watching TV often as a way of checking out because I felt stuck. I dated people that were wrong for me. I scrolled on social watching OTHER people live the life I wanted to live. Sometimes, now that my life is more aligned with my values, I still wake up and feel bad about the time I was lost, some years it feels that were flushed down the toilet. But I also was learning and growing, I also was healing from past wounds in therapy at the time, there were also beautiful moments during those times where I met the people who are now my best friends. And I was becoming the person who now does feel empowered to go after those goals. Sometimes we need time to marinate. To be. To then later become.
And one solution is gratitude, and that is gratitude for your current opportunities, your current time, your current health, everything that you can leverage now with those lessons you learned from the past. I've noticed that gratitude is one of the solutions for self hate, for wasted time because you can just feel thankful for what you have in front of you now. I know it may take a lot of time. For me, it took quite a bit of time and journaling, and I want to talk about you now - and finish out with an exercise and then we'll do a challenge for this week to help with this.
Exercise: I want you to close your eyes or just get into a place where you can feel meditative, and I want you to really put yourself in the situation that you were in right before you were about to make a decision that you regret.
Knowing what you knew then, not what you know now, really bring yourself back there.
What were you feeling?
What were the surroundings like around you?
What were your thought patterns at the time?
What were other experiences that you were going through around this time?
What was happening the week before or few days before?
And imagine that you had learned none of the lessons that you learned between then and now. Would you have done the same thing? Would you have made the same decision?
I argue that you would have, because the only reason that you know better now is because you've learned since then, and this is what can really help us move on. You know, I got some of this from a Mark Manson article. I'm going to link it below. This is how you move on, is when you really start to understand your head space then and understand the thought processes behind that choice. Because then you can have some self-compassion that helps foster self-forgiveness, and then you can aim to move on, learn from it, and act now.
But we have to do some of that deeper work. We can't just say, okay, I'm gonna drop that. Sometimes it takes that self-exploration. This exercise doesn't have to just end now with that really quick little thought exercise, you can take some time and journal on it. I think that that's how you'll really understand the head space you were in then and begin to move on. I recommend reading that article by Mark too. Finally, here's a challenge I have for you this week. It's the ‘how quickly can you forgive yourself’ challenge. Every single time that you make a mistake, even if it's something small, and it doesn't even have to be a mistake. It could just be doing something that you feel wasn't ideal. Let's just say you said something silly in a text message that you wish you could take back. Or maybe you ate a little bit too far past, feeling full. Anything that you kind of wish you made another choice. I want you to experiment with: How quickly can you drop that? How quickly can you just say to yourself, you know what, okay, I did that fine, I'll learn and try and do something else next time. Or, what can you learn from that? How can you be curious about this?
How quickly can you move on is a huge determinant in how you're going to act now, and your future, as we've talked about throughout this video. So I hope this video helps. If you guys have thoughts, let me know what you think on either the challenge or the exercise or just anything I said in this post down below. And as usual here is the video version of the post below:
Mark Manson article mentioned in the video: https://markmanson.net/regret