Last week I talked about making difficult decisions and why we should not be afraid to make wrong decisions. Or, more so, that there are not really any wrong decisions because doors with possibilities never close permanently on us in life.
Decisions That Haunt Us
However, every now and then we get into situations and make decisions that we just can’t forget and keep thinking about. You could even say they haunt us. We question whether we reacted the right way and made the right choice. Over and over again. We begin going through scenarios in our head how our life could be different now if the situation had had a different outcome. What if we had taken that job opportunity two years ago and not been scared of moving for it? What if we had broken up with our ex-partner a lot earlier? What if we had been brave enough to have that difficult conversation with a friend?
Needless to say, we can’t change the past. No matter how often we go through scenarios in our head, we will end up just turning around in circles. It won’t help us move on. So what can we do to make peace in our head with these situations? How can we make them stop haunting us?
1. Accept Your Past
First of all, you need to accept the decisions you have made, the conversations you haven’t had, the opportunities you took or didn’t take. Of course, you may regret some of them or wish you had acted differently. But remember that you were also a different person back then. You didn’t know what you know today. Moreover, something in you made you make that choice back then. It was your decision to act this way. So for whatever reason, this is supposed to be part of your path.
2. Forgive Yourself
Stop beating yourself up about things you didn’t do or should have done differently. All this does is make you feel bad about yourself and put you in a mindset you don’t want to be in. So take the situations that haunt you, one by one, recall exactly what happened. And then tell yourself that it is okay that you acted or reacted this way. You are an amazing person who made a mistake. You didn’t know better. You have since grown as a person and next time you will make a different choice. After all, that is what life is about. We learn from our mistakes. Even if we sometimes only realise it retrospectively.
3. Focus On The Here And Now
Once you have accepted your past and forgiven yourself about certain situations, you are free to live in the here and now. Please note that this may take a while. Forgiving yourself can be quite a long process and is often easier said then done. But it will be worth it, because you will realise that this actually frees your mind immensely.
So often we catch ourselves thinking about situations that are long past that we don’t actually have time to think about today, about right now. Take a moment to embrace that you are alive, here, now. And that you can decide what to do with the day ahead of you.
4. Move On
Now that we are concentrating on the here and now, we want to move on with our lives embracing a positive mindset. Will we make decisions again that may haunt us later? Probably. But if we accept that we will keep making mistakes every now and then and if we are ready to forgive ourselves, we will be able to handle it. We won’t carry a huge invisible backpack with us filled with unresolved situations wearing us down, like many other people do.
Again, making peace with your past is a process and you will have to repeat these steps multiple times in your life. Nobody is perfect. But if you are not willing to accept your past and let it go, you will never be able to grow and learn from your mistakes.
So give it a go, start today, make peace with your past. You owe it to yourself.