How to Not Repeat Past Mistakes
We all know the pain of having made mistakes. We can be quite good at looking backwards and trying to determine where we went wrong. But it’s less common to be able to avoid making those same mistakes again in the future.
Why? Few of us have been taught the steps necessary to moving forward. So we stay stuck, continuing to suffer the consequences of past mistakes. As a result, we all too often find ourselves in the same boat all over again.
Take Virginia for example:
Virginia was a talented artist. Her work was featured at many famous galleries, and the fame and income she obtained as a result was a surprise even to her. Virginia was married to the love of her life.
All seemed perfect, until one day she discovered that her husband and her manager were stealing money from her. She also found out that her husband had actively been involved in an extramarital affair for seven years.
“How could I have missed this?” she asked. Virginia spent the next several years working through the divorce proceedings and came to a place of forgiveness for these men. Her life was finally at peace. Or so she thought.
Virginia began to date again and started to realize that she was making some of the same mistakes with these new men as she had with her ex-husband and former manager. Virginia quickly put the brakes on dating. She resigned herself to the fact that all men were the same and she would just have to have female friends.
Sadly this didn’t have to be the case for Virginia, and it doesn’t have to be the case for you.
What prevents you from moving out of one bad situation and into another is healing. To move forward in life with confidence you must take these three steps:
Step 1: Forgive others for their offenses. This step is not easy, but it is critical. Joyce Meyer puts it so well when she says that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. When we don’t forgive, we hold on to everything associated with the offense. Not only the action, but the toxic effects—the hurt, the anger, resentment, bitterness, disgust, vengeance. All of it gets stored in YOU. And only YOU are the one who suffers the effects of it. Let it go. Forgiveness is not letting the other person off the hook; it’s letting you off the hook from having to carry it further.
Step 2: Forgive yourself. This is one of the biggest areas of struggle. It can be very difficult to let yourself off the hook. You may even think that continuing to blame yourself is a badge of honor. Many people are more comfortable with beating themselves up. We are almost always harder on ourselves than others. I should have known better. How could I not see? Why did I let that happen? These are all common phrases of those who are holding on to unforgiveness for themselves. It’s time to let yourself off the hook. We all make foolish mistakes in life. We have all been in a position where someone got one over on us. Instead taking the victim position, let this one go and move on the next step.
Step 3: Work through the why. This is the personal inventory stage. Hindsight is 20/20 but until you understand WHY you made the choices you did, you are likely to repeat them. Understanding how you are, what triggers you, what your needs are and what trips you up is critical to being able to move forward in future relationships.
If you have read this far, there is likely some past mistake that you haven’t been able to fully move past. While educating yourself about why that may be is commendable and can lead to greater insight, it can be difficult to be able to see the situation, your role and your reactions on your own. It is difficult to be honest with yourself—we have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves or too easy when the going gets tough.
If you would like the objective, knowledgeable and loving guidance of a professional, email me at kris@ krisreece.com and say “Let’s talk.”—claim your complimentary 15 min consultation today and let’s see what there is to see.