Self forgiveness has always been the foundation of compassion. Without it, there is no true happiness. A lot of us won't let go of our past mistakes and regrets because we fear that by letting go of the grudge and anger, we may become vulnerable, and fall back to the same situations again.
If you believe you can't forgive yourself because of this reason, I want to let you know that your concern is totally legitimate. Without a proper structure, it is possible that we may relapse into the same situations. The anger, hurt, grudge and defensiveness do serve a purpose, and that is to remind us not to make the same mistakes again. This mentality of not letting go has its biological roots, evolution favors animals that are able to learn how to avoid dangers, animals that can adapt to change tend to survive better.
Let me acknowledge that any kind of forgiveness is not easy, and that includes self forgiveness, this is especially the case if our past mistakes are still haunting us today. For example, it could be difficult to forgive ourselves for our reckless spending habit if our outrageous behaviors resulted in debts. If our mistakes are not readily undoable, such as participating in porn and regretting it, we may be trapped in this sea of negative emotions that made us feel worthless, despair and angry. When we are still suffering from the consequences from our past mistakes, we are least likely to forgive ourselves. But be reminded that we need to move on at some point. There is no benefit for ourselves, or for people around us, if we stay stuck in this hole forever. Take all the time you need to heal and bring closures to these upsetting events, and at the same time, take actions everyday to use these mistakes as a catalyst for an extraordinary life.
We need to create a plan, a roadmap that helps us get unstuck and reminds us we no longer need the same old dramas,
- What lessons did I learn from this mistake?
- What can I do today to control the damage this mistake has created?
- What can I do to turn this mistake into something positive? Can I educate others about the pitfalls of certain behaviors? Are there any new opportunities created as a result of my previous mistakes?
- What behaviors do I engage in that are likely to land myself in the same sticky situation?
- Do I need to stay away from certain situations and problems?
Know that you don't need the perfect answers to all of these questions. It is perfectly healthy that you find more questions than answers as you try to make sense of the situation. There are thousands of books on self help, self forgiveness and emotions, read them. Make sure you take advantage of your local libraries and bookstores. As you learn to identify the behaviors that are holding you down, and avoid future missteps, you will be more ready to forgive youself and start living again.