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Lesson 15: Don’t Judge Your Past Self Based on What You Know Now

Memories of that night used to haunt me. How did I let that happen? That’s not who I am. Why didn’t I react differently? I did not represent myself well there. What should I have done to fix the situation? I hurt the feelings of people I truly cared about.

Those thoughts would run through my mind constantly. I would shut them down by trying to think of something else at first. Then I started to tell myself that it wasn’t that big of a deal. Neither of those healed the hurt and pain from the memory that seemed etched in my brain.

Then one day I read something that stated, “You cannot judge your past self based on what you know now!” That changed the game for me. For far too long I looked back on past experiences in my life with regret and judgement. I was my own personal “Monday Morning Quarterback.” I told myself what I “should” have done and looked upon past actions with disgust. This was not helpful at all. It only left me with self-criticism and afraid of making the same mistakes again.

The truth is that I cannot change what happened in the past. I had to realize that the person I am now is because of all of the experiences I have gone through. I had to forgive myself for not knowing better. I could not have made the “better” decision in the past, because I did not know to make it. Any decision I made in the past was based what I knew right at that exact moment.

What I can do though is stay in the present and decide to not make the same mistakes again. I can process my experiences and understand the lesson I was given. I can apply the new learning to future experiences. I can give myself grace knowing that I am not perfect, and growth is the goal, not perfection. So now when the memories arise of the times that I missed the mark, I remind myself that I am evolving and that I cannot change the past, but I can make a conscious effort to improve in the future.

What lesson(s) have you learned from past experiences that you are implementing now? Let me know in the comments!

Love y’all!

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