We as humans love to torture ourselves.
We hold tightly to feelings of anger and resentment, fighting ourselves to let go of our grudges. We replay the moments that we regret the most over and over in our minds, trying to pinpoint exactly what went wrong and what we could have done differently. We allow feelings of shame and guilt and remorse to creep into our minds and consume our thoughts. We as humans can be our own worst enemies.
I can attest that the human mind likes to beat itself up over the things that it cannot change. Whether it happened just a few days ago or a few years ago, there are some moments from our past that continue to haunt us and threaten to hold us back. Personally, I am guilty of focusing on the time that I feel as though I “wasted” during my younger teen years. From the time that I spent worrying about petty arguments with friends to the time I spent fretting over my own appearance, all of these moments could have been used more wisely or more productively.
In the past, I liked to imagine what would happen if I could gather up all of those little wasted moments and piece them all together. Imagine all the more time I would have had to focus on my passions and all the things I loved. Imagine how much more I could have accomplished.
But over time, I began to realize that viewing those past moments of self-doubt or insecurity as “wasted time” was purely detrimental. Each of those moments served to teach me an important lesson about myself, lessons that would positively affect me in the future.
The first time someone insulted my appearance, I was hurt and I let their words get to me. I allowed for my own insecurities to dictate my self-image. But after a while, I grew tired of focusing so much on what other people had said about me. It was much too draining to worry about how I looked and if other people approved of my appearance. I threw away all of my concerns regarding these superficialities and channeled my energy into art and dance.
Until a few years ago, I viewed this whole experience with insecurity as a moment of weakness. I was ashamed that I had ever allowed myself to think in such a way. I was upset with my younger self for falling prey to society’s obsession with unattainable perfection. But one day, I had a realization. I finally recognized that my moment of “weakness” had shown me what is truly important in life. I had learned that it is possible to overcome society’s standards and to be confident in yourself. I had made a conscious decision to be happy.
With this realization came a waterfall of self-forgiveness. I was able to look back at all of my “weak” moments and see the good that had come from those experiences. I was finally able to see how these moments had shaped and molded me into the strong and self-assured person that I am today.
The person I am now is exactly the type of person my younger self needed. The person I am now is confident and proud of who she is. I don’t fear other people’s opinions and I certainly don’t fear my own opinions. I own my mistakes and understand that every mistake makes me a stronger person.
Nowadays, I try not to view any aspect of my life as a regret. Instead, I try to focus on how far I have come and to embrace every lesson that I have learned along the way. I try to be self-forgiving.
We as humans are inherently imperfect beings. It’s about time we forgave ourselves for all of our little imperfections.