In order to recover from a troubled past, it’s important to first forgive yourself. The mistakes of your youth or even adulthood are gone and can only hinder forward life momentum if you allow them to. In other words, beating yourself up for your past will keep you reliving the pain. Furthermore, it could even lead to making similar mistakes, as you may not believe you deserve happiness and success.
There are some things you can do to actively work through guilt and shame. I didn’t say this would be easy, but taking any positive steps will help you to see how valuable you are. Before you do anything, I recommend writing down where you want to be in your life. This helps you to stay on course and make adjustments as needed.
Recover From a Troubled Past #1: Own up to Your Actions
A good place to start is to own up to your actions by taking responsibility. This means telling yourself the truth as well as anyone involved. Furthermore, if you have committed a crime or hurt someone, do what you can to make restitution for it.
For example, someone accused of assault, theft or conspiracy to sell drugs might be tempted to lie to escape charges. However, this type of lie and avoidance ultimately eats away at your character and future. Though there is nothing wrong with defending yourself, do be honest and show remorse for your mistakes.
Recover From a Troubled Past #2: Embrace New Habits
The best way I know how to redeem yourself from past mistakes and choices is to get new healthy habits. A good example of this would be pursuing physical health if you’ve been abusing yourself with drugs or alcohol. Joining a gym or yoga class might be a perfect way to move away from poor health. Other options include finding a hobby, building relationships with people who are positive influences and learning new skills. Living a healthful lifestyle, in general, is a great way to build confidence in yourself no matter what your past looks like.
Recover From a Troubled Past #3: Focus on the Present
Continually thinking about the past can be devastating to mood, confidence, and even relationships. Again, there is nothing we can do to change what has been done, said, or chosen. Instead, it’s serving to focus on the present as much as you can. This is true for anyone, whether there is a troubled past or not.
Practicing meditation, mental clarity, and communication skills are all techniques for being present. I find it useful to stop what I’m doing often to check where my thoughts are. If I need to think about something in the past, I try to put a time limit on it. This is especially helpful for times of grief or emotional trauma. Sometimes we must think about the past or future in order to process something. In this case, work through whatever it is and move on when you can.
Recover From A Troubled Past #4: Join a Support Group
The road to recovery from the past doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Believe it or not, there are others out there who may have experienced what you have. Joining a support group might help you to understand some things about yourself and your decisions. The encouragement aspects of a support group are also extremely helpful for creating a new life beyond a troubled past. You may also make new positive friends who understand you.