How to forgive yourself for the past

It’s so easy to think of what you ‘could’ve’, ‘should’ve’, ‘would’ve’ done. 

“Oh I should’ve said hi to that person”, “Oh I should’ve known better”, “Oh if I knew they were going to be like this, I would’ve done things differently”. 

Or recently in my case: “Oh I could’ve taken up this opportunity, why didn’t I?”. 

Backstory: Saw an online leadership course which offered scholarships to uni students. For some reason, I didn’t look into it further and I completely forgot about it until yesterday, when I saw a person commenting about it in a discussion board. 

The onslaught began:

“Why didn’t you also apply?” “What a wasted opportunity…you could’ve put a reminder for it” “you should’ve taken more initiative”… among other heppi brain thoughts.


First, let’s look at Lily Tomlin’s quote I posted here:

“Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past”

LET IT GO. As much as you and I wish we could’ve done things differently, that was in the past. A better past cannot happen because that’s long gone. And the more we focus on it, the less time we’re giving to the present. 

I like the words ‘give up’. We usually associate it with something negative, but here it’s an exhale of relief. It gives us permission to let go, say “well fuck it, can’t change the past” and move on. 

We give up, and in turn, we forgive ourselves. 

Missed opportunities

Here are a few things that helped get rid of that regret and FOMO:

  • Think with an abundant mindset. When we get FOMO, that’s the scarcity mindset playing up. We think we don’t have any more opportunities, ie. that this is the one and only way to learn to be a better leader. (I’ve written more about it here and in this video)
  • Everything evens out in the end. It seems big in the moment, but over time you forget the regrets in the past that used to plague you. Or even if you have saiyan memory, it probably doesn’t mean much now. 
  • As ‘woo woo’ as it might sound, it helped me to think that we all do things for a reason. There was a reason why I didn’t choose this program at this time. With the information I have now, I’ll make better future decisions instead. (See more in my post “wrong decisions don’t exist”)

Hope this helps reframe things

See you next time!


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