Moving Ever Forward: You are Not a Prisoner of Your Past

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We all make mistakes, it is in our nature as human beings. Some mistakes may be worse than others and they may be due to bad habits, the wrong mindsets or wounds inflicted upon us during childhood.

Whatever the reason, we are not prisoners of our past and we are not captives of our mistakes. If you have a failed in some area of life, it is not over for you. Do not listen to what others say for they are only speaking out their own realities and false mindsets.

There is always room for redemption.  The failures you experience do not define you and they signify the beginning of a grand journey of personal and spiritual growth and development.

When you realize this, your outlook on life will slowly but surely improve and your life, in general, will eventually change as a result.

By having an improved outlook from learning the lessons of your failures rather than focusing on the failures themselves you will act based on the new knowledge you have acquired.

This action and only this action will be the reason for future success due to learning from previous mistakes.

How to Apply This in Real Life:

Did you have a relationship or marriage fail? Figure out the reason and analyze it as objectively as you can to see if you had any part in why that relationship did not work out. Talk with close and trusted friends and relatives to see if they can give ideas on how you could have handled things differently. Chances are there is something you can learn from that experience that you can apply later in a future relationship or marriage.

Did you get fired from a job you loved? See if your former employer would be willing to give you some advice on how to move forward and speak with a close and trusted friend about what happened.

Perhaps these people can point you in a direction that can guide you to not repeat the mistakes or mindsets you had in the previous job.

Not only that, but the lessons learned from this could one day take you to new heights in your career that you never knew you could reach before.

Also, to learn from your mistakes you can journal the events of your day each night before you go to bed.  This will help you to sit back and personally reflect on why something happened the way it did.  It is also a great way to decompress and process the things that are going on in your life.

Journaling can also help you keep a record of what you did each day, how your felt and why.  This will help you track the progress in your self-development journey and help you stay motivated as you reflect and notice your progress.  It can also help you to tweak things a bit if you’re not seeing progress in an area of life you’d like to see it.

You can also change your future for the better by getting rid of the toxic people in your life who brought you down to rock bottom in the first place.

For example, if you are a recovering alcoholic you need to make the decision to surround yourself with sober people and those who will encourage you in your journey to recovery.  That way you can have help in holding yourself accountable and have a higher likelihood of recovering successfully.

However, you are ultimately the one responsible for your success in recovery or any other aspect of self-improvement. Surrounding yourself with good people is helpful but it ultimately depends on you to make a consistent effort towards improvement and empowerment.

To put it simply, learning from your mistakes and not being a prisoner of your past really boils down to honing up to the parts of the situation that were in your control. If you take 100% responsibility for your life, you will avoid repeating the same mistakes again and again which many people do.

This will require some vulnerability on your part.  It is scary to admit fault in things and you may default to the option of blaming everyone and everything around you as a safe choice.

The reality of this is though is that nothing could be more dangerous to you or your personal development. When you play the blame game, you completely miss the lesson that God and the failure itself are trying to show you.  You then go on and repeat the same mistakes as before with the same or worse results happening to you.

Where to Go From Learning From Your Mistakes

What is just as important as learning from your mistakes is forgiveness.  If you have wronged someone and if you have been responsible for pain in someone else’s life it is important to sincerely ask for forgiveness.

This person may or may not forgive you and if they don’t then move on, you can’t control someone else’s behavior.  The important part of this is that you were sincerely sorry and expressed this to the wronged person.

Another part of this is forgiving yourself.  So many people are guilty of beating themselves up so much over a mistake that they cannot escape the shame of it.  This is a problem because with too much shame comes a lack of learning from the mistake itself.

I have experienced this first hand.  While I was in college, I was in the process of learning a lot about the basic norms of how people socialize.  I was also learning how to be an athletic trainer. In the process of working on these two areas of my life, I made many mistakes.

I said awkward or inappropriate things, I botched rehabilitation programs for athletes and there were times when someone would ask me something and I just did not know the answer to it.  There were also exams that I would fail.

Instead of reflecting and looking back at what I could have done better I just wallowed in shame.  I was too hard on myself and never forgave myself. So, I never learned anything from it because I did not allow myself to experience the healing that comes with self-forgiveness. I would just dwell on the problem instead.

Eventually, I realized that my lack of self-confidence was the reason for why I was so hard on myself and so I started working on that. Over time, I began learning from all the mistakes I had made and I improved overall as a person.

So, to learn from your mistakes you need to be firm with yourself and take responsibility for your part in the problem, but also forgive yourself. Do not allow yourself to pity party and you will see your self-confidence improve and you will start learning from your mistakes in earnest. That is the key to escaping your past and becoming the person that God intended you to be.

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