Forgive yourself for the months or years wasted on someone who wasn’t worth even a second of your time. Don’t waste more of your time by punishing yourself. Absorb the lesson and move on. We all make mistakes.
Forgiveness will always begin and end with you. But it’s only human nature to be our own harshest critics, which is why we are often the last people to forgive or forget our own mistakes. There are times when I think about something thoughtless, and probably inconsequential, that I did as far back as the third grade and I still cringe; it can be difficult to cut yourself some slack. However, in order to truly heal, self-forgiveness is absolutely necessary. Oftentimes, when we are in the midst of psychological self-flagellation, we convince ourselves that we deserve the masochistic torture of replaying events and re-living the negative emotions over and over again. But when we do this, we not only delay healing, we increase the likelihood of making those very same mistakes again, specifically because we won’t let ourselves get any emotional distance from it.
Imagine being involved in a car wreck, and rather than getting help, you stayed at that intersection, replaying the events and running through the list of all the ways that you could have prevented it or seen it coming. Even if you were the cause of the accident, nothing done after the fact can undo what was done, and life (as well as traffic) will go on after it’s occurred. All you can do is be more aware and responsible in the future. You cannot and should not be expected to anticipate how others will treat you, either. Even if you are to blame for a falling out or burnt bridge with another person, you can only do better moving forward. This requires acknowledging what you may have done wrong, permitted, or ignored, as well as the mistakes of the other party. Once that’s done, you can continue to grow. We should never sweep our mistakes under the rug, but we cannot wallow in them, either.