It’s time to forgive yourself for the things that you did when you did not know better, for the choices you made when you did not realize there were any other options, for the person you were when you did not yet know who to be.
There is no path that is seamless in this life, no course that does not come without turns and the occasional dead end.
There is nothing to be gained by punishing yourself for the person you used to be.
There is no wisdom, no knowledge, no goodness, and no betterment that can come from this kind of mindset.
You are not making up for what you didn’t do well enough by bullying yourself about it now. You are not proving that you have grown so much that you are disgusted by the person you used to be. You are not an exemplification of how good you are at this very moment.
All you are doing is proving that you have not yet fully learned what you need to know.
Because when we have truly grown and when have truly become better, we do not look back on who we used to be with humiliation. We understand that version of ourselves did the best they could with what they have and for that, we should be grateful.
We understand that version of ourselves was not the finished product, but a person acting on the beliefs they had before they knew how to question them, the feelings they had to before they knew how to manage them, and the people they became before they knew how to take a step back and ask if that’s who they really wanted to be.
Your younger self is not the unfinished, inferior version of you. They are the hero of your life. The vision of your future, of all that you had yet to become, was resting within them. They are the ones who brought you here now.
The truth is that when we hold onto resentment that we didn’t know better then, there’s still a part of us that fears we might not know better now.
It’s possible to move on.
We do this by understanding our motives, our responses, and our reactions. When we see where we were coming from at the time, we grow confident that we won’t repeat those mistakes, because we’ll be able to identify them before we’re back on autopilot.
We don’t do better because we have to psychologically bully ourselves into doing better, we do better because we genuinely have become the kinds of people who naturally behave differently.
There is not one single person alive who does not have a past version of themselves they look back on and dislike, and if there is, it would mean that they haven’t grown at all in their lives. If you don’t ever feel this way, it’s probably because you haven’t actually become who you need to be.
But once you’re there, it’s time to let go of the last anchor, and that’s the resentment you feel for not having arrived more quickly.
The time you took was the time you needed.
The person you were was the person you were meant to be.
The life you had was the life you experienced.
There is no changing any of it now, and holding onto the grief and shame of it is not helping you in any way move forward, it’s keeping you tethered out of fear.
Let go with the knowing that you couldn’t have changed the past if you had known better, because you didn’t. Because life had not yet given you the experience to learn. Because nobody knows everything and everyone is constantly growing and if we arrived already completed then there would be no point to life.
It’s time to forgive yourself for the person you were when you were trying to get by.
That is not the part of you to hide, that is the part of you to honor because that is the person who — at any cost necessary — got you to the other side.