Almost everybody has something in their past that shames them. I know I had plenty. So what can you do about it?
The first thing you have to do is come to grips with the facts. What has happened, has happened. You cannot change it, you cannot alter the facts. It is what it is. The tendency is to focus on our past mistakes. It seems we can’t get them out of our minds. Things happen that remind us of them. People mention them. We revile ourselves when we think about them. We are constantly concerned that people will learn about them and judge us harshly.
I know that I let my first divorce define me for years and it led to a miserable track record of domestic discord. It took me even more failed marriages and many years to get over it.
I was letting the judgment of others have an impact on what I thought of myself. When I first got divorced it was at a time where divorces were not as common as they are now. To make it worse I was raised in a Catholic family environment. By accepting the judgment of others I lost my own sense of worth.
It seemed to me that everybody thought less of me because I was divorced. That led to other destructive behavior. It did not matter to me that I was successful in my career, in fact way more successful than many of my peers, I felt liked damaged goods.
Is there something in your past that makes you feel that way? Now is the time to let that go. It is time to live in the present, live in this moment. Understand that you cannot undo the past and you cannot control the future.
How does this work? Look at your life. You are not the person of your past. You are the person of now. You have grown since you made those mistakes. You have left those errors behind. You have certainly paid the price in beating yourself up about them. Mark that bill as paid. Forgive yourself.
One of the best ways to regain your sense of confidence is to meet some new people. They do not know anything about your past unless you choose to tell them. Most people are too interested in themselves to do much investigation into you or your past.
They may eventually learn about your mistake but they will have already have a favorable impression of you based on who you are now. They will understand by your actions, words and deeds that you are no longer that person.
We have all heard the story of the ex-convict who goes on to be a successful business person. There are plenty of stories about recovering alcoholics and drug addicts who become counselors. Even people who have multiple divorces can go on to find real love and have a great marriage. I know, I am one of those people.
Find a group to join that is composed of total strangers. It cannot have one person in it that you know. This won’t work if there is anybody in the group who knows you. This has to be a complete break from your past.
You will find that this group of people accepts you for who you are. And the person that you are today is not the person who made those past mistakes. The person you are today is the person you want to be. You are a person of value now. And you will get the respect that you so deserve because your new friends will see you through fresh eyes.
This experience will feed your feelings of confidence in ways you cannot imagine. You will notice that people actually look at you differently. I don’t mean just in their opinion. You will notice it physically. You will actually be able to observe it in their body language. People will greet you differently. They will be appropriately deferential. They will want to be your friend and want to proudly introduce you to their friends.
Before you know it, a feeling of confidence will flood back into your life and you will start reaching your full potential. People will treat you differently than those in your past. That will cause you to begin to feel differently about yourself. It will happen slowly at first. It may take a little time for you to really accept that this is happening. But it will be happening.
Coming out of the past is difficult but it can be done. I have done it. I have helped countless others do it. So I know you can do it.