There is a past version of you, that is so proud of how far you've come!
I used to beat myself up about past mistakes in my life, heck, sometimes I still do! But it is when those thoughts arrive, I remind myself of how far i've come. I also take that time out to acknowledge the fact that those things really did happen, and that the person I was then, is not the person I am today. Sometimes when we are young, we make some silly decisions; we settle for less, we degrade ourselves, we cherish others more than we should, we abuse our bodies, etc. At the time, we do not understand that some of those decisions have lasting effects or consequences. The crazy thing, is that in those moments, we may have actually felt like our decisions made sense! lol! Believe me, i've cringed at the thought of some of the things i've done in the days of my youth, even into my adulthood. Just some dumb ass shit! lol! But what's important, is that I've learned to forgive myself. I don't dwell on the past anymore.......I think differently now, I live differently, I have matured significantly, and I know, and understand my worth. The things that I thought were so important and pressing then, were so petty, now that I think about it. But the knowledge or maturity just wasn't there at the time, and I understand that. So how could I have made better decisions back then? I didn't have anyone I thought I could turn to, that would give sound advice, whatever that was. I was forced to grow up really fast and certain responsibilities we placed on me at a very young age. I just never felt like I fully had the opportunity to enjoy my youth. So when the time came, I made what I thought were grown up decisions, lol! Silly girl! But I can laugh at myself today, because I really didn't know better, and even when I did know better, I gave myself the opportunity to just live in those moments. I am thankful for those experiences, because now, when I see a young female going down the same path, I now have those memories/experiences that I can use to relate and advise her to do better than I did. Now, instead of scorning, I can understand why s/he may be making decisions that are not in her best interest, instead of assuming, the worst.
I employ you to think back on some of the not so great decisions you've made in your past before judging the youth or even someone else in your age bracket. You never know why.....and for that reason, we should never judge.
Some of us have been hiding those parts of our past because of shame, and wanting to present an appearance of perfection for our children, our family, and our spouse, and I understand that, but perfection is an illusion. No one is perfect. I encourage you to let your experiences be a teacher and not a burden. Cause guess what, you can't change the past, but what you do know, is that you have evolved. Every day that you are blessed with life, you have the opportunity to work towards becoming the best version of yourself, and that's what's important. And if you ever begin to feel overwhelmed by life and all of it's challenges, remember to focus on the step in front of you, and not the entire staircase.
Let what's in the past be in the past, but don't allow your past to control your present or your future. Don't confuse your feelings with what you know.
Your feelings will cause shame, sadness, hurt, etc. But What you know, will empower you!