How To Let Go of Past Mistakes and Move Forward

The most difficult person for us to forgive is usually ourselves. Regret, shame, and guilt prevent us from letting go of our past mistakes. Rather than reflecting on the experience and learning from it so that we can move forward, we tend to focus on those things that we see as mistakes.

high angle photo of person going down and forward from past mistakes
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Regret, shame, and guilt make us feel we are unsuccessful and unworthy.  While they are all a part of the human experience, they shouldn’t be what defines us. 

Rather than trying to forget about what happened, we should instead take a look at how we could benefit from the experience and move forward with the knowledge gained from the experience allowing ourselves to become more self-aware

This is exactly what you will learn to do here.

I am going to share a few helpful ways to let go of past mistakes.

Why It Is Important To Release Ourselves From The Guilt Of Past Mistakes

When we hold onto regret, shame, and guilt, we never learn from our past mistakes. 

We get stuck in our own minds, thinking about what might have been or how things could have been different. This is not only useless to us as individuals but also prevents us from moving forward with a positive mindset.

Holding on to past mistakes impacts confidence, the things we tell ourselves about ourselves, and how we show up in our lives and the lives of others.

One surefire way to keep yourself trapped in the past is by refusing to forgive yourself.

The good news is that there are some simple strategies that can help you come to terms with the things that you have done in the past, learn from them, and welcome a future that includes a full and enjoyable life. And here they are:

5 Strategies To Help You Forgive Yourself And Move Forward

half of face of gorgeous black woman
Photo by Waldir Évora on

Hold yourself accountable

Be honest with yourself and others about your mistakes where necessary.  Dong this holds you accountable.

Mistakes are a necessary part of the human experience.  No person escapes their lifetime without having made mistakes.

Reflect on the mistake or situation and honestly and clearly identify what you did or didn't do.  Own up to it, instead of trying to justify your actions.

While it can be hard to face the truth at times, being honest with yourself and understanding where you went wrong is a fundamental step to releasing the pain, guilt, and shame that you feel around the situation.

When we take the time to take responsibility for our actions and fully own up to them, we are able to reflect honestly on what caused us to make those choices and what we might do differently next time. This allows us to forgive ourselves for moments that embarrassing or shameful.

woman in gray tank top feeling feelings about mistakes
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Feel your feelings

A large part of our inability to overcome past mistakes and failures is that we never allow ourselves to feel our feelings about them.

Examine the events and circumstances that led to the situation and be honest about how you felt when it happened and even how you feel about it right now.

Take time to consider how your mistake impacted others in both a physical and emotional sense.  If needed address others honestly about the situation to allow yourself to release the guilt that may be brought on from that part of things.

If you need it, talk about your situation with someone you trust – a close friend, relative, counselor, or mentor that you feel comfortable with. 

Seek their opinion, feedback, and guidance about the severity of your error. They’ll likely see your mistake in a more forgiving light than you do.

Additionally, they can serve as support for moving forward and also for holding yourself accountable without succumbing to guilt.

Make amends

Try to remedy the situation and make amends. Consider what you could have done differently to prevent your failure, and develop a plan to act differently if you face a similar situation in the future. 

Even if it has been quite some time since the situation occurred, if the result of your mistake caused harm to others, consider offering an apology and asking for forgiveness

This action alone can be very healing for both you and the person that suffered harm as a result of your actions.

Another way to make amends If you're unable to reconcile the situation with those who were directly affected, consider doing good deeds and acts of kindness to show to yourself and others that you truly regret your actions.

If your poor decision resulted in a financial loss, seek to make restoration authentically and realistically.

cheerful young woman screaming into megaphone
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Share your story

We oftentimes hold on to our stories for fear of being judged or disliked in some capacity.  But while there is no guarantee that those things won’t happen, there is much more joy that comes from helping others to learn from your mistakes and failures.

Share your story with others so that they might be able to avoid making the same error.  Empower others who have made the same mistakes to know they are not alone.

Both of those things have great rewards and benefits to overcome the way you view your mistakes as well.

Beyond that, it is so powerful to allow others to see that mistakes can be overcome.  Lessons can be learned from them.  And that life can go on, and go on abundantly.

Acknowledge your growth

Mistakes are life lessons that help to teach us similarly to the way that formal education does.  Some will argue that experience is the greatest teacher, but on the other side of the coin is the growth that comes from life lessons.

Realize that you've grown and you're no longer the same person that made the original mistake. 

Continue to seek ways to help others and avoid actions that might lead to a similar error in judgment in the future.

All of us make mistakes, and sometimes they come with serious consequences. Regardless of how serious our errors might have been, all of us deserve forgiveness. 

Seizing the opportunity to atone and make amends will help everyone involved heal and put it in the past.

Interested in working with someone to help you move past your mistakes and into a more fulfilling life ahead?

Book a discovery call today to see how we can work together.

As a personal and professional development coach, I help women live the life they want by understanding their personalities, their strengths and their weaknesses, but then also how to use those strengths and weaknesses to their fullest potential and highest advantage. I am a Myers Briggs Personality test enthusiast, and I use the Myers Briggs Personality Test in helping my coaching clients with the services that I provide. You can find out more here.

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I’m TaKenya


Fueled by equal parts oat milk lattes and passion alike, I spend my days homeschooling my youngest kid and figuring out ways to help women change the world but finding, understanding, and loving themselves and their unique individuality.   


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