How do I deal with my past choices without letting them define and crush me daily.

Recent divorce with 2 young children.
Ex wife now pregnant with her affair partner's child. It was a 2 year affair. This happened after we tried therapy to try to make it work.
Dad passed.
Cousin who was my best friend passed from Covid
I'm struggling to forgive myself for the past choices I've made.
Asked by Andy

Hello Andy:

You asked a very important question, How do I deal with my past choices without letting them define and crush me daily? This is a great question.

We have all made mistakes. The key to moving past these mistakes is forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It allows you to let go of heavy emotions, such as resentment, you may have towards yourself, or someone else. Forgiveness allows you to treat yourself, and others, with compassion.

Forgiveness allows you to give yourself permission to move forward with a renewed mind and heart. Not forgiving can keep you stuck in the past, ruminating on how things could have been different. We have the present time. We can do something with the time we have now to walk in forgiveness and find happiness.

Don’t put conditions on your happiness!  

True, and authentic, happiness is a state of mind. It is not something we have to go on a scavenger hunt outside of ourselves to find. It is something that lives within us. We just need help discovering our happiness, choosing happiness, and committing to having happiness no matter what. Happiness is a feeling. It is something that you get to choose.

You can make yourself happy. To start, begin to let go of unhappiness. To put it another way, let go of what is not serving you. What is not serving you, negative thoughts? Negative anxiety? Low mood? Limiting beliefs? Undesirable coping skills? Lack of boundaries? Putting conditions on happiness? Self-comparisons? Difficulty saying no? Operating from a place of lack? Operating from a place of trauma and fear? Living in the past? Not forgiving? Low self-worth? Low self-esteem? 

Another way to find happiness within is to debunk cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are thought errors that affect how we perceive and give meaning to our life’s experiences. All-or-Nothing thinking, Jumping to Conclusions, Should statements, and Emotional Reasoning are all examples of thought errors. Instead of letting thought errors get the best of us, we can choose happiness in each moment by making logical, rational, and productive decisions in a timely manner. In order to do this, we can take some time to relax the mind. We can take some time to weigh facts against the emotionally-based opinions. We can take some time to allow negative thoughts flow to us, and then we can release them without acting on those negative thoughts.

Make one minute, one hour, one day, or even the whole week happy. The power is truly within. Are you willing to forgive yourself, and allow yourself to be free of blame, shame, guilt, and resentment? Are you ready to allow yourself permission to have happiness? Working with a mental health professional can help you get to the other side of this challenge. If you feel like you are in distress, or at-risk of self-harm, call 9-1-1, 800-273-8255, or your local hospital.

Sending Positive Vibes,  

Until Next Time,