We all have regrets in life; things we wish we had or hadn’t done or said. Those regrets can loom over us, sometimes for years. Some of us have experienced trauma that has haunted us since it happened. Sometimes, these things make it hard for us to heal and move forward with our lives. Maybe we are just highly critical of ourselves and our own flaws and shortcomings, and talk to ourselves in a way that is destructive and hurtful.
We try to move past those traumas or our negative internal voices in a number of ways. We talk about them to friends or therapists, we make goals and resolutions not to be so hard on ourselves, or we try to practice self-love and self-care. These are all great things, but none of them alone will completely heal us.
The best way to heal is to accept whatever has hurt or is hurting you. It’s a radical notion. You have to face your demons and acknowledge that they exist, and then decide that they don’t control you anymore. You won’t judge yourself for being flawed or for having been traumatized. You accept those things as a part of who you are and start to understand the ways that they have shaped your life, for better or for worse.
This radical acceptance—of who you are, of your flaws, of the things that have happened to you—is not always easy. Sometimes accepting these things will cause you a lot of grief and pain in the moment. Don’t run away from it. The best way to heal grief is to grieve. Cry it out. Scream if you have to. Acknowledge whatever has hurt you and let yourself feel the full weight of that sadness. It might take some time, and it probably won’t be easy, but in some cases, it is the only way to move forward in your life.
If you need help, reach out to a therapist who can accept you as you are, as an important bridge to accepting yourself in that way.