These are really powerful emotions that can stifle happiness. They can come in many forms, it can be how we have chosen to live our life, how we have treated people or who we are. The danger with drowning in a pool of the past is that it manifests within us and our current self is filled with unhappiness.
Of course, regret, guilt and shame are emotions that can strive us to improve and if our actions have negatively impacted or hurt others then criticism of ourselves may in fact be necessary and healthy to develop.
However, if we make a conscious effort to improve on our past self (all we ever can do), forgive ourselves and better understand the conditions that may have played a part then we can start recovery. If you think of an addict, they are not an addict because they don’t feel regret, shame or guilt, they do! But they can’t help the destructive behaviour. If an addict continues to self-loath this will only serve the addiction rather than change the behaviour. There is no way to reverse behaviours or change how we acted.
If we choose to forgive ourselves we can begin being a better version of ourselves. No one can hand this to you. It is a purely personal act that can only happen in the present moment. We are all human beings, with a body that can look happy, healthy and thriving on the outside but once broken down can show a very different reality. Poor mental health can affect your judgement, relationships and how you feel about yourself. No one knows your journey so comparison with others who you perceive to be happier, is wholly unhelpful. You only need to look at the amount of celebrities talking about their own challenges with mental health and suicides to understand that the rich, famous and ‘successful’ do not hold the key to understanding.
The great thing about life is that we hold the cards. We can create a new one at any time. I am not talking about changing that job, car or buying a bigger house. If we do not fulfil our own mental needs these outside influences will never lead to happiness. Mental illness is not ever likely to up and leave but we can change our mindset towards it, which is very likely to improve our actions. We can fight it in more beneficial ways, instead of exhausting ourselves, we can accept its presence and kill it with kindness. We can make small changes to how we perceive our self and accept that we have no control over the past but we have every control over the present.
No one is exempt from suffering or hardships and mistakes are part of the journey but remember that without despair, joy cannot be felt to the fullest.
The power is in the now. You can do it!