Can you detach yourself from your past mistakes and move on?

A young man my age recounted his ordeal. “I made some terrible mistakes in the past that I wish I never made them. I look back in time and I hate myself for some of the mistakes. I cannot even let people know some of it.” He lamented. After some words of encouragement, he decided to let me in on one. “I had made some money that I can’t give justification for. I made unclean and illicit money that cost me my job after some months. I had just been transferred to another branch of my company,” he paused and looked hesitant, pondering on whether to continue or stop. Then he continued. “I was transferred to another branch and I hit the ground running as soon as I resumed there, working as a Customer Service Representative (CSR) and doing great on the job. But owing to the meagre income I took home at each month end that couldn’t cater for my ever growing needs, I decided to make more cash to augment my not-enough salary. Then one day, I was approached by one of the existing staff members with a more dubious means of making extra cash but I turned down the request. When I got home that day, the lady, apparently older than I was, called me on my mobile phone discussing further on the proposal. I kept turning her down. In the long run, a whistle-blower got it to the head office and the whole issue was laid bare and I was ganged up against. I had no evidence and the lady arranged evidences against me and for herself. The lady too had been robbing the company hard with her accomplices but it seems no man can fight a woman, women will always win with their whims and tricks coupled with their feminine influence. She and her cronies said I have been robbing the company and I couldn’t defend myself because it was true.” He paused narrating his ordeal. It was evident he regretted the mistake he made trying to make extra money. Then he continued. “I was indefinitely suspended as a reprimand. The most regrettable thing was that it came at a time I was about to be promoted.” The story touched my heart and I felt sorry for him.

Of course, he left and suffered what he did, remaining jobless and impecunious for a very long time. He found it hard to forgive himself and later had to forge ahead, giving clues on how he had to detach himself from the ugly incident. I will share what he shared with me.
Most of us have had one terrible past or the other. Most of us have made some terrible mistakes in the past that we are wishing we never made. We wish we can rewind the hands of time and go back to time to undo the mistakes. But the reality is, we can’t go back in time to correct our mistakes and the mistakes will always be there. We have no power to undo it but we have the power to let it go.


Our mistakes have a way of haunting us so badly that we become despair of life. It appears like we are always attached and tied down to the past. Anytime we remember one terrible error committed in the past, our countenance changes and no one seems trustworthy enough to confide in. We kick and hit ourselves for being so dumb to make such mistake. Some people have already resigned to fate and believe that they cannot achieve anything tangible and substantial again in this life owing to their past mistakes. The truth of the matter is, most times, we make mistakes to learn from it so that we cannot make another one. If we don’t make mistakes, we might not make the right choices and decisions. Someone said what about some seemingly unforgivable mistakes we made that we can’t even voice it out for people to hear? The good news is that it has been confined to the past and you don’t have to let your past mistakes define you or determine what you do.

How to detach yourself from your mistakes and move on
1. Forgive yourself. The first step towards detaching oneself from our past mistakes is to forgive ourselves for making the mistakes. If we don’t forgive ourselves for making the mistakes, we will never move forward. We will always approach things from the standpoint of our past with the expectation of making another one thereby totally deriding your abilities in doing something good. The young man said after no respite was coming, he had to sit down and admit what he did. After admitting it, he had to forgive himself that to err is human. Self-forgiveness is very important. If you don’t forgive yourself, you will hate yourself.
2. Ask God for forgiveness. He said after making things right with himself, he had to make things right with God. He asked God for forgiveness and his mind experienced peace. Day after day, he was getting over the ugly incident. He got a job somewhere but not a job he wanted but he had to take it because he had no other choice. The most important thing, according to him was that he was able to be forgiven by God. When God forgives you, you will experience an absolute peace and tranquility in and around you, job or no job regardless. In the long run, God will make you to stop being haunted by your past.
3. Make a decision to move ahead with your life. Stand up and make another attempt at getting back to your feet. Dispose like nothing had happened and choose to be joyful again. Make moves and don’t be moved by the moves people make.

4. Do what makes you happy. Instead of looking gloomy and morose attracting pity from onlookers, engage yourself in something meaningful. Every idle minute that passes might revert one’s mind to the mistake especially if it just happened and we are trying to let go of it. You are not to be defined by your mistakes.
He was later employed in a big company where he earns double of what his former company wanted to pay had he been promoted before the illicit act cut him short. It was due to forgiving himself and God forgiving him.
The most terrible thing about being tied down by one’s mistake is that we will never be able to make progress. Let go of the past mistakes and be committed not to make another one. Learn from it and force ahead with your life. Life is too short and too sweet to waste it.

Author: Olajide Oluwafemi