Instead, lay them on the ground so you can step and rise above them. You are so much better than that. I know this may sound like a bunch of cliche’s (honestly, I found this mantra online last night and I can’t help but run away with it). And if you don’t mind, let me throw another cliche along the way: You are not your mistakes. So don’t ever let them define you. And don’t let anyone else define you as that.

It is hard, I understand. Forgiving yourself of the past seems unimaginable right now. Especially if you are living the consequences of your actions (or lack thereof) every single day. I’ve been there. Guilt and shame were my bff’s for a long time. How did they come to be? Allow me to share a brief personal story.

For years I tried so hard to be the best wife, mom and person someone could ever be. I basked in everyone’s admiration of us for having a picture perfect marriage. The fact that the rest of the world is inspired by our love story went into my head. I tried and I tried, until one day I fell in love. Sadly it wasn’t with the person I made my vows to.

The truth is I never fully admitted that for a long time, I was no longer happy. That my marriage was stagnant. I can go on and on, but that’s another story, in another time. Nevertheless, I was scared to even have that conversation because I didn’t wanna hurt him or anybody. So I tried to do my quick fix on the side hoping to come back renewed so I can fulfill my wifely and motherly duties ever so effectively. What do you know, it backfired on me. Of course that so-called quick fix cost me my marriage. And there I was…fighting to save a marriage while questioning why I was even fighting to begin with.

Ultimately I decided to let go of something that no longer served me. Of course it wasn’t easy. In fact it was painful but I was tired of hurting both ways. I couldn’t live up to the what the outside world expected of me anymore. Goodness, the pressure. I forgot who I was. It was messy as hell. Mind you, once you decide to make a change in your life it all gets messy as things get shifted. As for me, it was a choice I had to make despite everybody else’s opinion of what I should’ve done or should’ve been doing. And for the first time in a long time, I was happy…and relieved. Immediately though I felt guilty for feeling happy and relieved because well, I thought I wasn’t supposed to be. Heck I just failed my marriage! That’s not something I should be celebrating with relief. All these mixed emotions I had to deal with for the sake of pursuing a new love story and singing a new love song. Wow. What on earth was I thinking?

For a couple of years I blamed myself for things that went wrong in my previous marriage and for that, I never allowed myself to be happy. I was anxious and stressed even though I had certain people who genuinely supported me. One day, I had an epiphany. It was when I realized that my mistakes were simply choices that I made at the time when I was trying to survive whatever situation I was in did I start unloading the guilt and shame off my back. No, they may not be the best choices for other people (and trust me, I was made aware of that) but it had every bit of a positive intention for me and that’s all that matters. And what is that positive intention? that I learn my lesson and start living my truth.

There. I’m no angel. I have my faults like everybody else. So please. I know it’s easier said than done but there’s no need to keep beating yourself up over the past. We make mistakes because we’re human and that’s what we do. That’s how we learn. Own it and take responsibility. Apologize if you must but once everything else is said and done, move on to the next chapter of your life. Don’t let your mistake-or yourself for the matter, stop you from moving forward towards bigger, better and brighter things that are waiting to unfold in the horizon. You are a strong woman and you’ve come this far. You just gotta believe.