Avoid My Mistakes
Age 17, San Diego, California, USA
To My 17-Year-Old Self:
I was supposed to protect you. We didn’t have a lot of reliable people around and it was my job to protect you.
When I opened your arms in self-harm, I was supposed to be telling you to seek help.
When I slept with men who didn’t care about you, I was supposed to keep you at home.
When I did drugs that ruined your innocence, I was supposed to tell that guy I didn’t want you to hit the meth pipe.
When I slept with strangers for drugs, I was supposed to be telling you that you were too young. That you were damaging yourself.
When you dropped out of high school I was supposed to keep you motivated, to keep you studying.
To top it all off, when I came to the surface, the adult you, I chose to be angry at everyone else for not reminding me that I was responsible for myself. That I did it all to myself.
I chose to emotionally hurt anyone that tried to get close to me. I self-sabatoged and burned bridges. All because you couldn’t forgive me. Because I was supposed to have your back. I was supposed to be watching out for you. We always knew that. We just forgot for awhile.
I hope you forgive me.
What did you learn?
To forgive myself now. Damage is done, but I can help a lot of people avoid my mistakes. I now harness that power.
Dear “Avoid My Mistakes,”
Thank you for sharing your powerful message. It took tremendous courage for you to recognize and take responsibility for your actions. You’re right. It is easy to blame other people for our choices, especially when things in life have been really, really, really tough or things have happened that you weren’t able to control in the first place. But then…like you said, there were things you DID get to choose.
It sounds like you’re really working on forgiving yourself and we really hope you do! You deserve it. No one should ever keep replaying the past. Sometimes, people get so angry or upset with themselves that they do things because they feel that they deserve to be punished.
No! The best thing you could ever do for yourself is to forgive. What you suffered… It’s time to let that go and continue to strive to be the best you. Self-hate, self-loathing, and punishing oneself for past mistakes is not kind or compassionate, yet if it were a friend who had done those things, we would never want them to suffer or inflict that kind of pain. Why would we want more for a friend that for ourselves?
We must always be our own best friend first. Let the past go. May every day from this day forth be filled with good health, self-worth, positive learning experiences and wisdom, healthy well-balanced friendships, compassion, strength, and joy. We’re cheering you on! You got this!