Part 1 (of 3): Self-Forgiveness
So you did something you shouldn't have. Somewhere in your heart there was a tiny voice telling you it was wrong. But you didn't take the voice seriously, and you didn't think it was wrong. In reality, you thought it was the right thing to do. No one can blame you for that. They don't have the right, and if they try, you can think of them as hypocrites. Because everybody has done something wrong without knowing it.
Accepting what you did - that it was wrong, and that at the time you thought otherwise - is difficult. Many people can never do it. Some do but then feel the need to punish themselves for it. But you can do better than both of those things. You can accept that you did it and then, instead of staring back in guilt and shame, immediately look ahead. Make the necessary adjustments moving forward. Even if you're afraid. You can't go backwards on a river, can you? No, you made those choices already. Now it's important to stay focused on the next stretch in front.
One may even theorize that's what life is all about, don't you think? A long series of consecutive new moments? Create meaning out of those new moments, while you can. It's not that you should never look back, but do it only enough to recognize where the mistakes were, appreciate the things you did right, and then make the decision to do your best during these next few new moments. Not anyone else's best; just yours. Which only you can know.
There's no denying it's a challenge. It takes a lot of courage to say, "I did something I shouldn't have." It hurts. The pain of it burrows down into your core. It feels like you're going to suffer forever. It's a spike, sitting there in your chest, digging in and making you bleed. And you can't pull it out.
But think about it. And stop struggling. Accept the spike. Feel it piercing your heart.
Now take a breath. Breathe slowly and deeply around the spike.
Are you still alive? Yes, you are.
The spike isn't lethal. And it's certainly not permanent. In fact, it's not even real.
Now take another breath.
That panic over an invisible thing? That means you've paid the price. Now it's done.
So what's ahead?
What are you going to do next?