When I think back to the first year I moved here, the mistakes I made while meeting people are the first thing to mind. (I have learned from my mistakes, but because this is a small town they still seem to haunt me.) Then there was the year after that.
I mean, pretty much until last month I was messing up in my friendships. Who am I kidding? Until yesterday, I have been making more mistakes than good choices. And then there was this morning…
By the previous posts in this series you have probably noticed how focused I am on mistakes I have made. It is hard for me to get past what I see in myself. It is hard for me to just move on, especially from things I cannot fix.
This is one reason I am so glad for you, listening people. You shared your stories. You pointed out that not every mistake can be fixed.
And that is ok. It hurts, but it is ok.
Moving on is an acceptable action in situations. There is a time for fixing mistakes and there is a time to move on. It may sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes moving on is the best way to heal the friendship. When it is the best step, not taking it can damage the relationship even more.
Mainly I am thinking of friendships where you are still friends after your mistake. This is a beautiful thing about friendships. Sometimes you cannot “do penance” for your mistake because your friend has forgiven you. They no longer hold it against you. They have overlooked it and are ready to keep being friends. So why can’t I just accept that? If they have moved on, why can’t I?
I should take my own advice about healing. Here is one more tip: sometimes you just have to kick yourself in the pants and MOVE ON.
There are other relationships that I must move on from even though the friend is not okay with it. These are hard. (See the The Pain of Friendships where I touched on this more.) I cannot continue to hound myself over how I could have been a better friend when they do not want to be friends anyway.
In some cases it is only when I scrutinize my decision that I think I made a mistake. At the time I did the best I could to make the best decisions. I prayed about it. I asked wise people their thoughts. I had peace when I made my decision. Why do I doubt it now?
There is that word again; doubt. The thing that mixes my mind inside-out and upside-down.
No one should dwell in the past. It prevents me from taking care of the friendships I have right now. Focusing on past mistakes I cannot fix steals my focus from what I can fix. There is a place for learning from past actions, but it is never good to get stuck. I cannot go back and change past decisions.
Over-analyzing is no place to live my life. Sometimes, I just have to move on.