Everyone needs help sometimes. You may hit bottom when a partner leaves you, you get fired from a job, or you end up in jail. The good news is once you hit bottom you are ready to bounce back. But how?
Examine the Past
Being honest about your own past is a vital first step. It is easier if you set aside value judgments—don’t label circumstances or actions as good or bad, just see them as facts. Imagine a friend is telling his or her life story and be as sympathetic and understanding with yourself as you would be to your friend. Many people find it helpful to apologize to those whose feelings have been hurt and make amends if possible, but that is optional. The crucial action here is that you must forgive your past self so that you can move on.
Maximize the Present
True change requires effort and action. It’s false progress to forgive yourself for your past mistakes without learning how to avoid repeating those mistakes in the future. The truth is, people don’t break habits—they replace them with different habits, hopefully better ones. For example, some drug addicts switch their drug dependence to a physical fitness obsession and start training for a marathon. Find step-by-step help in decision making courses online, self-help books and motivational videos. Many people find mental health professionals and life coaches exceptionally helpful. You may qualify for free services, but even if you don’t they will prove a worthwhile investment in your future.
Protect the Future
Most people with a troubled past find themselves in the company of other troubled people; at least temporarily, quit spending time with them. You are changing for the better, but they are likely still mired in their negative beliefs and harmful behaviors. Yes, you love them; but love them from a distance. Now is the time to surround yourself with only the family, friends, colleagues and mentors who feed the positive aspects of your life and will encourage you to reach your highest goals.