Accept Your Past While Embracing the Present You: 12 Self-Talk Exchanges

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden

“The reason it is easy for me [to not hold the past against you] is because the Nancy I know is someone who wants to change those negative thoughts and behaviors, who wants to make a difference in this world, and is learning that she already has. That is the Nancy I embrace.”  These words from my therapist will not be forgotten.

They challenge me to give more weight to present positive experiences than to past negatives ones. I’ve learned we can choose to focus on what was or to look at the hope we have today. Here are some of those options.

(1)I have made mistakes – I am learning from my mistakes

(2)People have hurt me – I do not hurt myself

(3)I have hurt others – I make amends when I can

(4)I failed to be who I wanted to be – I am able to make better decisions now   

(5)There has been great pain in my heart – I am allowing myself to move forward

(6)I have felt worthless – I can be proud of my efforts        

(7)I have believed negative messages – I am challenging false beliefs 

(8)I was not safe from others – I am safe for others

(9)Relationships never worked – I am changing me           

(10)I have blamed externals for who I am – I hold the power to be who I want to be

(11)I did not want to live – Now I seek to make life meaningful

(12)My life has been hard – I am strong to have made it!


NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or if you are concerned about someone who is,  please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*photo from                                                                                                                                                                   

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