If I could go back in time…

Life is full of moments that define our future, some small and some highly significant. Some of these moments bring joy, and others sorrow and regret. If it were possible to travel back in time and change one thing, what would it be? If I could tell myself one thing, what would I say?

I could revisit the first time I self-harmed and prevent a difficult, addictive cycle, but then I would not be as strong as I am now, nor would I have the understanding or the tools to help people facing similar difficulties. Alternatively, I could tell myself not to work overseas in order to avoid PTSD; however, I have become more confident and compassionate as a result, and I would have it no other way. Pain and regret from certain relationships could be avoided, yet how would I then be able to recognise what is not healthy in a relationship?

I could have taken bigger risks and been more daring. I could have made the most of opportunities rather than be afraid. I could have spoken up rather than remain silent. I could have confided in someone rather than shy away. In the midst of all these things that I could have done but did not, my trust in God has grown as I draw from his strength and learn that living a life of regret is futile.

Initially, certain aspects of my past may fill me with shame and regret, but not a single circumstance has gone to waste; a lesson has been learned from each one. To erase my past is to erase what has been learned, and to erase what has been learned is to erase that which has shaped me into who I am today: strong and courageous.

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