Rebecca's recent post (http://theroadhomewv.blogspot.com/2013/01/living-regret.html) reminded me of something my sister and I often talk about: the idea of being merciful to your past self. Basically whenever we talk about decisions in our lives that in retrospect we may want to change or at least reconsider we always say that we have to remember that we did the best we could with what we had a the time. So since there is no way I could have known then what I know now, it's unfair to hold my past self to my present standard. Even with decisions I know were the wrong decisions, I understand why I made the decision at the time.
For instance, I know it would have been better had A and I remained chaste before we got married, but I know why we made the decisions we did. We were crazy in love, and although I know we didn't make the best choices, we are human. As A says when we talk about our love story, "We have a rich history together." Exactly. It's hard to wish we had made different decisions because the most important decision was to get married. Plus if we had made better decisions we would not have L, and that is a terrible thought. For me this is a huge example in my life of how good can come out of bad.
Another example is our university of choice. A and I both went to a private Catholic college. Occasionally when I look at our giant student loan debt I feel a twinge of regret that I didn't go for a cheaper option, maybe a state school while living at home. Although I did do some time at community college before transferring (which saved me bucket-loads of money by the way), I'm sure I could have figured out a way to get my bachelors with less debt...but at the time I made the best choice I could. I have a feeling if I would have gone to a state school I would have lost my faith too, or at least stopped practicing it very well. And finally, if I had made the more practical choice I probably would not have met A, and well, I am very very glad I met him.
Learning to accept my past self and forgive my mistakes (or inability to know the future, what can I say, I'm a perfectionist) has become easier as I've learned to be less harsh on everyone. And not surprisingly learning to be kind to my past self has helped me learn to be kind to my present self too.