Home / Forums / Advice & Chat / I was an OW, I repent: now I want to change and stop self-beating / Reply To: I was an OW, I repent: now I want to change and stop self-beating
I know you are not a bad person. How do I know? Because you feel ashamed of doing something that violates your values. A bad person wouldn’t feel shame or remorse. Also because you have empathy — you think about that pain that your actions caused or could have caused.
Everyone makes mistakes in life (yes, even Mother Theresa). It’s important to acknowledge and own your mistakes. You have done that — you acknowledged that your behavior was wrong and you stopped doing it. There really isn’t any more you can do to make things right. If you ever find yourself tempted to help someone cheat in the future, you’ll be able to remember how awful it made you feel about yourself and that will help steer you in the right direction. That’s why emotions like shame and guilt exist.
What’s NOT helpful — to you or anyone else — is falling into a spiral of shame and self-hatred that is interfering with your day to day life. Your shame delivered its message loud and clear. Holding onto it isn’t going to make things any better. It’s not making up for what you did before. It’s not helping other people you care about. It’s almost certainly harming you by not letting you do the things you want to do, and it might even be harming other people if you aren’t able to uphold your commitments because you are so stuck.
I’m glad you reached out to a therapist because this can be a hard cycle to break by yourself. In the meantime, maybe a little self-talk and distraction can help. If you feel yourself spiraling, say to yourself, “I’m shame-spiraling again. This line of thought isn’t useful.” Then find something to do that engages your mind enough to keep you from obsessing — whether it’s watching an engrossing TV show or taking a dance class or doing a crossword puzzle or whatever. Good luck!