I have been on a journey of healing since late 2018. Six months later, I think I can say that I have made progress (yay!). There is one thing that I improved over the first six months of 2019 - forgiving myself and others.
Believe it or not, I was a professional grudge holder in my childhood. Every time I felt wronged by my parents or friends or even strangers, I would hold onto that resentment for years. And every time I felt I wronged myself - by failing to be perfect - I would also hold onto that as well. That was my habit for the past 20 years or so, and I am starting to break out of it. I am starting to genuinely believe the following statement:
I am doing what I can with the information I have at the time.
I understand that the information I have is usually incomplete. It can be completely wrong. As a result, I can make mistakes not necessarily due to bad judgement but because the premises I believed in were simply not true. In the past six months, I realized that I have beaten myself up enough (isn't 20 years enough?) and that I have better things to do now - to be kind to others (most notably, the 400 students I advise as part of my current job).
My message to current students: for many, university is often the place where you discover your interests that you've never even thought about before, and totally different from what you initially thought you would do. (Once upon a time, I was a biology major. I thought I was going into biochemistry. Instead I discovered the Cognitive Systems Program at UBC and ended up transferring into UBC to major in COGS.) You may find yourself thinking, "I should have known I wanted to do X instead of Y - then I could have taken courses that count towards getting a degree in X instead of Y". It is easy and tempting to beat yourself up, but be kind. You were using your best judgement. You still are.
You are doing what you can with the information you have at the time.
I'm Candice and I doodle with the intensity of the doomguy.