5 Wrongs From Your Past That You Can Right Today

It's hard to fully understand the impact your actions have on others until you're forced to confront the consequences. When it comes to feeling remorse for your mistakes, this perspective occasionally comes in the moment. Other times, you don't get it until years later. As we see in the upcoming film adaptation of Lauren Oliver's best-selling novel Before I Fall (in theaters March 3rd), sometimes, perspective doesn't come until it's too late.

The heroine of our story Sam Kingston seems to have it all at the start. She’s the most popular girl in school, with the coolest friends and the hottest boyfriend. On her way home from a party at a classmate’s house one night, Sam gets in a fatal car accident. Instead of passing on, she wakes up to find out that she's reliving her last day over and over again. In order to escape the loop, she needs to discover how to right her wrongs — starting with how she treats the people around her. 

It goes without saying that we can all benefit from revisiting our past behavior, because nobody has a spotless moral record. We've teamed up with Before I Fall  to revisit common wrongdoings we're all guilty of and how revisiting these moments can help ensure we never fall back into being *that* person again.  

You may not want to hear it, but at one point or another, you've probably been the mean kid. Whether you're guilty of being a bit too frank about your disdain for someone over AIM, trying to exclude someone from group plans, or gossiping about someone, casual cruelty is surprisingly easy — especially when you're a teen. 

But spoiler alert — this pressure to make other people feel small probably won't go away in your adult life. But you can break the cycle of being the mean kid. When you sense someone trying to get you involved in gossip, shut it down. Include everyone when you're making plans. And ultimately, try to treat others the way you would want to be treated. 

So your parents gave you everything, and what did you give them in return? Countless sleepless nights and a whole lotta sass. What can you say? You were a typical angsty teen who thought the world was out to get you — starting with the people who are responsible for your existence.

But it's never too late to pay your parents back for the endless sacrifices they made. Next time you're at their house, do some unprompted household chores. Wash the dishes, take out the trash, clean the bathroom, or patiently walk them through how to use their smartphone for the 100th time (emphasis on patiently). And when you aren't around to help them, just pick up the phone and let them know that you appreciate all they've done for you. 

Was there someone in your high school life (or adult life) who had a never-ending crush on you? And despite the fact that you were never interested, you totally took advantage of their devotion? Sure, you loved the person's attention (and their willingness to do stuff for you), but you probably had no intention of bumping them out of the friend zone. It's not a great look, but it's an all-too-common refrain. 

Kick this bad habit by being honest and respectful of their feelings. Set boundaries and be clear with the person about what you are - and aren't - looking for. Learn from your past relationship mistakes. Just as Sam starts to see with the nice yet dorky Kent, he might not be what she wants, but he has feelings and deserves respect. 

Snap judgments aren't just reserved for romantic pursuits. Just as Sam and her friends avoid getting to know Juliet, writing her off as a silent loser, we've all been guilty of avoiding a friendship with someone we judged as "different" from us. 


Instead, make an effort to be open-minded and kind. Next time you're at a party, instead of making snarky comments with your friends about the "lamest" looking person there, strike up a conversation with that person. Who knows? You might have more in common than you thought. 

Especially in your teen years, everyone's a little bit selfish. When you find yourself falling into your own bellybutton, try getting out and volunteering. As we see in Before I Fall, making sacrifices and compromises is sometimes the only way you can grow. 

What better sacrifice can you make than selflessly giving your time and energy to a good cause? Whether it be at a soup kitchen, animal shelter, or a local school, there is no shortage of places you can give back to and pay it forward. 

This article is sponsored by Before I Fall, in theaters everywhere March 3rd. 

Images: Open Road; Allison Gore/ Bustle

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