Regarding someone who became observant later in life, and they truly regret their mistakes, how are they to view the mistakes they made before becoming observant (and did not know then what they know now)- should they blame themselves or consider it hashgacha or both? Did HaShem “want” the person to make the mistake as a wake-up call, and then transform the mistake through teshuva, therefore making it a mitzvah? How can I come closer to Hashem and grow in observance while reconciling mistakes of the past and not letting them “bring me down.” If a person tries their best to do teshuva, does Hashem do the rest (whether or not the person even remembers everything they need to do teshuva for?) Thank you sincerely.
How fortunate you are, that you are from those special individuals that are so beloved to Hashem, that you choose to leave the secular materialistic lifestyle, and choose to live a life of getting close to Hashem! The fact that you regret the mistakes that you made earlier in life, and the fact that you made real changes to start a new path in life, this is the greatest form of teshuva, and what was done is forgiven. You have already looked into your past deeds, (I can attest to this) and you corrected what you can, and whatever you can’t remember is also forgiven, because if you would know about it you would have done teshuva on it, as you did to everything else. Therefore, there is no need to be concerned about it. Now it is time to take yourself to the next level- leave the thoughts of what you did in the past and concentrate on making yourself better. Hashem doesn’t want you to stay stuck with the past mistakes that you did, you didn’t know better. The same way Hashem doesn’t hold a child to be guilty for what was done, before the child had the understanding to act maturely, so too, Hashem forgives the actions that you did before you knew any better. Staying emotionally attached to your past aveiros is just going to tie you down, make you feel guilty, and giving your yetzer hora a handle by which to pull you down with guilt. It is time for you to move on and concentrate on fill your life with positive actions and thoughts.
Hashem should help you attain true perfection, and to leave and forget your negative past, and to live your life positively.