Hi kara. I just wanted to tell you about a quote from Oprah about Life that I think is so true:
"Lessons keep repeating themselves until they are Learned".
I also like the other saying: "There's the Easy way, and then there's the Hard way; you choose which way".
Just recently I've been trying to go-with-the-flow of life, rather than wasting my energy in swimming upstream. I know it's true in regards to pain, it hurts a whole lot less if you just go with it, rather than fight it - so I'm hopeful this will also apply to life.
I also wanted to commend you on your positive attitude. It's awesome that you're learning from your mistakes. I wish everyone was that way.
I'm also with you in the self-critical thing (as I believe a few other 11'ers in this thread have stated, too), but I ALWAYS listen to my Gut Instincts, and they have NEVER failed me. It is when I have gone against them that mistakes have been made. Gut Instinct is a like a little guardian Angel sitting on your shoulder, telling you things. If you always just go with it, you'll always be fine.
Keep us updated when things turn around for you, kara. Good Luck !