And It Starts With You

posted in: Mindfulness | 1

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about repairing damaged relationships. I focused on taking responsibility for your part that led to the misunderstanding and offering sincere, heartfelt apologies.

One thing I did not touch on that week, is forgiving yourself. That is an important part of the process and one that deserves a full article unto itself. So often we are harder on ourselves than on others. We may let guilt creep in (see Raised on Guilt). We think we did something wrong or could have done something to keep things from spiraling out of control.

But we all are doing the best we can with the tools we have. We are all imperfect human beings. We can all do better. So instead of dwelling in the past with the what-ifs and if-onlys, instead of ruminating over what you should have done, here are some thoughts that might help you forgive yourself so you can move forward.

Own up to your mistakes
Always take responsibility for your mistake and recognize where a lesson can be learned. You can wallow in the mistake, or you can see mistakes as positive ways to build a life experience. The past is the past and there’s no going back. Take time to appreciate how you can grow from the past and make positive changes moving forward.

Recognize that it’s okay to make mistakes
It’s important to acknowledge that you are an imperfect human being. You will make mistakes, you will misinterpret life, and it’s perfectly normal to do so. This is something we all know intellectually, and it’s often hard to remember in the heat of the moment. So take a few breaths to slow down, and remind yourself of your humanness.

Challenge yourself to do better
This part is all about awareness and non-judgment. When we are aware of those mistakes we make and how hard we are on ourselves for them, we can take action so that it’s not our default mode. Become curious about your feelings around this topic and be sure to do so without judgement.

Above all else, be kind to yourself
By recognizing that you are human and capable of fault, you can be kinder to yourself. Everyone gets things wrong in life, and on a pretty frequent basis. You are not alone in the struggle to forgive yourself. Be as compassionate with yourself as you are with others. Give yourself grace.

The way I figure it, we have two options. We can wallow in self-pity, impacting our own happiness and those that are dear to us. Or, we can live a meaningful, purposeful life, learning and growing from our journey. And guess what? You get to choose!

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