It has become easy to show a happy face to everyone. But there will always be that sensitive spot that you would rather keep hidden from the world outside around you. You have achieved so much in your life and have done so much good but it doesn’t seem to matter. The guilt and shame will always be there for you and follow you no matter which country you go to.
As we move into a new year and we make all the goals to try to achieve a higher self at some point we are going to need to face the past and forgive ourselves for what happened. No one is perfect or clandestine. We are taught so much in our lives to forgive others who have wronged us but we are never taught to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings and the mistakes we have made. We are never taught to see that there is a difference between knowing that you went through an experience that was painful to learn a life lesson and either being ignorant of harm done from your mistake or being arrogant of it.
Life is not always didactic. It’s not always black or white, good or bad. There are many shades of gray and various other colors in between. There is no true way of living life on the straight and narrow.
But if you’re looking for a way to forgive yourself, here are a few points that you should take into consideration.
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”Oscar Wilde
We hear this word “empathy” a lot now but do we really understand what it means. According to Professor Google, empathy means, “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” While you may be saying to yourself, that you are one person, as we have discussed in other posts, there is you and your mind. So let’s try to take a step back for a second.
Try this exercise.
Write a letter to yourself. Write about the situation and your feelings behind it. If you feel like you did someone else wrong. Write a letter to that person. This letter is just for you. No need to send it to anyone. Make sure to write in that letter what you have taken away from the situation, if you have changed, and how you are now.
Now, write about how you want to feel.
Sometimes by releasing our thoughts, feelings, and ideas, we can take a step back and see the bigger picture. It gives us time to organize our thoughts and see if there is something deeper going on.
By seeing the bigger picture, we are able to understand. If we can forgive others, we should be able to forgive ourselves.
By understanding, we are able to talk to our inner self in a way that is not extremely critical. We are able to see both sides of the coin. We did wrong. But did we learn from doing wrong? Will we do wrong again? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves. No one is perfect.
Learning from our mistakes or the wrongs we have caused is important. We may never get the forgiveness we crave from those that we desire it from the most but we must learn to give it to ourselves as well.
If we do not learn to forgive, have we truly gained an understanding of what has happened? We can always say if we can do it again that we would do it totally differently with 20/20 vision. With that said, what would you do differently? And do you trust yourself not to make that same mistake again to this day? By not being able to forgive yourself for whatever the situation is, it also shows a lack of trust yourself that you if the situation presented itself again that you would make the same not so good decisions.
Sit with that. Think about those questions. Do you feel like you really understood what happened or are you just going through over and over again your mind all the what-ifs or could have beens?
Kindness is a simple word and one that we learn as young children but one we tend to forget easily in daily life. Be kind to yourself. It’s a simple statement but a powerful one. Not many people are kind to themselves but give without forethought.
You hear all over the place about self-care now and that if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. I challenge you to think the same way about kindness. If you can’t be kind to yourself, what does reflect on your acts of kindness to someone else?
Think about your values and the actions that you put behind them. If you are teaching your children that it is ok to make mistakes, the important is that they tried and that they learned from the situation. How are they to learn that from you if you cannot be the embodiment through actions of what that means? Are you that person that says, “do as I say, not as I do?”
Whatever you did or said, you did or said. You are not proud of it but what have you done to be better than that person since that one moment in time? Does the person you are today mean nothing?
Be kind to yourself and remember the value you bring to this world. Remember all the lives that you have touched for the better and remember the mentorship you have given to others so that they would not have had to take a path like yours.
If you are in a space where your mind is going around and around in circles. Where you logically understand what happened and what you learned from it? But continue to ruminate or obsess over it, don’t be afraid to reach and talk to someone about it. If you feel like you need these discussions to be confidential, remember you can always contact a mental health professional to talk to in your area.
And By the Way!
My name is Tara. I am a therapist who provides online counseling services in the state of Illinois. This blog post is not therapy and it should not be used as a substitute for therapy. If you would like to talk more, you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation, click here!