How did you feel when you woke up this morning?
Are you going to finish your To-Do list?
Which city will you move too?
What are you going to do for someone else today?
How are you going to find joy today?
Choices. Everyday we are faced with free will. Countless choices. It’s part of what makes us human. Big and small, these decisions ultimately make up our world. Given the sheer number of choices we make each and every day, we are bound to make mistakes every so often. Even if a decision seemed like the right one at the time, there’s no way to be sure it will pan out in the long run. Sometimes it feels like no matter what you do or how hard you try, you just can’t seem to make the right ones. You question how all of these seemingly insignificant choices lead you to where you are now and spiral into a sea of self doubt and comparison.
We’re taught to give grace to those around us…. even when it’s hard, even when it’s undeserving. But how often do we give ourselves grace? We hold ourselves to a higher standard than we do others and demand unrealistic expectations. The truth is, you deserve the same grace you’d give a sister or friend. It’s imperative to understand that through our lifetime we are going to make good and bad choices. Learning to forgive yourself for mistakes made is essential. It is up to you to decide if regret will rule your world, or if self-compassion and self-forgiveness will take the lead.
“Forgiving ourselves is the opportunity to become an overcomer rather than remaining a victim of our own scorn.”
Contrary to what you may have heard, forgiving does NOT go hand in hand with forgetting. They are not a two for one deal. You can forgive and still stay aware. In fact, that’s one of the most rewarding parts of self-forgiveness-- it opens your eyes to all the lessons to learn from that experience. When you are stuck in the mindset of blame, you are blinded to what could be learned. Self-forgiveness allows you to move forward. Ask yourself what could you do differently next time? Learn to live with intention and apply what is learned to future endeavors.
Self-forgiveness is easier said than done. I’ve been there. I am there. The reality that a big, life altering decision made may not have been the right one is heart wrenching. Thinking about the pain you may have caused another is overwhelming. Self-forgiveness is a process, a lifestyle. You are not the first or the last to make a mistake (big or small). We are all human, none of us immune to error. But next time you are faced with regret, recognize it and try to learn from it. Self-forgiveness comes from understanding. To summarize what it takes to forgive yourself, here are the three steps:
Three steps to self forgiveness:
Give yourself grace
Learn from past mistakes
Realize no one is perfect
Lastly, I want to pass on a great way to practice Self-forgiveness. My mother-in-law encouraged me to try this and after practicing it, I have allowed myself to see my world in a whole new light:
Spend fifteen minutes a day, by setting a timer on your phone and give yourself and your mind time to think about whatever it is that is holding you back from moving forward. Make it a time to be okay with putting all your negative energy to the forefront of your mind. Focus on them. Let those thoughts consume you for fifteen minutes straight. All the small voices that are telling you that you made the wrong choice, or the memories that play over and over in your head, that you try to push away, embrace them. Give it that time. After your fifteen minutes are up- do not revisit those thoughts again until the next day. Do this practice for three weeks and when those negative voices pop back into your head remind yourself that you have already focused your energy there- you are not going to revisit them again that day. After you have practiced this for three weeks and given yourself that time to really allow yourself to FEEL those emotions that we wanted to push away, you will begin to feel lighter. Those scary thoughts and memories that you never wanted to visit will be visited enough to the point that you are content in allowing yourself to work through those emotions.
Let the positive light in and focus on what you have to be grateful for. We all make mistakes and we all deserve to give ourselves grace. Let it hurt. Let it heal. Let it go.