We think it’s easier to sweep our defeats under the rug, paint over them with a smile and a convincing “I’m doing fine,” filter out the flaws of our lives and begin to brave the next storm. It’s not easier at all. We’re unintentionally adding salt to the wound and doing it so slowly that we can afford to ignore the pain grain by grain. Then the time comes when someone reopens our wound, or, we use them to reopen it ourselves and find that the pain is not only impossible to ignore, it has become excruciating.
We need to start forgiving ourselves for the things we have gotten wrong.
There is a lesson in every setback. If you can manage to find that lesson, it wasn’t really a setback was it? We need to look deep within ourselves and ask why we are making these mistakes rather than writing ourselves off as doomed to be hopeless human beings. If we choose to neglect ourselves, to beat ourselves up after every small mishap, these mistakes will only grow exponentially. We need to stop feeling so guilty for our inevitable human error.
We are all very good at distracting ourselves from the work we need to do within and the forgiveness that we need to grant ourselves to move forward. These distractions can be virtually anything – people, vices, materialism, addictions – you name it. These uncontrollable areas of our lives manifest from a deeper issue of not allowing ourselves to feel like we are worth moving past whatever mistakes we have made. We carry this guilt around with us like a heavy backpack and distract ourselves from the weight of it rather than just setting the backpack down.
It’s okay to feel angry at someone instead of internalizing the conflict in order to keep peace. You may keep superficial peace with the person in question, but you are disrupting your own inner peace. This is a far more expensive price to pay. It’s okay to feel guilt and sadness over something in your life you feel was an irreversible mistake. Feel the guilt and sadness, but then free yourself from the burden of carrying it around wherever you go. Without forgiving ourselves, we suffer the same mistakes indefinitely.
Without forgiving ourselves, we live in a constant limbo between past and present, with no room to move towards a happier future.
So what, you lost your job? Failed at a relationship? Gave someone one too many chances? Found yourself in debt? Put yourself in a situation that feels inescapable? The only finite element in any of these situations is the decision you make on how to handle it. You can be brave and face your human nature head on with the goals of forgiving yourself, healing, and moving forward. Or, you can continue to punish yourself, punish those around you, and convince yourself that you are “keeping the peace.”
The truth is, this is life.
We will keep getting things wrong until we can get them right. But, we rob ourselves from the ability to get them right when we don’t grant ourselves forgiveness.