My mother is old enough to have stopped counting. About four decades ago. We were talking today about something she’s never forgiven herself for.
It happened in the last five years and it’s something most of our generation would celebrate… not flog themselves over. Not my mum.
When I said she should forgive herself, coz it’s dragging her (way, way) down, she looked at me as if I was mad. I am, but that’s not my point. To her, forgiving herself was beyond imagining.
I get the sneaking suspicion we are all a bit like that. We’ll forgive most people for most things, but we are so damn tough on ourselves.
So, I now know where I get it from, what’s your excuse 😉
The next time you start to beat yourself up, stop and think:
- There’s not a single person on this planet who hasn’t made a mistake. I think even the Dalai Lama would agree with that. We are not perfect. We stuff up. We get it wrong.
- You can’t change the past, but you can step in the future – and work on not making the same mistake again (although you’re bound to make different ones!)
- If it involves someone you’ve hurt and they are suffering for it, acknowledge your mistake (without making disclaimers!) and ask for their forgiveness.
- Don’t spill your guts to an unknowing person just to make yourself feel better – which will effectively pass the pain on to them!
- Chances are, that thing you said or did is long forgotten. We tend to have a very powerful magnifying glass when it comes to ourselves…
- Admit (to yourself) you did the wrong thing – and make peace with yourself.
- And if you’re religious like my mum, make peace with your god
- Then…Stop flogging yourself. Take a deep breath. Be kind to yourself.
I don’t think it will work for my mother. Old habits die hard. But it might work for you if you start now.
Coz, wow, by the time you get to be carrying around seven-or-more decades worth of making mistakes and not forgiving yourself, you’re going to need an emotional wheelchair to get around.
So let’s all be more forgiving. Of each other – and ourselves.