Friends, it’s spring time and excitement for the warmer weather and longer days is apparent. The subject of this week’s blog is something that I believe is vitally important in your success and happiness for a fulfilling life. While the primary focus is typically on forgiving others, it is just as important to be able to forgive yourself. I am reminded of this nearly every day on my own journey.
Most would agree that the goal of a life well lived is to continually learn and grow in every important area; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Many would also agree that often the lessons best learned are those that follow a major mistake or failure. We “live and learn” so to speak. We may feel like we did our best given the circumstances, but sometimes the major mistake or failure was entirely, or at least partly, due to our own actions, lack of proper planning, and perhaps poor judgement.
Why is it that the lessons learned from mistakes and failure don’t always readily include forgiving ourselves? As you attempt to achieve your goals, you will no doubt fail or not always achieve the outcome you were hoping for. While everything always seems clearer in hindsight, the lessons learned must include the process of forgiving yourself. Only then are you fully free to move forward.
Do not focus on your failure but instead formulate new goals and focus on them. Letting go of what happened in the past will free you up to focus on the future. Focus also on being grateful for what you do have, because the failure is not you. It is only an outcome of your attempt to achieve something great.
The refusal to forgive yourself is equivalent to keeping yourself in a jail of guilt and judgment. You were not born with a script on how to live life, and you will need to figure some things out as you go. Not everything will go according to your plan or desire and you will need to adjust. If you do not, or cannot, forgive yourself for unplanned outcomes, you are more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors that often will just make your life more difficult.
When you engage in these self-destructive behaviors you are likely to live with self-pity and negativity. You may fail to plan or set goals because you do not see yourself as worthy. All of this inhibits emotional, spiritual, and intellectual growth. When you do not forgive yourself, you are setting yourself up to live with fear of making new mistakes, or fear that others will know your old mistakes, and as a result reject you. When you can’t forgive yourself, you are robbing yourself of the ability to live a wonderful, fulfilling life.
My friends, I personally have been stuck in this trap of unforgiveness many times throughout my life. Being able to let go and forgive is one of the most freeing and powerful things I have ever experienced. Someone once said that harboring unforgiveness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. You can’t truly get well or recover until you forgive. For when you do only the best is yet to come!