… the Path to a Peaceful Life
Mistakes… we all make them. No one is immune to them. Some are big, others trivial; some are significant and others inconsequential. After all, we are not perfect; we are only human… that’s how we learn, improve, and evolve.
How do you take mistakes? Do you acknowledge, analyze, learn and move on hoping not to make the same mistake again? Or do you dwell on them and find it hard to let go and forgive yourself?
For most of us, it depends on the gravity of the mistake. Some are easier to let go than others. If the mistake has been significant, the sense of being chased and assaulted by your past faults can sometimes feel like a huge burden that can lead to self-defeat.
If not dealt with properly and on time, it can take its toll and throw you into the painful and self-inflicted emotional pain that comes from guilt and regret.
All human beings slip up and make mistakes… all of us. Nothing new here but it is always good to remember. Instead of focusing on our flaws and imperfections and on why we couldn’t have been better, smarter, kinder, more compassionate or politically correct, let’s remember that judging ourselves after the fact, is not only unfair but it can get intense. Emotions gets mixed and ugly. They can go from sadness to inadequacy and even into feeling miserable. Taken to extremes, tossing and turning at night will likely follow.
Through all the haze of self-disgust, pain, misery, and self-torture, a very important thing seems to be pushed into the sidelines and overlooked: The mistake does NOT have to define us; the mistake is NOT who we are… if only we learn to separate the faulty behavior from the self we can learn to forgive ourselves.
Self-forgiveness is one of the most beautiful gifts that we can give to ourselves. When we give ourselves permission to humbly accept our faults and see ourselves with compassion, wonderful things can happen.
When you detach yourself from the mistake, you will see things with a fresher perspective, and from that mindset, you can explore ways to evolve and improve; you can liberate yourself from crushing emotions, and you start allowing feelings of self-compassion as you become more nurturing toward yourself. Self-forgiveness empowers you to move on and redeem yourself.
You can now see how self-forgiveness is instrumental for the personal development and self-growth of a person. The problem is, few people manage to view mistakes as opportunities to grow. Thus, they must learn to view mistakes from a different light, as a product of being human versus a product of wickedness, and use that knowledge to remind themselves that the mistake is not an extension of who they truly are.
Faulty thinking in this regard is what makes it common for people to feel that they don’t deserve forgiveness, especially from themselves.
Still, many might have the mistaken idea that the more they emotionally beat themselves about their mistakes, the better the world will regard them.
But you don’t have to surrender to that mistaken idea. The following points will guide you towards self-forgiveness and the well deserved moment of glorious liberation:
- What happened?
This is the very first step towards self-forgiveness. Take a few moments to analyze what went wrong with the sole intention to learn and prevent similar mistakes from happening again. Re-create in your mind what happened and see what prompted your actions and how you could have handled it in a different, more productive way.
- Why did it happen?
Try to identify why you acted -or reacted- the way you did… where you stressed out? tired? sleepless? upset perhaps about something unrelated? Self-forgiveness is not about making excuses or trying to dismiss the situation. It’s about having the opportunity to explore why things happened the way they did leaving guilt and shame aside while still feeling accountable for your mistake.
- What can you do about it?
Taking responsibility for your actions and accepting the facts are important steps towards self-forgiveness. Also, being humble and asking for forgiveness will help you overcome your own emotional turmoil. Asking for forgiveness from those affected leaves the ego out of the equation. This allows for self-acceptance and self-forgiveness as well. This is how you acknowledge and accept what has happened as you mend the situation.
Awareness and Self-Forgiveness
Once you go through the 3 points above, you will clearly know that your mistake was an act and it is not who you are. When you detach yourself from the behavior, you are able to let go of guilt and release regret as you become aware of the fact that your mistake does not have to define you as a person. For whatever reason and under whatever circumstances the mistake was made. Just remember that you only did the best you could at that time.
Open your heart and remember who you truly are.
Next, you will be able to see the mistake as an opportunity to learn. Remember that wisdom over a certain thing cannot be attained without the outlay of a mistake, and as a human being you are not exempt from that rule.
The only way to realize that you can do better is to fail at something. When you make mistakes, remember that you have been given the opportunity to learn one or more important lessons. These teachings can help you avoid making the same mistake in the future, and most importantly, it can help you become better at handling that particular thing or event in the future.
As this awareness settles, take a few moments to rest your mind and relax your body. Allow yourself to feel your self-forgiveness as a warm wave that releases the extra weight of your soul, lifts your negative emotions and bathes your being with light.
Finally, if you find yourself still dwelling on experiences of this kind, if you feel embarrassed, burdened, or keep on judging yourself, just know that the longer you go over and over the mistake in your head, the more your self-confidence and self-esteem will be affected.
The good news is that you don’t have to live feeling guilty indefinitely. Take a look at The Release Technique site where you can learn more about what release is and how this technique can help you let go of guilt, regret and emotional pain for good!
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi