Have you ever wished you could forgive yourself? You are not alone. Many people struggle with being able to look in the mirror and say, “I forgive you.” Forgiving yourself sets you free.
No doubt each of us have made many mistakes. Some mistakes are insignificant. I made the mistake of not seeing Credence Clearwater Revival in concert but life goes on. There are, however, mistakes which cannot be dismissed so easily.
- Do you still lay awake at night, decades later, regretting your decision to have an abortion?
- Did you shun your true love and marry the wrong person?
- Are you wishing you had kept your mouth shut and never told your son to move out of the house?
- Do you now realize you followed money instead of passion when it came to career choice?
We all make monumental mistakes. But if you cannot forgive yourself you will struggle through life. You carry the destructive weight of guilt on your shoulders.
The magic of forgiving yourself results in powerful life changes.
First, when you discover the magic of forgiving yourself the past loses its grip on you.
You are haunted by those past decisions. You keep glancing in the rearview mirror. Have you ever tried to drive forward in your car while looking in the rearview mirror? Impossible. If you keep looking in the past it will have such a grip on your that you cannot move forward.
Second, when you discover the magic of forgiving yourself it increases your energy.
Failure to forgive yourself keeps the negative incident alive. It’s like living through your own version of the movie Groundhog Day. Each day you rehearse the unforgiven story. You spend energy trying to figure out what decisions you should have made.
Third, when you discover the magic of forgiving yourself it frees you from depression.
Living with the inability to forgive yourself brings depression because it is difficult to go back in time and fix it. You live with the consequences of your actions. The time machine has not yet been invented.
Fourth, when you discover the magic of forgiving yourself you start making better decisions.
You live with the constant reminder of making bad decisions. And when you keep focusing on those past bad decisions you will become tentative. You will second guess yourself because you fear making other bad decisions. You lack decisiveness.
Fifth, when you discover the magic of forgiving yourself you will no longer be content with the status quo.
Again, you will not want to risk making another bad decision. This means you will stay in a crummy job or bad relationship for fear of making another bad decision. Living with how things are feels better than risking making another bad decision.
Sixth, when you discover the magic of forgiving yourself you will stop beating yourself up.
It’s natural. You look in the mirror and tell yourself how stupid you are. The negative self-talk is relentless. At every opportunity you trash yourself for the bad decisions you’ve made.
This list is not exhaustive. There are many other reasons why you must learn to look in the mirror and say, “I forgive you.” As you can see, it is worth your time to work through the issue of forgiving yourself.
The real question is exactly how do you let go of those past mistakes and failures? How do you make peace with yourself? How do you forgive yourself?
Those questions will be answered in my next article. But for now convince yourself it is important to forgive yourself. Don’t keep limping through life beating yourself up for past mistakes and failures.