There’s no age limit for making mistakes – no matter how wise you are, how long you’ve lived or how smart you are, you will find a way to inevitably f&*! something up. Sometimes it’s a small problem with an easy fix, sometimes it’s complicated with no fix. Either way, you have to learn, forgive and move on.
I’m hard on myself for errors I make. While I don’t live like a perfectionist or expect everything to go exactly as planned, I hold myself to a high standard to not let people down. I hate letting people down or not being careful enough with my decisions to know how it could effect others in my life.
When you make that mistake – who do you think of first? In my case, it’s always who I affect. It’s my parents, my boss, a client, a guy I’m dating, etc… I am consumed with “how do I make this right, how do I fix this?” My mind goes into panic mode and I lie awake at night thinking about how much I suck.
There is nothing bad about caring…about worrying…about wanting to make things right with those who you have let down along the way. The biggest thing we lose sight of in this mission of seeking forgiveness, is taking care of ourselves.
For those of us selfless people out there, you might think, “how can I think of myself when I totally destroyed this (insert project/relationship/event) and hurt (name)?” It’s like putting an airmask on in a plane, always put it on yourself before others. Growing up I thought that was the dumbest thing to tell people as it went against everything I thought about helping others. However, as I got older I realized you have to equip yourself to be at your best, before you can successfully provide assistance to anyone else.
It hurts to know that a mistake you made could impact your future, especially in ways that you weren’t prepared for initially. Mentally, I feel like telling myself that because I was a dumb idiot, I don’t deserve good things. I should chalk this up as a loss and move on, because I am not worthy of it. Physically, my stomach is in a constant ball of knots and I can’t have a good night of sleep. How do I fix this, how do I make something better that I can’t do over?
My answers come to me when I’m breathing in the fresh air, at my super secret sanctuary that I go to find perspective and maybe cry it out for a little bit. While I feel like rain should be beating the shit out of me and maybe even striking me with a bolt of lightning to shock me back to my common sense, it’s amazing to have a beautiful space to find this clarity.
Putting everything in perspective, I realized I need to forgive myself first. I will never let go or be able to move on effectively if I can’t. I know it’s easier said than done, but I’m on the path to figuring out how to let my mistakes go and accept myself for having made them.
I’m no expert but here are some helpful guidelines I’m following:
1) You will screw stuff up, you will hurt somebody. No matter how hard you try – it’s inevitable. It’s ok to not be perfect.
2) Whats did you learn? What would you change? Make sure you figure it out a plan to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
3) Don’t do it again.
4) Cry a little – throw stuff around – don’t let yourself have ice cream for a week. Whatever you want your punishment to be, don’t hurt yourself in the process. Punishing yourself unjustly will only make you feel worse and set you back more than you deserve.
5) Step back from the heat of the emotions and evaluate how bad the situation really is. Most of the time it’s nothing that we can’t move on from.
Let the fear/guilt/remorse/sadness run through your body, consume your soul, challenge your mind and breathe it out. Let it go forever. Forgive yourself.