Someone I greatly admire used to write annual blogs on her failures of the year. She would recount the mistakes she made in her nonprofit organization and in her life in general. She tore herself open to her tribe and the public, revealing times when she just missed it.
It was raw and vulnerable, but most of all it was cleansing. Once the band aid was ripped off, the wound could be cleaned and would heal. She often spoke of how much she learned from her mistakes.
I began to reflect on my own failures and what I had learned from them, and then I added a step. I asked myself for forgiveness.
We often ask others to forgive us for transgressions against them, we ask God or higher power to forgive us for our sins, but many times we forget to ask ourselves for forgiveness.
Forgiving yourself is the hardest thing to do in my book. I used to beat myself up about the things I missed, the people I trusted that I shouldn’t have, the appointments I was late for or tasks I just absolutely flubbed on.
I realized that I could not move on completely until I forgave myself. Until we forgive ourselves, we will continue to carry the weight and shadow of that mistake and worse than that, we will repeat it.
Here is the method that I use to forgive others and myself:
Every time I think of the offending incident and the person or people involved, I ask God (you may prefer the Universe, higher power, etc.) to bless them. I don’t just leave it at that, I ask for blessings on their jobs, their family, the finances, their health, etc. I include all facets of life that I can think of.
I perform this practice every time it pops up in my mind. Pretty soon, I notice an ease in my mind and body about the situation, person or people. My mind is at peace and I don’t feel anxious when I think about the situation. Furthermore, I don’t have a pit or sinking in bottom of my stomach and my shoulders feel relaxed. I know then, that I have truly forgiven them.
I do the same thing for myself, but I often look in the mirror and say to myself “I’m sorry for…” whatever specific offense was done on my part.
I include the specific mistake that I made and then pray blessings on myself, my family, my organization, my friends, my finances, my health, etc. I do this until I feel some ease about the situation. Then and only then do I feel confident that I have forgiven myself.
The band aid has been ripped off. I have torn myself open, and been raw and vulnerable with myself. The wound is now clean and healed.
I can move on to succeed and prosper in all facets of my life because I have made peace with myself.