Being more forgiving of yourself
Hello my dear listener! Welcome back to yet another episode of Morning cup of Sunshine podcast and a very warm welcome to those who are joining me for the first time. I sincerely hope that you stick around for more episodes. Today I am going to try to talk about a very sensitive topic. We have all been there. We made some mistakes, forgot to send that extremely important mail at work, missed the birthday of your kid because you were travelling for work, shared too much in a party, or made a completely wrong career choice or you might have hurt someone intentionally or unintentionally. I can go on and on but I guess you got my point, right?. We have all been there. We all had our fair share of mistakes. But rather than moving on, we tend to linger in the past and blame ourselves for these mistakes. Today, I want to talk about the ways you can forgive yourself. So let’s start, shall we?
Step 1 : Acknowledge and accept
As always, there is no better way to start forgiving yourself than accepting yourself. This is the first step in any self improvement journey. Why are you holding a grudge against yourself? Why are you blaming yourself for every small mistake? Just think about it, what are you getting from blaming yourself? What are you achieving from making yourself feel guilty all the time? Nothing, am I right? Then what is the purpose of all that blame, guilt and shame? Let’s start accepting that you are a human being with a million different emotions. Let’s accept the fact that life is never just black or white, right or wrong. There is a lot of grey. There are so many actions that fall in between right and wrong. There is no shame in acknowledging your mistake. You were supposed to send the important email today but you forgot and now you are blaming yourself the next day, feeling guilty, feeling ashamed. You absolutely have no courage to even talk to your superiors. How about you first accept that okay, you made a mistake. You did not do it on purpose. So, let’s start first by acknowledging the mistake, that is the stepping stone. Then comes the crucial step of changing your point of view. Instead of looking at your blunder as a huge mistake, let’s look at it as a learning experience.
Step 2 : Learning experience
First of all let me tell you one thing, I am not at all saying you should not feel bad at all about the mistakes you made. Of course that is the sign of good conscience. You are a better person for acknowledging and accepting your mistakes. I am okay with a few minutes of frustration after you missed your train because you woke up late. I understand that but I am against labelling yourself, burdening yourself with guilt. I am against thinking of yourself as a failure. I would rather want you to learn from the experience and think about what you can do tomorrow so that you don’t miss that train again. Can you set your alarm to 10 minutes earlier than usual? Can you save some time by taking a different route to the train station? Can you prepare a few things in advance so that your mornings are not as rushed as they are right now? You take any example, I guarantee you that you will find at least some learning experience from that mistake. I am a firm believer of the goodness in people. There is so much to learn and experience in this world that we are bound to falter while taking new challenges, making new memories, having those experiences. No one is absolutely perfect. Every single soul falters sometime or the other. But if we start to go on a guilt trip for every small mistake then there won’t be any time left to create those new experiences. Every night, when I tell my kids bedtime stories, I realize how tired I am, and sometimes, I am just telling them the stories as a normal chore. Every time they ask for one more story, my natural reaction tends to be no , please it’s enough. I know in my heart that these precious moments are not going to last forever. They are not going to be this small forever, one day they are not going to demand for stories one after another. But at that moment, that one day seems like a far-fetched reality, I just want to go to sleep and to be very honest sometimes, I break their heart and say no to them. But then when I lie in my bed, wide awake feeling all guilty for saying no to such a simple request, I decide to do better the next day. I decide to start the bedtime earlier so I get more time to tell that one more story, to say yes to that one more cuddle. Today’s moment has already passed, there is no point of feeling guilty but tomorrow is till mine and I can learn from what went wrong today and decide to better tomorrow.
Step 3 : Apologize
One thing that goes a long way when it comes to forgiveness is apologizing for your mistake. There is no shame in accepting and apologizing for your mistakes. It doesn't make you less of a person. It is simply a gesture to show your openness to acceptance. It truly shows your kind heart and pure soul. Saying sorry is not difficult but saying sorry as if you really mean it is the most important thing here. Sometimes we say sorry too frequently so much that it loses its purpose. Say it only when you truly mean it. But you know what, I have a little different take on this one. For most of us, it comes naturally to say sorry to others but tell me how many times have you said sorry to yourself for being so harsh to yourself? How many times have you said sorry to yourself for letting yourself down, for body shaming yourself, for hurting yourself with negative words, for labeling yourself lazy, fat, not good enough, less confident, not tall enough, not fair enough, not brave enough. Have you ever apologized to yourself for being so hard on yourself? No, right? Today, I want you to look in the mirror and just say I am sorry for all those harsh words, ruthless comments. Apologize and I am sure you will find a way to forgive yourself for all your small, big, silly, trivial, big , bold mistakes.
Step 4 : Positive self talk
The last and very important step is to include positive self talk as part of your daily routine. I have included a very simple and tiny habit in my routine for the past few weeks. It is not my original idea, I heard it in one of Rachel Hollis’s podcast episodes. She suggested that you should say one small affirmation as soon as you wake up. I am having the best day ever. This is the affirmation. As soon as you wake up, just say, I am having the best day ever. I know it sounds too good to be true, too simple to work. But trust me, this has changed my entire outlook towards the upcoming day. I have been having very very busy work days for the past couple of months and everyday as soon as I wake up the first thing on my mind used to be work. I immediately start feeling tense, worried and overwhelmed with all the tasks that I have to accomplish on that day. I could not take my mind off of work. But then after hearing this podcast episode, I decided to give it a shot. The next day, I woke up and mumbled to myself, I am having the best day ever. To be very honest, I had zero belief that this was going to work. But at least rather than thinking about work, I thought about something else for few minutes. Throughout the day whenever I realized I had a moment, I repeated this affirmation. To my surprise, by the end of the day, I was feeling really good. I had the same amount of work, I had the same number of calls, I still had to cook, clean and work on my household chores. But I had more energy to workout in the evening, I was not as tired as I used to be after finishing the work. I was much more cheerful, I was really present when kids were talking all about their day. Just before going to bed, I realized I really had the best day ever in a long time. I have been saying this one small affirmation ever since and I truly notice a difference in my mindset. I want you to try this for a week and let me know if you notice a difference too. Positive self talk and good vibes that come with that are really important in your journey of self forgiveness. Talking to yourself with positivity, grace and compassion is not that difficult my friend, you can become your true best friend. Know yourself better, love yourself more, let loose of all those stubborn concepts of perfection, don’t hold yourself to unattainable standards. You are a human being, you are going to have big, bold dreams, you are going to take up challenges, you are going to take new paths, you are going to climb new mountains and in all those challenges you are bound to falter, make mistakes, lose traction, get distracted. These all things are part of your journey. They don’t make you weak, a failure or a bad person. They simply make you human. You try, you fail, you learn, you try again, fail again, relearn and that’s how you grow !!