Most of us can forgive all sorts of blips and blunders from our friends and family. We forgive them for leaving. We forgive them for forgetting us. We forgive them for taking their own shit out on us. But when it comes to forgiveness, the hardest people to forgive is ourselves. And for some painful reason, any mistake we make ourselves, we build it up so it is bigger and more jagged, making it harder to tackle and move on from.
My smart and lovely man recently told me, “You are not your mistakes.” And instead of hearing it, I used my twenty twenty vision to “should” all over myself. “I should have been smarter.” “I should have paid more attention.” “I should have tried harder.” But the reality is, my mistakes & ‘failures’ got me here. And here is where I am meant to be – mess and all. And if I continue looking back, it will be nearly impossible to move ahead. I will keep tripping over those damn mistakes. F it! Forgive already. I am not my mistakes.
You are not your mistakes.
One “mistake” I have been punishing myself for is how I did not pay attention to the fact that my business (a bricks and mortar retail store) was slipping financially the year following my son being born. I didn’t tighten the bootstraps for the business or my families budget. I didn’t even look at the numbers. I just kept the status quo. I just kept applying temporary money bandages to stop the hemorrhaging. So now, as things have gotten even harder economically for retail, I have been looking backwards at that mistake. But the reality is, that money is gone. The hit to my credit card and line of credit are still here but I can not change what happened. I can only progress forward. So I acknowledge my mistake and then counter it with positivity:
- I ran my business – doors open, customers happy – with two kids, sleep deprivation, and postpartum. F it! I did that.*
- I did what I could do to keep all the balls in the air at the time. F it!
- There are lessons in those mistakes. And those mistakes have brought me to where I am today. F it!
- And mostly – F it – I am now the proud mama of an adorable wee boy who lights me up way more than any business.
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.
– Paul Boose
* I really want to acknowledge that this was not done on my own. I have an amazing husband and mom who really picked up my slack and offered support when I fell apart.
So what can you forgive yourself for today to allow you to move ahead tomorrow?