How many times do we lambaste ourselves for our supposed “crimes?” How many times do we look into the mirror with loathing? How often do we call ourselves “stupid” or “clueless” or “ugly” or “worthless?” We are quick to comfort a friend when they are down on themselves; we build them up with positive words and examples of how good they are.
And yet, we often cannot do this for ourselves. We make a slight mistake, and we sacrifice ourselves on our own altars for it. What a waste of time! We would show kindness and forgiveness to anyone else but ourselves. And yet we give ourselves no break, no room for a mistake, no forgiveness.
Such a shame; we don’t deserve this. If a friend told you that they had done something “dumb” and felt bad about it, wouldn’t we be right there to tell them how wrong they are? And what a good person they are? And how you respect and value them just as they are?
So why is it so hard to do the same thing for ourselves? We can be so terribly hard and unforgiving on ourselves; often over the very same things our friend did. We comforted them for these things, didn’t we? So why is it so hard for us to forgive ourselves?
We may think that we are unworthy, or stupid or just plain bad. I would venture to say that most of us are not bad at all, not stupid, and not terrible people. We are just plain old humans with our human foibles and misunderstandings.
Over the years, I would often lose sleep over something I said or did years ago that I was still ashamed about. I finally realized that this behavior was having a terrible effect on my sleep, my sense of self; my very life. So I made an intentional shift in my thinking.
For example, the things I did as a child that I used to anguish over—I learned to say to myself “I was a child! I didn’t know better, and I forgive myself.” The things I did as an adult took a bit more finesse; I would tell myself out loud “I didn’t know then what I know now, and I am sorry.”
The first time I saw the Disney movie, “Frozen,” I fell in love with the song Elsa sang, “Let It Go.” From then on, when I got all wound up about something I shouldn’t have said or done, I made the appropriate apologies to the injured party. And then I would say out loud “let it go!”
Just as being down on ourselves became a habit, being kind to ourselves can also become a habit. If we do something wrong, or something that hurts another person, we can make amends and ask their forgiveness. Once given, we can let that hurt go, and truly “let it go.”
You really are ok as you are.