As women – mothers, wives, partners, daughters, friends, and more – we are very often our worst critic. We are so hard on ourselves—much harder than we are on most anyone else.
Additionally, we consistently judge ourselves—what we do, and do not do; what we do well, and what we think we do poorly. And if we make a mistake? Heaven forbid that should happen! In these situations, we often feel the full brunt of our own wrath—turned inward. In fact, we are likely exponentially harder on ourselves than anyone else is or would be…
Furthermore, when someone hurts us or does something to hurt the ones we love, we can become relentlessly unforgiving as well. Of course, there are some things that are truly unforgivable. But even minor grievances – directed to those we care about – can sometimes be really hard for us to get past.
Yet, we must get past them. We MUST learn to forgive – ourselves and others – to be truly productive, successful, and HAPPY in life.
Here is why you must give yourself – and others – forgiveness to have the best life you can have:
Life is too short for anger and resentment
Life is short, and nobody gets out alive. Thus, harboring judgment, bitterness, and resentment – toward yourself or others – is a waste of time. Often, it shuts you down and closes you up, meaning you miss out on much of life’s beauty and greatness.
Your emotions and feelings are your responsibility alone.
Yes, it is that simple—you get to choose how you feel. This includes how you feel about yourself AND to and about others. It also even includes the things that happen to you and your loved ones (or the things that do NOT but you believe should).
Forgiveness is also a choice. Once you discover that forgiveness is a choice you can make any time and in any situation, it’s a very freeing realization and liberating. It almost-instantly “zaps” the negative power out of the situation and gives you a sense of peace.
No one is making you be mad or angry at yourself.
No one is checking to make sure you are mad at yourself if you do happen to “mess something up.” Thus, give yourself a break. Sure, you can make a promise to yourself to be more careful, considerate, caring, etc. But you don’t have to beat yourself up about mistakes already made or anything in the past.
Likewise, no one is forcing you to hold on to feelings of anger and resentment directed toward someone else. Most likely, if you are doing this, you are not impacting their life at all, or very little. In all probability, YOU are the one suffering from these feelings you are CHOOSING to experience. Thus, YOU can CHOOSE to let those negative feelings go. You don’t necessarily have to forget but you DO need to realize that forgiveness is a gift you are giving yourself.
Here are four specific ways and thoughts to help you learn to practice – and practice – forgiveness today:
- Live each moment as if it were your last. If you were dying, what would it take for you to forgive yourself or someone else? DO THAT TODAY.
- Try directing love at those you can’t forgive—even if that’s yourself. Instead of focusing on the “wrong,” focus on the “right.”
- Try to look at a person (even if it’s you) and not their actions. Everyone has so much going on and it’s not possible for anyone to be perfect. When you attempt to see ALL people – yourself included – as beings with real challenges, hopes, and fears, it’s easier to be forgiving.
- Look for the lesson or good that came from whatever (or whoever) you are trying to forgive. Give gratitude for the lesson and realize how the situation or person changed your life for the better (there is always something once you get accustomed to looking for it).
You’ve probably heard the saying: “Yesterday is HISTORY, tomorrow is a MYSTERY, but today is a GIFT. That is why it is called PRESENT.” That’s a great way to live and is at the root of mindfulness, which many say is the KEY to happiness.