“The more you know yourself, the more you forgive yourself.” — Confucius
It was October, and I was starting to get into another another "I should have known better!" session. I was in a situation that was zapping my joy! I was not happy with the situation and I needed to navigate my way through this space. What had I missed this time? What had I not considered? Had I not learnt from the last time? Was I always going to find myself in this place? Was I never going to learn?
I was slowly moving from objectively questioning myself to an accusatory and self blame state. I was turning my bad decisions into who I was. It was at that point that I discovered that I had not fully explored the great power of forgiveness. I was willingly sending myself to the guillotine for my failure in judgement ! I was executing myself for something that I had the power to make better ! What was I doing?
I believe in forgiveness. I believe that it is the greatest blessing an imperfect human can receive. I treasure the value it brings to humanity. I am filled with wonder every-time I see it happen in practice. According to psychology today, forgiveness is ultimately about choosing to offer ourselves love—and with it, freedom. I want to be the person who can embrace and apply this concept. I want to learn how to be better at forgiving myself. So off I went for a bit of friend therapy and a couple of coaching sessions. I learnt that being kinder to myself and honouring who I am in every situation was what I needed to practice in order to be better at forgiving myself.
Being kinder meant loving myself in every moment and speaking kindly to myself in every moment. I should be warm and affectionate when I consider myself and the decisions I make. I do not make poor choices or poor decisions on purpose. They happen because I do not have sufficient information or knowledge at that point in time to make the best decisions. I should therefore see this as an opportunity to learn and grow.
So my journey started with speaking to myself in a warm and affectionate way; replacing my accusatory and self-blaming questions with more positively worded thoughts. Examples were:
1. I did not expect to be unhappy in this situation, what can I do to get an outcome that respects both myself and others?
2. What can I learn from how I made decisions about this situation so that I can be better next time?
3. This was not the outcome I intended, I do not feel happy about it but I want to make it right and I want to learn.
4. Oh! Now I see how I went wrong with this. This is how I will fix it. Next time I will ...
Being kinder also meant acknowledging that I do not always get it right the first time I make decisions. I am human. I get better at making decisions over time.
Using this new awareness helped me navigate the situation I was dealing with positively. I evaluated my decision and the result, identified my next steps and put them all in motion. I had found a pathway to minimising the guilt, shame and regret. I had found a path to freedom. I guess I could call this forgiveness :-)
Honour covers respect, esteem, honesty and integrity. It is about recognising who I truly am, embracing who I am and working in harmony with myself. I needed to be honest with myself and respect my decision making process. When I have had experience with something , I am usually spot on with my decisions. If it is a completely new arena, then I tend to explore options and tweak them as I go along. The aim is to find the most optimum pathway. This approach is fraught with huge risks. This approach leads me to great victories and also great failures, similar to a scientist seeking the ultimate prize. Thinking about my decisions and life in that format filled me with pride. I always bravely rise to challenges that are beyond me. Pride in my ability to fall and still get up the next day ready to battle the best of the best. Joy in my heart for the passion I feel for myself and my dreams. I am still fully alive in the experience of life! In everything I experience I am determined to give birth to the desire that is consistent with what I want to do! Is this not worth honour?
Life is finite and every moment is precious. The more time I am spending going oh that wasn't what I expected, let me tweak it ; the more I enjoy the gift of being alive. I am finding more self acceptance, wisdom, peace and joy. What more could a girl in an everchanging and challenging world want ...