How are you at forgiving? Are you the type to hold a grudge or is it easy for you to let things go — to let it s-l-l-i-i-i-d-e.
How are you at forgiving yourself?
Many times, perhaps even most times, we are more gentle, loving and kind to other people — even perfect strangers — than we are to ourselves.
We allow non-productive, negative, defaming, even mean thoughts to replay in our own heads over and over and over.
We beat ourselves up for choices we’ve made, for promises we broken, even for unintentional mistakes. We berate ourselves, put ourselves down and call ourselves names like stupid, idiot, forgetful. Would we talk to our children like that? Would we talk to people we love like that?
What if today, and going forward in the future, we made a purposeful, deliberate and intentional choice to be kinder to ourselves?
What if we could forgive ourselves for our perfect imperfections? For not being perfect parents or partners or leaders. Forgive ourselves for not saying the right thing at the right time, for being silent when we should have spoken up, for speaking up when we should have been silent. For taking the biggest piece of cake or for taking the smallest piece of cake.
For all the things we have done that make us entirely human.
If we can learn from each of these failings, maybe, just maybe, they aren’t failings after all — just opportunities for growth. If we can learn from them, then maybe we can forgive ourselves, maybe we can be gentle and loving and kind with ourselves — as we should be.
What if we could say something nice to ourselves upon walking each morning and before we collapse into bed each night? That would be a pleasant diversion from the usual cacophony.
In the spirit of setting a good example, I’ll go first.
Today I forgive myself — for the past and for the present. For not being a perfect wife or a perfect mom or perfect speaker for not being a perfect radio show host or columnist, for not taking better care of my body, for eating the whole slab of fudge.
I was doing the best I could at the time with the information I had.
I forgive myself and I commit to learning every day to make sure I have the skills and information I need to make better choices.
And … I declare today Forgive Yourself Day.
Yep — before we can forgive others, we must truly forgive ourselves.
Forgive Yourself Day — I like it!
Stephanie Staples is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org