The Importance of Self-Forgiveness
A crucial step on the path to awakening is learning to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself simply means accepting yourself as human. It means coming to terms with all of yourself and not trying to ignore or hide your imperfections but rather learning to embrace them. Self-forgiveness is one of the healthiest ways to perceive life. A precedent on the path to joy and love.
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t able to do this all the time. Sometimes we struggle to do it at all.
My Personal Experience with Self-Forgiveness
Early on in my sobriety, I was guilt-ridden, continually telling myself and others how many bad things I’d done. And believe me, the list is long! But over the years, I’ve learned deep compassion and understanding for myself. Many of my mistakes result from my alcoholism, which is basically a microcosm of an ego gone astray. I’ve recognized the wounded little girl inside me who was acting most often on deep fears and insecurities, even as an adult.
Like everyone else, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, and I wish I could go back and do some of those things differently. But I’ve accepted my mistakes are simply traits of the human condition. We all have our moments of selfishness, jealousy, and lashing out for no reason. Embrace this as your human experience. If you can, maybe even choose to see it with a sense of humor. For me, it is a relief sometimes to admit that I am a little nuts, and my husband and I make jokes about it all the time.
Make an effort not to be so hard on yourself. We’re all human.
How Hard You Are on Yourself is How Hard You Will Be on Your Children
It’s especially important for parents to learn to forgive themselves because how hard you are on yourself is how hard you will be on your children. And it’s a reflection of how hard your children will learn to be on themselves.
Parents have the opportunity to model self-forgiveness by working to not be so hard on themselves. As a parent, if you make a mistake, be kind to yourself. This will teach your kids to be gentle with themselves when they make mistakes. They will mirror the self-love and self-forgiveness that you show them.
Another way to teach your kids self-forgiveness is to watch the way you speak about yourself. If you are self-deprecating in front of your kids, saying things like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we’re late for school again. I suck!” your kids will start to mirror this type of self-talk. At first, it may just be a small inner voice, but eventually, it can evolve into something more detrimental.
For example, if your child has learned negative self-talk, they might say something like, “I can’t believe I only got a B+ on that math test! I suck!” On the other hand, if they learn to be more gentle with themselves and detach their self-worth from their achievements, they may shift their perspective to something like, “I might have gotten a B+ on that math test, but wow, I put so much work into it! I rock!”
Perfection is the Ultimate Non-Acceptance of What Is
Most of us theoretically know that everyone makes mistakes and that trying to do everything right all the time is exhausting and unhealthy. But still, so many of us fall into the trap of perfectionism. I see modern mothers trying so hard to cultivate perfect dinners and tidy houses while trying to stay organized, juggling a thousand activities a day. Getting down on themselves when one little thing falls through the cracks.
One of the most important things to watch out for as a parent is perfectionism. Perfection is the ultimate non-acceptance of what is and of your own humanity. If you are unable to accept your humanness, you will be deathly afraid of making mistakes. This will lead you to run through life mindlessly, trying to make everything perfect. Your kids will notice this and will learn that this is the way life should be.
This perfectionism will significantly impact girls. They will refrain from taking risks in fear of making a mistake and showing their humanness. This can be harmful because it completely disconnects them from themselves.
Forgive Yourself and Forgive Others
Forgiving and moving on are vital to living a happy and peaceful life. It starts with self-forgiveness because it’s not possible to truly forgive others without learning to forgive ourselves. To forgive ourselves, we must find compassion and grace for our humanness. This is where the true forgiveness of others starts.
The basis for ultimate forgiveness is unconditional love. Love for yourself. The longer we wait to acknowledge our humanness and love ourselves, the further we drift from that loving connection to our own souls and children. Forgiveness takes courage, and it’s a tall order. But it’s worth it to keep our kids connected to themselves and in a state of compassion and peace.
Be kind to yourself. Have patience. Find humor in your humanness. Do it for yourself and the ones you love the most.