You have screwed up in the past. You will screw up again.
“You have screwed up in the past. You will screw up again. Every human is born with ability to make spectacular mistakes. You are not alone, screwing up is not your special skill. Get over it. Dragging around guilt and self-criticism is beyond unhealthy and is utterly pointless, not to mention boring. You aren’t a better person for feeling guilty or bad about yourself, just a sadder one.
Get clear on this one truth: guilt, shame and self-criticism are some of the most destructive forces in your life, which is why forgiving yourself is one of the most powerful”
~ Jen Sincero
I don’t know about anyone else, but these are some of the best words I have ever read.
I have carried around an immense amount of blame, guilt and self-criticism for the longest time. Lugging around all of my past mistakes like a rookie traveller; unable to enjoy the present moment because I had a 40kg pack of unnecessary crap with me.
Exactly as said above, I beat myself to a pulp, time and time again, over mistakes and misdemeanors. I never once stopped to think — hey, I wonder if anyone else has ever made mistakes before? I really acted as if screwing up was my special power and specific to me alone— a little self-indulgent to say the least…
I have had more than my fair share of tears, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and drunken self-sabotage over the years.
I also now know most of which were self-inflicted and created by my mind.
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened” ~ Mark Twain
You know the scene in The Da Vinci Code, where the albino practices self-flagellation? He beats himself and ties barbwire around his leg to punish himself for his ‘sinful’ actions or thoughts. Sorry to throw a graphic image at you, but guess what? We all do this, every time we wallow in blame and self-criticism, we are punishing ourselves and the scars remain.
Worst yet, when we allow ourselves to ruminate in these thoughts — we end up repeating the exact same mistakes. I spent years running from job to job, relationship to relationship, even country to country.
*Mistake, feel bad, punish myself, repeat*
Kind of lame to tell the truth.
When is enough, enough?
Saying out loud in a stream of tears one night “I don’t like myself” was my breaking point. Then, for the next year I went through the equivalent of an emotional detox. I was ridding myself of the negative toxins I had let build up over the years and the reaction was almost as severe.
Everything started coming up and out of my pores. Anger, frustration, hate, blame… everything I had carried around with me for so long was now coming to the surface.
I was argumentative and emotional in my relationship, unhappy and bitter in my job (the first time I resented my role ever), I was aloof when talking to others, or shut people out altogether, I was even miserable to a friend who came to visit me in Croatia.
I am not proud of any of this, but the dam had broken and all I could do was let it run its course.
I was facing my fears and demons, yet, throughout the entire process I continued to beat on myself. I was mentally and physically exhausted. Finally, something clicked; I saw, being miserable and down on myself wasn’t working, something needed to change.
I needed to forgive myself.
This realization didn’t announce itself in a golden ray of light. It was more a soft, almost inaudible whisper — love yourself, forgive yourself.
And so, I started being every-so-slightly kinder towards myself. Whenever I saw self-deprecating remarks pop-up in my mind, I tried to release them or replace them with kinder words. Little by little, I could feel my load lighten. For the past six months I have been doing everything self-help books recommend:
Starting my day with gratitude, kind words, taking care of my health & well-being (mind, body, soul), devouring personal development books, anything and everything to make myself feel good.
It sounds cheesy and I felt ridiculous standing in front of a mirror telling myself — I love you. But guess what?
Funny to think that we can berate ourselves on a daily basis, but whispering or even thinking the words — I love, I forgive you — feels uncomfortable; aren’t we just gluttons for punishment?..
Eventually, from this love & kindness, came forgiveness, and from forgiveness — even more love!
I am not 100% there yet, but I am learning to like myself more every day. Memories and regrets still have a tendency to resurface, but I am learning to acknowledge them, forgive myself and let them go.
Forgiveness and healing is not a fixed point in time, it is an ongoing process.
I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, or presume your path is the same as mine. The only thing I know for sure is that we are all human, we are all beautifully flawed and capable of making spectacular mistakes.
However, where we go from there is up to us. No one gets out of this thing called life alive, so why do we take ourselves so seriously?
Think about this for a second — we are the ONE person, with us for our entire lives. Shouldn’t we be our own best friend, our own ally? There will always be others to judge us (no matter what we do), so how about we make it our personal mission to leave the judgment for them and –
Let that shit go.
Don’t mistake forgiving ourselves for making excuses either. When we make excuses, we remain in a victim mentality and continue to go through the above motions. Forgiveness however, means we accept responsibility; it puts us in the driver’s seat, we accept our flaws, learn from them, AND…
So, FORGIVE YOURSELF, you won’t regret it.
Hey, thanks for reading this far, if you enjoyed the piece, why not go ahead and click on the little green heart to recommend to others.
Also, if you enjoyed reading this, I highly recommend getting your hands on — “You Are A Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and star living an awesome life” ~ Jen Sincero