“Your principles can’t be extinguished unless you snuff out the thoughts that feed them, for it’s continually in your power to reignite new ones. . . . It’s possible to start living again! See things anew as you once did—that is how to restart life!”MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 7.2
Doing mistakes is a part of being human. We all have done things we are not very proud of. Even the most enlightened person in the world does mistakes. But the problem arises when we start identifying ourselves for the mistakes we did. Rather than chastising yourself for your mistakes, one should learn to practice forgiveness. I found this beautiful definition of forgiveness on this page.
Forgiveness is often defined as a deliberate decision to let go of feelings of anger, resentment, and retribution toward someone who you believe has wronged you. However, while you may be quite generous in your ability to forgive others, you may be much harder on yourself.
As you let go anger, resentment and retribution towards someone else, one also need to learn to let go of this feeling towards oneself by forgiving yourself.
How to practice self-forgiveness
1. Talk to your inner critic
Now when it comes to self-evaluation I sometimes am my worst critic. I have talked in this post about why one should be kind to oneself. I read this somewhere that you shouldn’t say something to yourself which you won’t say to your friend. So, be your friend first and talk to yourself as you will talk to a friend who has done the same mistake. Now, whenever I feel guilty about things I have done, I imagine what would I say to my friend if Zhe has done the same mistake.
2. Don’t play the tape on repeat
We are in the habit of dwelling on our mistakes. We keep replaying the scene in our heads imagining all the different ways we could have reacted. If you are guilty of that like me stop doing it right now. Whenever you find yourself in that loop, make a conscious effort to come out of it. Take a deep breath and say it’s ok. It’s human to make mistakes.
3. Own up your mistakes
Now, there are many times we do something wrong, and deep down we know that we are wrong but we build a wall of defense around us whenever someone else points our mistake to us. In these cases, we keep on dwelling in guilt in our subconscious mind.
I have been guilty of doing that all my life till now. I always found some or other excuse to justify my bad behavior even though I know this is not the best way to react. But once I realized how much it has burdened my heart over years, I had to act on it. I reached out to so many people 2 months back whom I feel I have hurt or wronged due to my behavior and asked forgiveness. I know it has been years now and it doesn’t matter at all, but owning up to my mistakes has lightened such a burden from my heart which I have carrying without even knowing. So, if you are like me, go and ask forgiveness from the people you have wronged, be sincere in your words, they might not forgive you but by doing this process you will forgive yourself.