We have a real tendency to be our harshest critics. We often judge ourselves without compassion. It is so important to learn how to be kind to yourself and treat yourself with care. A core principle of self love is the ability to be able to forgive yourself.
Everyone makes mistakes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There isn’t a single one of us that hasn’t been wracked with guilt over decisions we’ve made or actions we’ve taken.
The other evening, after a long day at work and a long evening at home working through various things, that the Virgo in me, assured me, had to be done THAT day, I found myself unnecessarily snapping at my daughter. She immediately burst into tears and went to her room. She is 5. I’m not 5. I was 5 what can only be described as an eternity ago. The guilt made me feel sick, which led to tears. Ten to fifteen minutes later, she came to me, still crying and said ‘mummy I’m sorry’. My heart sank. This beautiful child, thought that my reaction was due to something that she had done wrong.
We spent that next half an hour talking, cuddling, laughing and then meditating before bed. She was fine. I had to allow myself to be fine too.
Had my outburst done any permanent damage to her? Doubtful.
The key here was the time we shared, after the unpleasant moment. It literally was just that. A moment.
Learning to forgive myself has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had in my adult life. Unfortunately guilt is something most of us pick up throughout our early life, and it is so normalised, through punishment and shaming, that we accept it, and own it, making it a part of who we are. When we do something, or say something that we’re not proud of, that guilty feeling is almost what we tell ourselves we should, and deserve to feel.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
It feels so heavy on the heart to carry feelings of guilt around and in my opinion it is as damaging and unhelpful as anger in my opinion.
Accept you humanity. Understand that you will have moments where you will look back and wish you had reacted differently. All you can do is make a commitment to yourself to try for a different outcome next time. The chance is you will slip up again, learn from your mistakes and move on quickly.
Be kind to yourself, and protect your feelings. There is no need to punish yourself when something goes wrong. Love yourself enough to say ‘It’s ok, it happened, and I’ll try my best to make sure it doesn’t happen again’.
It doesn’t matter, how many times you need to say those words to yourself. We can always make a conscious effort to learn, grow, and evolve. Keep moving forward, that’s all that matters.