The 7th July 2014 is Global Forgiveness Day. This got me thinking about when should you forgive and how much holding a grudge impacts on ourselves regardless of whether it’s ‘justified’. Years ago a teacher said to me “when you point a finger at someone else three fingers point back at you”. To be honest this frustrated me at the time. I just wanted to deal with the classmate who had annoyed me! Now I’m older I can see the value in this as resentment or worse hatred is so toxic and like osmosis can start to infiltrate into all parts of your life.
If this is the case with other people, how poisonous must it be not to forgive yourself? That constant reel in your head which says ‘why didn’t I…’, ‘I should have known better…’, ‘My thighs/stomach/arms are too fat’, ‘I’m so stupid to have…’ and so on and so on.
Think back over the main successes in your life and how many have come from you hating yourself and how many from encouragement? I don’t know about you, but in thinking back over my life I found that whilst sometimes a bit of tough love could get me going or help overcome procrastination but in the main, the times I really thrived were those when I felt positive and focused on my strengths.
[Tweet “Is it time to forgive yourself?”]
As I’ve written about before I can struggle with setting too high standards for myself and then beating myself up if I fall short or not congratulating myself if I do achieve as ‘of course I should have’. I’m trying hard to focus on what I can control – the input eg how much effort I put in, rather than the output and going easier on myself when I ‘fail’ the frankly ridiculous targets I set myself. Whether it’s a weight loss goal, a business goal or trying to gain more balance in your life a bit of self-compassion goes a long way. Say you’re trying to eat more healthily and end up eating and drinking way more than you intended on a Friday night. If you wake up and start beating yourself up on Saturday morning you’ll feel bad and probably be likely to comfort eat your way through the weekend (it’s ruined anyway!) and start again Monday. Wouldn’t it be better to give yourself and break and think what can you do to feel good right away? Maybe that’s a healthy breakfast and a walk outside or a long hot bath reading a magazine. This surely is going to make it easier to work out how you can do better next time. Allowing you to treat something as a lesson rather than a failure.
[Tweet “A bit of self-compassion goes a long way”]
So I think it’s time to forgive myself and what’s more, I also think it’s time to start congratulating myself and celebrating those little wins.
Do you forgive yourself and celebrate wins? Let me know below or via email. This is something I’m still working on so can you help me and remind me if (when!) I forget?