“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
No matter how much we may understand the futility of holding onto anger, forgiveness can be a challenging thing. And for whatever reason, this can be particularly true with self-forgiveness.
We as humans tend to be hardest on ourselves, and the guilt and shame of our own mistakes can be the stickiest. They are both the hardest to look at and the hardest to let go of.
But life is not about perfection. It’s about learning and growth. And our so-called “mistakes” offer us precious opportunities to come to terms with what we do and do not want for ourselves. They show us where we are still holding pain that needs to be healed, resentments that need to be addressed, and patterns that are ready to be let go of.
In witnessing our missteps, we are able to know ourselves more fully and to step into ourselves more truly. By showing us what we do not want for ourselves, we are given the opportunity to step boldly toward what we do.
Understanding the nature of life as an opportunity for evolution rather than a quest for perfection helps us to take our own “mistakes” more lightly. Rather than viewing our past through the lens of right and wrong, we can step into that place of compassionate witness, knowing that every decision was born of the needs, experiences, information, and resources available in that moment. We might not always like what comes of those driving factors, but with love and compassion, we are able to see how they led us to where we are.
This not only frees us of the pain of self-judgment, it also gives us the clarity and discernment needed to take those next steps toward our greatest expression of self.
To explore this concept in your own life, try asking yourself the following questions:
• Where am I still holding shame or judgment toward myself?
• Am I able to sit with the feelings this brings up without trying to push them away?
• What need was present in my motivation to think or act in this way? Can I find compassion for the part of me that was seeking to meet this need, even if I would have preferred to have done it in another way?
• What has this experience taught me about myself? What is it calling me to look at, part with, or bring into my life?