Forgiveness Starts with You

Recently I’ve noticed a similar theme cropping up for many of my clients. They’ve been telling me they aren’t happy with how they’ve been behaving. They’re mad at themselves for an overreaction they had. They’re upset because they know they’ve been holding onto something for too long, or they think they are coming up short in some way.

The issue with being upset with yourself is that you end up internalizing the problem, and blowing it out of proportion. One of my clients was experiencing overwhelm at work, which suddenly became a problem with the kids, money issues, and on and on. Another client had money concerns and suddenly they started to feel as though they couldn’t do anything right. Across the board, my clients were questioning their abilities, even with tasks they were naturally good at. I have also seen this happen to myself. I lose confidence in one area and my confidence falls all over the place.

I think Wayne Dyer summed it up well when he said, “I recommend being gentle with yourself and loving yourself unconditionally, regardless of what comes your way.” But we seem to have a hard time following that advice. We are willing to forgive others long before we consider forgiving ourselves. We can accept that our kids/friends/family are struggling in one area without making them totally evil, horrible people. But when it comes to ourselves, we make sweeping judgements and declarations. We beat ourselves while we’re already down. Each of us handles these overwhelming emotions in a different way; some hide, some get more aggressive or controlling and some give up completely.

No matter how you handle these types of situations, pay attention when it starts happening. Take a moment, forgive yourself for the original behaviour that caused the downward spiral, and then work to find a solution. You are not perfect, you will (and are allowed) to make mistakes, just like the rest of the people in your life. It’s not about the mistake anyway, it’s about your ability to handle it. Allowing one mistake to snowball makes it so much harder to deal with the actual problem.

See yourself as your own best friend. If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t even bother thinking it about yourself.