Embracing mistakes and moving forwardForgive others and forgive yourself not because you should, but because you deserve peace.
I have often seen many cases and incidents where, in hindsight, I come to realise that people aren’t able to let go of the things that have occurred in their lives. They go through various stages of denial and acceptance, and after a long time, they finally forgive others for what has happened. However, what I have come to realise is that they still find it difficult to forgive themselves for having been through those experiences. This is what I want to address: forgiving yourself.
Forgiving yourself is the act of letting go of negative emotions and accepting yourself despite the mistakes and failures that have occurred in the past. It’s about accepting the fact that things have happened and that it’s completely fine. It’s about accepting the fact that even though we may have wanted things to happen a certain way and it hasn’t, that too, is okay. The things that have happened in the past have led you to be where you are, and you are in a better place than you used to be.
Forgiving others for their wrongdoings is a necessary step to healing, but ask yourself: have I forgiven myself? Have I actually accepted the things that have happened in my life, and am I truly unburdened from my past? Unless we answer these questions, it’s difficult to move on.
When I look back on my life, I have done hurtful things to others, and it has caused me misery for a long, long time. Even after I was forgiven for the things I had done, I just couldn’t let go. Even when others had forgiven me, I hadn’t. I still carried immense guilt and shame for the things that had happened. I had been forgiven, and the person must have probably forgotten what had happened, but the memories were still within me. I struggled to move past the incident and found myself replaying the events of the day in my mind at times.
It was only recently that I was able to let go of the feeling. In hindsight, I realise that it was the guilt and shame that I had carried that weighed so heavy in my mind. Though I had been forgiven, I was yet to forgive myself for the things I did.
I had to accept all the guilt and shame I had felt. I also had to accept the fact that I have made a lot of mistakes in the past and I will probably make more in the future. What I must now focus on is not the fear, guilt, shame, and uncertainty, but on the fact that life is about moving forward, and I am learning and growing constantly.
Recently, the concept of self-love has really been helpful to me. “We should love ourselves to love others.” This line has been especially powerful to me. I see that many people go through rough times in their lives. They find it difficult to share even the small things when they are going through a lot, and it’s okay to feel that way. However, sharing what you feel and loving yourself can be the first step we need to embark on our journey of self-help and self-love. And you are never alone.
And one more thing that has been helpful to me is to reflect on things as a whole. What we often do as humans is that we tend to look at either only the negative aspects of something or only focus on the positive aspects. Looking at matters in a binary lens only delays the actual healing process.
Looking at things as a whole is a must to gain a clearer understanding. This has led me to accept all the things that have happened, both good and bad. And this was the step that led me towards letting go and actually forgiving myself for all those things that I had done in the past—accepting things as they are.
You may find that forgiving yourself doesn’t come easily. It takes time, but everything that is worth it takes time. The journey towards self-love and self-care passes through the road of making peace with your past. Holding onto the past will only impede your own growth. Breaking free from the chains of the past requires self-forgiveness. Forgive others and forgive yourself not because you should but because you deserve peace.