Forgive Yourself! | You are NOT Perfect
We are ALL human! We are NOT perfect! So, why is it that we can forgive others so easily, but when it comes to ourselves it seems, basically futile? I constantly tell others that forgiveness is a CHOICE and we have the power to choose whether we will or will not forgive. This concept is not rocket science and it is as simple as 1, 2, 3. So, what’s the problem?
During my amazing career as a runway model, I realized I learned a vicious pattern of behavior that proved destructive to myself. As I started to pay attention to how I talked to myself, I realized I was not only brutal, but counter productive to the success pursued. When it came to making even the simplest of mistakes, I would tear myself apart. It was during that time of self-evaluation I realized it all starts with recognizing that NO ONE IS PERFECT; not even me. It’s the understanding that you are who are and you don’t have to be perfect, actually you’re not meant to be, was a hard pill to swallow for me. Then as I learned more about myself and started liking who I am, flaws and all, the impossibly high standards began to disappear. And a new standard arose, to just do my best and be the best ME I can be.
My experience of self-forgiveness sounds so simple when summed up in couple sentences, but there is a lot more to it than that, such as understanding WHY we have trouble forgiving ourselves. Some of the most common reasons are:
Self-punishment. Some people believe they aren’t worthy of forgiveness. They will mentally replay painful moments and keep themselves trapped in that event because they believe they deserve it. It’s important to remember that making mistakes is an inevitable part of life, and you can either learn from it and grow, or run from it and allow it to prevent you from the success you deserve. You have the power of choice.
“All or nothing” thinking. This is when people believe that if they don't complete something with absolute precision, it’s a waste of time. This black and white thinking pattern will cause you to function in concrete thinking that may ultimately rob you of your happiness, contentment and success. I encourage you to embrace a new perspective by exploring the opposite of what you think.
Acceptance. A lot of people have a hard time accepting themselves and until we learn to love and accept ourselves for who we are, forgiveness can almost seem impossible. Accepting who you are is one of the primary foundations of happiness.
Identify. Identifying why you are having trouble forgiving yourself is an extremely important step in this process. The next step is to retrain your brain and embrace a different pattern of thinking. I recommend the following tips:
Perspective. Put the situation in perspective. Try and think of the situation you’re working on forgiving yourself for, and now try and think of it from an objective point of view. Are you thinking about this problem rationally?
Best friend method. Picture your best friend playing your role and making the same mistakes that you did. You’ll probably say things to them such as, “you did your best” and “it was just one mistake.” Now repeat those phrases back to yourself with full conviction. If you can commit and believe what you’re saying, a feeling of relief will overcome you.
Believe. Believe that you are worth it. If you have a shattered and broken view of yourself, the thought of forgiving yourself may even make you feel even more guilty. But in order to reclaim your life, it is an imperative first step. Forgiving yourself does not mean your disregarding and forgetting the event, actually quite the opposite, it means that you won’t allow that moment in your life to define you, and that you are a continually evolving person learning from your mistakes along the way. No matter how big or small they may be, taken a lesson from it and leave the rest behind.
Love. Learn to love yourself. Probably to best way to achieve self-forgiveness is to love yourself. Love your flaws and learn that they are what make you unique and you were given them for a reason. Embrace every part of yourself with love and compassion, and forgiveness will take over.
EMOTIONAL MOJO SHOW QUICK RECAP:
Tips to forgive yourself:
Why can’t we forgive ourselves for being a PERFECTIONIST?
2) Self-punishment, Self-hatred
3) Distorted thought patterns
4) Dysfunctional family-of-origin issues
Do you feel like an imposter?
Are you terrified of failure?
Are you very successful and still very unhappy?
Are you overly anxious about your professional or personal performance?
Do you become angry when others joke or laugh with you?
If you answered YES to at least 3 of these questions, you may be a PERFECTIONIST and the first step to facing this problem is to FORGIVE YOURSELF!
How to forgive yourself:
1) IDENTIFY why you must be perfect (look at the list)
2) CONSIDER consequences of not forgiving (anger, resentment, fear,
3) UNDERSTAND that most perfectionism is rooted in poor self-concept
4) EMBRACE your mistakes as perfection (YOU are human!)
One thing to do today: Admit to yourself and to an accountability partner that you are a perfectionist; and CHOOSE to laugh at your mistakes.
If you fully carry out these steps and allow yourself to realize you are worthy of forgiveness, the changes that take place can be unimaginable.
Let me know what you think!
Jada Jackson, LMHC
Talk Show Host of Emotional Mojo
Author of Be-You-Tiful: The Threefold Process to Becoming You
Blogger and Author of Jada Jackson: My Story, My Life