Friday, June 27, 2008

The Need To Forgive Yourself

You can't make progress in personal growth until you learn to forgive yourself. Many of us replay our mistakes over and over, adding more self-criticism every time we do it. It's easy to turn a minor misstep into a major stumbling block.

As much as you'd like to be perfect, that's never going to happen. Human beings do make mistakes, and you're5B4 a member of that imperfect species.

Because your life will never be mistake-free, it's crucial that you forgive yourself when you do mess up. If you don't, you'll spend too much of your life in the past rather than in the present and future. Fear of making more mistakes will intimidate you in setting and achieving new goals. You won't grow.

You did the best you could

Personal growth is incremental. We become wise gradually, not all at once. Scolding yourself over mistakes assumes that you had all the knowledge and experience you needed to make a good decision, and often that's just not the case.

Even if you did have all the facts, other elements come into play, like emotional bias and acting too quickly. The mature view is that you did the best you could at the time.

Beating yourself up won't change the past. Instead, take a step back and try to objectively figure out what went wrong. Every mistake contains a lesson, but only if you can be calm enough to dig it out. Acknowledging that you did the best you could at the time takes blame out of the picture, and that makes it easier for you to come away with something worthwhile.

Learning requires an environment of forgiveness

Picture a kindergarten room in which children are learning the names of colors. Each time a child makes a mistake, the teacher smacks him or her on the hands with a ruler.

If you find tha28t action cruel and unacceptable, realize58C that you're doing the same kind of thing to yourself when you won't forgive yourself for your mistakes. We all know that a positive, supportive atmosphere is best for learning. You owe it to yourself to take that attitude toward your own errors.

Remember that you're the teacher as well as the student. When you forgive yourself for your mistakes, you'll motivate yourself to test new approaches and try again. Give yourself a pep talk when you stumble, instead of a chewing-out. Isn't that the kind of teacher you want?

Forgiving yourself helps you forgive others

Like you, everyone else is doing the best they can, too. Maybe their social skills aren't what they could be, but they're struggling as well.

We tend to be harsher on ourselves than we are on others, but why be harsh on anybody? If there's one thing people need, it's forgiveness. You'll just alienate them by pointing out their faults and shortcomings. Chances are they're already painfully aware of them anyway.

Forgiveness, compassion and respect build other people up. They'll build you up too, if you learn to show those qualities toward yourself.

How much and how quickly you grow depends on the way you treat yourself when you make a mistake. When you forgive yourself, you'll not only have more joy in your life, but you'll also see it overflowing into the lives of others.

If you're a single person, you can live a happy, confident, optimistic life using the proven principles in Jack Zavada's new ebook, Single & Sure

Martin Luther King

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