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Everyone Makes Mistakes, This Is How You Can Love and Forgive Yourself

Everyone Makes Mistakes, This Is How You Can Love and Forgive Yourself

It’s undeniable–we all make mistakes. It’s in our nature as humans to fail, whether it’s in our work environment, our family life, or our relationships. We are all doomed to disappoint ourselves at some point, but that doesn’t mean we have to succumb to self-deprecation. Living with a mistake is difficult, and learning to forgive yourself afterwards is even harder, I know. However, if you continue to let your messes define instead of better you, then you’ll only be making your life more troublesome than it would be otherwise. Instead of sobbing into a carton of Ben & Jerry’s and hoping the spoonfuls of milky sugar will somehow take the pain of the past away, follow these guaranteed steps toward self-forgiveness and you’ll be on the right road to recovery in no time. Who knows, you might just find the motivation to close the ice cream lid in here too.

1. Reflect on why you did what you did.

There’s always a reason behind any conscious wrongdoing. Always. Often we get so caught up in our emotions following the incident that we forget to acknowledge the causes leading up to it. If you hit another car while driving, think about what you were doing in the moments before the accident. Were you flipping through radio stations? Were you checking your phone? If not, chances are something else distracted you or blocked your line of vision. Take time to really think about these things and write them down on a piece of paper. It helps to identify the small details before you start looking at the big picture again.

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2. Spend some quality time with yourself.

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    The one thing I’ve found that continuously helps me cope with anything I’m experiencing is taking time to truly be alone, especially when I’m in the self-hatred phase. However, this doesn’t mean sit on your couch and binge-watch TV shows on Netflix. This means get out, go somewhere, and do something with yourself. Call it a “me date” if you must. I find taking runs or walks alone to be the best type of non-prescription medicine, but not everyone finds their therapy in nature. As long as you go spend time alone doing something you love, you can’t go wrong from there.

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    3. Talk to someone who has gone through something similar.

    Don’t get me wrong, spending time alone is great. But it’s not the only thing you should do to deal with your troubles. You need to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through, or find a forum online discussing a related issue to yours. You can even go to a counselor! I promise you, it’s not going to help to keep your feelings to yourself. People are always there to lend you good advice. You just need to seek it out.

    4. Be honest with yourself and those you may have hurt.

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      The most difficult task, besides self-forgiveness, is often the act of admitting the mistake. It’s so easy to come up with excuses or find ways to skirt around the subject. However, at the end of the day, honesty is the best policy and the one that will ultimately set you free. So be open with yourself and the people you may have pained along the way. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable even if it means the very worst. This goes back to the biblical saying, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” If someone wronged you, you’d want to know so why shouldn’t the same apply the other way around? Think about it. Karmic retribution is a thing.

      5. Have some good ol’ fashioned fun.

      So you’re feeling pretty down and probably guilty. You feel as though it’s only just that you take time to mope about the problem at hand, but the question is for how long? Yes, everyone is allowed to feel the way they’re feeling and act accordingly to their emotions. However, you can’t beat yourself up forever. At some point, you have to tell yourself that what’s past is past and nothing you do right now is going to change that. Instead of continuously reflecting on what could have been done to prevent the mistake, give yourself a break and go have some fun. Go to the movies, hang out with friends, take that exercise class you’ve been dying to try, and for a moment, focus on the present. After all, life is short. Why spend it unhappy?

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      6. Seek self-improvement.

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        The last and final step of the self-forgiveness process comes as a no-brainer, but one we all need to remind ourselves of. When we do something that conflicts with our values or ideals, we get so wrapped up in the temporary nuisance of it all that we forget to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak–that light being the result of our reparation. The only way to truly learn to forgive ourselves for mistakes we’ve made is to make amends as necessary. Take your faults as opportunities to seek betterment and work on them from there. It’s not easy, and no one ever said it would be, but learning from failure is what makes us all healthier and happier people in the end. I guarantee that if you start to see your mistakes for the positive change they inspire, you’re bound to find success later on.

        Featured photo credit: Forgive./Tony Webster via flic.kr

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        Last Updated on August 6, 2020

        6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

        6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

        We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

        “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

        Are we speaking the same language?

        My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

        When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

        Am I being lazy?

        When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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        Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

        Early in the relationship:

        “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

        When the relationship is established:

        “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

        It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

        Have I actually got anything to say?

        When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

        A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

        When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

        Am I painting an accurate picture?

        One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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        How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

        Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

        What words am I using?

        It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

        Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

        Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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        Is the map really the territory?

        Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

        A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

        I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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