Maybe it’s in the middle of the night, and you wake up, your thoughts gripped by that one moment, a cringe-worthy memory from the past, or perhaps a recent mistake that keeps replaying in your mind.
We’ve all been there, trapped in a relentless cycle of self-critique. It’s in these moments that we need to learn the art of letting go and practicing self-compassion.
Step 1: Acknowledge the Mistake
The first step in freeing yourself from the grip of past mistakes is to acknowledge them. It’s not always easy. Often, there’s shame or embarrassment surrounding our missteps, making us want to push them aside.
The internal critic, the bully, or the perfectionist within us is not evil; it’s trying to help us become better or protect us from judgment and rejection. So, sit down and honestly examine what went wrong. What was the situation? Why did it happen? What were you thinking? It’s crucial to look past the shame and guilt and truly understand your actions.
Engage in a dialogue with that inner critic and ask,
What do you want me to know?
What are you worried about?
What message are you trying to convey?
Acknowledgment is the first step towards understanding why you did what you did.
Step 2: Apologize and Take Ownership
Apologizing is an essential part of the healing process. It’s an act of taking responsibility for your actions. However, there are situations where it’s not safe to apologize directly, such as in emotionally abusive relationships or with bullies. In these cases, you can choose to apologize on an energetic level.
One powerful technique is Ho’oponopono
“I am so sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.”
Repeating these words can help shift the energy between you and others, or even within yourself.
Sometimes, it’s about apologizing to a different part of yourself, like your heart. The intention is to make amends and take ownership of your actions.
Step 3: Create a Plan for Self-Improvement
The final step is about making a plan to ensure you don’t repeat the same mistakes. Mistakes and the guilt that follows are powerful motivators for self-improvement. Once you understand the circumstances surrounding your actions and why you made the mistake, you can figure out how to support yourself in making better choices in the future.
For example, let’s say you accidentally revealed a friend’s secret due to forgetfulness (like I did recently!!). You’ve acknowledged the mistake, apologized, and now it’s time to create a plan. In this case, your plan might involve treating all confidences as if they’re secrets, to avoid a similar situation in the future. Life is a trial and error process, and your plan is a strategy to support yourself.
Remember, self-forgiveness is the key to healing. It might feel counterintuitive, but it’s crucial. Be compassionate and loving to yourself, and that compassion will naturally extend to others. Treat yourself with care and compassion, and you’ll contribute to making the world a better place and becoming a better person to your loved ones.
Acknowledging, apologizing, and making a plan are the essential steps to letting go of mistakes and embracing self-compassion. We all make mistakes, but it’s how we learn and grow from them that truly matters.
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See you next time.