I realized in my entire book, I talk about how to improve yourself, but not about forgive yourself for the past. Oops.
It wasn’t until a friend of mine read it and was looking a little glum. I asked her if she was OK and she said she was mad at herself. She’s an amazing person, how could she be mad at herself?
I talk, at length, about regret in The New Bucket List, but I did not talk about accepting your past or forgiving yourself for any bad decisions you’ve made. I didn’t give anyone any idea of how to get past that and for that, I am sorry. Simply telling you to learn from your past, not live in it, does not suffice. While that’s a great quote for Instagram, it’s pretty vague.
How do you forgive yourself anyway?
- Acknowledge the mistake. Own it. Say it out loud. No one is perfect and making mistakes is ok!
- Learning from the experience. What can you learn from it? What could you do in the future to stop it from happening again?
- Stop replaying it. There is no amount of replaying the scenario in your head that will change the past. Stop it. If your dog got off the leash and was struck by a car, how many times have you killed the dog in your head? It’s now in the past, so there are no changes and no takebacks. It’s time to move forward.
- Be nice to yourself. Is there anyone on the planet that has never made a mistake? Nope. Your idols, heroes and people you admire all had to make mistakes to get to where they are now, but they have learned from them and don’t beat themselves up for it anymore. They continue to be successful with all those mistakes in the past!
- Get it out! Stop holding all those emotions in; it’s like dragging luggage around and it’s exhausting. Cry, scream or go to a rage room and break stuff, just don’t hurt anyone else, obviously. As you’re doing what you need to get those emotions out, say how you feel out loud. For example, I would yell each word for each punch I slung at the punching bag, “I. Am. So. Mad. I. Did. That.” Damn right, it felt good. Find the way to get those raw emotions out that works for you and feel anew.
“Ok, so I admit I screwed up, I’m nice to myself, I learned things, I stopped replaying it and I’ve sobbed my feelings aloud into an entire box of tissues. Now what?”
Meditate. Clear your mind.
Now that you’ve shed those emotions and learned about yourself, it’s time to heal. You’ve forgiven yourself and made a promise to not repeat the past, but to make the future better.
Be self-aware of a bad habit that lead you down the wrong path and own that this is YOUR life. You are in control and you have to live with you in your head. Sometimes decisions you make will cause others to question them, but when you know in your heart, that it’s better for YOU, you will sleep soundly knowing you made the right call and you will cease needing to forgive yourself.
You got this.
Lisa, Your Bucket List Coach