We can be our own worst critics. With so much going on in our lives as working moms, it’s easy to make mistakes. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking we need to be perfect and then getting frustrated when we don’t perform to perfection. You don’t need to be perfect to be great. You do need to learn to move past your mistakes so that you can get on with becoming the amazing woman you are meant to be. Here are 10 tips to help you learn to forgive yourself.
Acknowledge Your Emotions
When you mess up, a perceived mess up, or a real mess up, you’re going to feel certain emotions. Sometimes you’re going to feel sad, frustrated, and/or angry. There are a lot of different emotions that you have when you mess up, that’s okay. It’s normal, natural, and human. So take the time just to acknowledge those emotions and then let them go. Don’t let the feelings drive all of your actions or let the emotions talk you into bringing yourself down.
Accept the Guilt
When you do something wrong, you feel bad about it. That is natural, and it’s okay. Accept the guilt and whatever that guilt is leading you to do.
Right Your Wrongs
Take action if you truly did something wrong and need to correct the wrong. Whatever it is holding you back from taking the necessary steps to make it right – get passed that – and then make it right.
Recognize It’s an Opportunity to Grow
Make sure that you think of each mistake as a learning experience. When we mess up, the great thing is we can learn something from it. We can learn something about ourselves, about our environment, about the people that were involved. As long as you learn from your mistake, then you’re growing, you’re becoming a better person, and that is what is most important.
Notice When You’re Self-Critical
Sometimes our mistakes and the things that we perceive as mistakes are not a big deal. Sometimes we tend to blow things up because we have such high expectations of ourselves. Don’t be so self-critical. I know that’s hard, especially for us type-A, perfectionists out there. I suggest finding someone that you trust. Maybe it’s your partner, or perhaps it’s your best friend. If you find yourself unable to forgive yourself for something, ask them to talk it through with you to help you understand whether or not you are self-critical. If, for some reason, it’s one of those instances when you are too embarrassed to share with someone, take a beat and think, “this is my best friend, if my best friend did these things and came and confessed all this to me, what would I tell him/her?” Is it the same thing that you’re telling yourself right now? How would you judge him/her or think through things with him/her? Is it the same way that you’re judging yourself? Is it the same way that you’re thinking through things with yourself? That’s another way to help to try and figure out whether or not you are self-critical.
Quiet the Negative Voices in Your Head
When you make a mistake, you need to learn from it. Right any wrongs and move on. Don’t let the negative voices tell you that that mistake ultimately defines who you are. You made one mistake, even if it was a colossal mistake that doesn’t make you a bad person, an awful mom, or a horrible worker. It makes you human. We all make mistakes. And so you need to quiet those voices in your head and replace them with something positive. To make a mistake is human. Replace those negative voices with more positive thoughts. “I made a mistake. I’m human. I’m moving on. I made a mistake. I corrected the wrong. This makes me a better person because I corrected the wrong. I learned from the mistake, and now I’m growing.” We’re always becoming. We’re continually growing. The more mistakes you make, the faster you fail, the faster you learn, and the faster you grow. This is a positive thing. Silence those negative thoughts because they’re going to keep bringing you down and stop you from moving forward and loving your life.
If you are struggling to silence these thoughts, an exercise that you can do if you want something tangible is to write yourself a forgiveness letter. Pretend like it’s your child. We seem to have a lot more compassion for our children than we have for ourselves. We truly see the human side of our children, and sometimes it’s hard to see the human side of ourselves, but we need to remember we are human too. And to be human is to be imperfect. So write yourself a forgiveness letter as if you were writing to your child and forgive yourself for what you’ve done. Write it out; don’t type it. This can provide the right type of cathartic relief to help you move past what you’ve done. Do not go in circles once you have decided to forgive yourself, forgive yourself, and move on. This goes with forgiveness across the board. Once you forgive someone, move on, and that includes yourself.
Show Kindness and Compassion to Yourself
You have to be kind and compassionate with yourself. We are only human, that is beautiful and it’s wonderful. It’s also means we’re not going to be perfect. Everything isn’t always going to go the way we want. And that is okay. Be kind and compassionate with yourself the same way you’d be towards your best friend, your children, and your partner. It starts with you, so treat yourself well.
Get Professional Help When Needed
If you are struggling with forgiveness and moving on, get professional help, there’s nothing wrong with it. Professional help can come in a lot of different forms. Getting a therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, or a life coach can help you move through things and focus on achieving the goals you want. If you’re truly struggling in this place of being unable to forgive yourself, seek out help because you don’t need to be there, and you do not need to move through it alone. You don’t have to stay in a place of hating yourself, being angry with yourself, embarrassed by yourself, or frustrated by yourself; you can move through it. It would be best if you moved through it. You deserve to move through it.
Self-forgiveness is important to live a life you love, to having less stress, and finding more time. You don’t want to take up all the bit of mental space that you have with negative thoughts and beating yourself up. You want to use that mental space and energy to move your life forward. So step one is to think of who you can call on the next time you’re caught in a mental cycle of unforgiveness. Already have your support on speed dial. Planning ahead for this inevitable feeling will set you up for success to help you move through the feelings faster.
For more tips on self-love check out, Falling In Love with Yourself.
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