“Guilt’s strength lies not in the failure of others to grant us forgiveness, but in our failure to forgive ourselves.” — Kelseyleigh Reber
Nobody’s perfect. We learn from a young age that everyone makes mistakes. And most of us have had to forgive someone who’s hurt us, whether it was a betrayal of trust, harsh words spoken in anger, or an act of spite or disrespect. And yet, forgiving ourselves for our missteps can seem like a tougher task. Why?
The Golden Rule
Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves, even as we provide grace to those who hurt us. Letting go of the bitterness, disappointment and pain allows us to move on, to loosen the hold the betrayal has on us. But when we are the guilty party, we may engage in severe self-shaming and -recriminations. Rarely do we afford ourselves the same leeway we do for others. Maybe we believe continuing to persecute ourselves will ensure we don’t screw up again. Maybe we inflate the damage we’ve caused, imagining that our failings will have unending repercussions. But we fail to recognize that, in holding ourselves to a standard higher than we may others, we are assigning our actions an inflated influence on our world. Humility means owning that both our successes and our failures are on par with others’; we don’t “fall” harder from our mistakes than do our counterparts, nor do we “soar” higher when we reach our goals. If we believe that no one person’s worth outweighs another’s, we need to treat ourselves as equal in every way, whether that’s celebrating our achievements or forgiving our transgressions.