Everyone has flaws. No one is perfect.
These are popular lines we tell ourselves but it isn’t always as easy to live them. Most times, we get held by guilt when we fall short and get held by bitterness when someone hurts us, especially if it’s someone close to us.
But the truth is that life is too short to be bound by such negative energy. We’ve simply got to learn to forgive ourselves and forgive others.
However, true repentance isn’t all about shedding tears and being enveloped by guilt. It’s being convicted to move on and fix our mistakes in order to become better versions of ourselves tomorrow.
Forgiving One’s Self
1. Acknowledge Your Mistake
Acknowledgement is the first step to Victory.
We literally won’t go anywhere if we don’t, first of all, accept the mistakes we have made. For example, let’s say I failed my first-semester exam. There’s no way I would do better in the next one if I don’t, first of all, accept the fact that I allowed too much of social media and procrastination to tie me down. Self-forgiveness is a process and acknowledgement is the first step to it. It’s as simple as that.
2. Love Yourself
Making mistakes and stepping on other people’s toes is sometimes inevitable. This actually isn’t all bad, because it helps us let go off our sometimes overboard perfectionistic ideas and expectations which is quite humbling. So, you’ve got to learn to show your self-compassion and kindness by forgiving yourself and moving on. It’s not being vain nor is it being full of yourself. It’s simply an act of self-love and that’s good.
3. See it as an Opportunity to Learn
Every time you make a mistake, you are given the option to learn from your experience or to not learn from it at all. The latter is bad but the former isn’t. Now, what you learn is entirely dependent on the situation at hand. It could be learning to not settle for too many distractions or learning to choose the right words at the right time when speaking to a particular person. Whatever the case may be, the most important thing is to learn to handle the situation in a better way next time.
In my own opinion, forgiving others isn’t as easy as forgiving one’s self. Growing up, I used to take things very personally, which made it even worse for me to let go of any hurt. Thankfully, I’ve grown but whether it’s you being a bit petty or others being way too overbearing, forgiveness is actually possible.
1. Forgiveness Doesn’t Automatically Restore Trust or Lead to Reconciliation
The reason why most people find it hard to forgive others is that they have a distorted definition of what forgiveness truly is in the first place. Forgiveness is not an open door to saying ‘Hey, we are cool you can walk all over me again’. No, it’s far from this. When you are able to forgive a person, it doesn’t mean they didn’t do anything wrong. It simply means that you deserve your peace of mind with your emotional energy intact. As such, cutting off all the other expectations of restoring trust, etc. helps make the forgiveness process faster.
2. Let it Be Done with the Right Motive
Learn to forgive because you want to and not because you are forced to.
Actually, telling you to forgive because you want to might be a bit misleading because if it’s based on feelings and wants alone, we won’t really forgive but at the same time, it won’t be right to forgive because you are forced to either. Most times, we are under the pressure of wanting other people to form good opinions about us. But this shouldn’t be the driving force of forgiveness.
It shouldn’t be based on pleasing people. It should be based on pleasing God. Forgiveness is an act of unconditional love and that is something we should let God convict us of.
3. Forgiveness is a Process
A couple of years ago, a guy texted me and went ‘Oladi, you are pompous and you have an ugly character’. Sincerely, his opinion of me was truly shocking, I knew it wasn’t true, but it still hurt. If I should see that guy in the street today, I would flash him a smile and greet him wholeheartedly. Not because I forgave him instantly but because I embraced the fact that forgiveness is a process. Little by little, his prejudiced opinion of me watered down and it has now become nothing to me.
Don’t fall under the pressure of having to forgive someone instantaneously within the same second that you say you forgive them. It’s a process. Little by little, the hurt will disappear and that’s just fine.
Remember that releasing yourself from the prison of unforgiveness is good for your mind, your heart and even your body. Also, don’t forget to involve God in the equation because it truly all starts from him. Stay victorious!
I hope these tips have been helpful to some extent? How do you manage forgiveness both on yourself and others?
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