We’ve made plenty of bad decisions in our lives.
A few judgment calls that were damaging to our well-being, and many unwise choices ended up unintentionally hurting others in some way. Many of us don’t have a problem apologizing to people for my wrongdoings and promising to be more mindful in the future to never repeat the same action (or inaction) again. But when a decision we make ends up hurting us, the conversation in in our head isn’t so civil… It goes something like this:
You’re such an idiot!
How could you be so stupid?
What a loser!
Okay… calm down, you’ll do better next time.
No, you won’t! That’s what you said last time.
Come on, if this was a friend, you’d tell them to relax.
But this isn’t a friend, it’s me, and I know better!
[Repeat all of the above on a loop…]
Every time we make a mistake, that voice would bully us into admission that we are the worst human being on the planet (as if the damage from the mistake itself wasn’t bad enough, we’d make it worse by beating ourselves up about it).
This can continue for years until one day we realize that we can forgive ourselves. For the entire concept of forgiveness to even exist in our social construct, we first create the duality of a wrongdoer versus a victim, and then we play the role of the victim until we get the apology we demand, at which point we can choose to play the role of the compassionate forgiver (or not). But it’s all just a power play. A game. I’m not saying we shouldn’t apologize, I’m saying the person we’re inclined to dub as the “wrongdoer” doesn’t need to apologize or even be sorry in order for us to forgive them because forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.
Forgiveness is so much better than the vicious loop of blaming and waiting for forgiveness (from ourselves or from others). It’s not the traditional “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” model with which we were raised, but it does obliterate guilt, shame, and victim mentality, to make way for empowerment, betterment, and progress. In this model, nobody is “indebted” to anyone else.
So ask yourself: do I want to stay stuck, or do I want to move forward?