May 27, 2008

Forgive and forget

I’ve just finished reading “The Four Agreements,” and I want so much for it to change my life. I highly recommend reading it if your life needs an overhaul.

One of the things in the book that has really stuck with me is how hard we are on ourselves and how this is not healthy behavior. The book talks about justice and injustice and how making someone pay for something once is justice and making someone pay for the same mistake over and over again is injustice. But this is what we do to ourselves. We make one small mistake in our lives, and instead of forgiving ourselves once, learning from our mistake, and moving on, we make ourselves pay for that one mistake a million times. We pay for it every time we remember it, every time we dwell on it, every time we tell someone else about it, every time we think about it. So, why is it so easy to forgive other people, but so hard to forgive ourselves?

I forgive the people that I love so easily. To me, it’s almost like they could do no wrong. And if they do something wrong, I understand that they are sorry, I accept their apology, and I forgive them in a second. I probably couldn’t name 10 things that other people have done wrong. Why? Because I forgive and forget and move on. The mistakes other people make don’t tarnish the way that I see them. I understand that they are human and they’re going to mess up every once in a while.

But it’s not the same with myself. The way I see it, each mistake that I make makes me less appealing as a friend, a girlfriend, a sister, a coworker. Ask me to make a list of 10 things I’ve done wrong, and I’ll make a list of 100. I can remember each and every mistake I’ve made in complete detail, and I probably think about them on a weekly basis. This sounds terrible, and it is. I make myself pay for my mistakes a million times over. I’m harder on myself than any judge or jury would be, and I can’t seem to find a way out of it.

If my boyfriend/sister/friend does something stupid, gets mad for no reason or just plain acts like a jerk, I forgive them and move on. If I do something stupid, get mad for no reason or just plain act like a jerk, I feel like I single-handedly ruined the entire weekend/day/night for everyone and it usually takes me a couple weeks to get over feeling bad about myself. And since I’m human and I do stupid things/get mad for no reason/just plain act like a jerk a couple times a month, it seems that lately all I’ve been doing is beating myself up for my mistakes, mistakes that should have been forgiven and forgotten the moment after they happened. And I have to admit, feeling like this is really starting to bum me out.

If I can be so kind to the people in my life that I love, why can’t I afford myself the same amount of kindness? Shouldn’t I be able to forgive and forget my own mistakes the same way that I forgive and forget others? Is it possible to love myself as much (or more!) than I love the people in my life?

The book says it is. So, I’m trying to learn. One thing that frustrates me the most is that I keep making the same mistake over and over again. I keep acting stupid over one certain thing, and I feel like I’m not making any progress in overcoming it. It keeps coming up and every time it comes up and I act like a stupid idiot, I always tell myself, that’s the last time I’ll act like that. I tell myself I’ve learned from it. And what happens? I act the exact same way again the next time. Maybe that’s why I’m so hard on myself. I really want to see some progress in this area, and I feel like I just can’t for some reason.

I know this is sort of a deep post for the first day back from a vacation, but these thoughts have been plaguing me for a while and I needed to get them down on paper, err, screen. If you have any thoughts on the subject, feel free to add them.

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