I could write a series of books based solely on all the mistakes I have made in my life and their consequences. Truthfully, not all deserve as much attention as the others as some are potent and meaningful and others are results of poor decision making and thoughtless choices.
We make mistakes every day. We are human and alive. Most go unnoticed as our conscious thinking can only handle so much at a time. Some, hopefully a few, are so obvious and painful there is no way to ignore them. For me personally, my greatest mistakes are founded in my lack of acknowledging my responsibility in any given situation.
It can be utterly painful to admit our faults and observe our missteps. When we see we are wrong, our train of thought has the potential to switch to shame and the vocabulary of “should” usually accompanies shame.
I should have said, done, acted….
I shouldn’t have_________
While observing our mistakes from a lens of correction can be helpful, it’s all in the way we approach our mistakes which can transform them into lessons rather than an error. As Alexander pope said, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”
When we focus on our mistakes, self-forgiveness can seem like a shot in the dark. Until we replace our shame with grace, we fail to see that each blunder is truly a gem, a diamond in the rough if you will. Inside each spoken “should” or “shouldn’t”is an opportunity for humility, a chance to learn about ourselves, our reactions, and the reactions of others. The same can be applied when a mistake is committed against us by another.
We are all human and believe it or not, the vast majority of people are doing the best they can. If we are unable to grant ourselves the grace needed for self-compassion and love, we will find ourselves struggling to grant grace to others for their follies. It truly helps to honor our individual path with self-honesty rather than berating ourselves for each lapse of judgement, a momentary disregard for discernment?
For me, the numerous miscalculations in judgment and the misappropriated emotional reactions, I struggled to not only forgive myself, but blocked myself to be forgiven.
While not every person I have wronged has had the honor of receiving my requests for forgiveness nor have I had the honor of receiving apologies for ill-doing against me, I have had to learn how to embrace acceptance and practice serenity. Embracing a deep-seated inner peace must be a priority and the key that opens that door is forgiveness.
As Pope said, “to forgive is divine.”
Forgiveness is an act of divinity in the sense that it is truly the most healing action we can commit to; not only for ourselves, but the souls in our ancestral lines, our immediate family members, and those who will come after we are long gone. Everything is connected and we are connected to everything. Every spoken word, every thought, every action taken or reserved affects our life and the lives of those around us thus affecting the world we are creating. The knowledge that God, Source, your choice for a Higher Power exists and dwells within us supports Pope’s claim of forgiveness as divine.
When we readily accept we are divine beings, we act and behave in ways that are in alignment with this truth. Forgiveness no longer becomes an act, but an energy we hold for ourselves and emanate outwards.
The difficulty is found in our ego mind, the very thing that makes us human.
Our ego is appointed by our subconscious to be our protector. The ego takes this role very seriously as it is the very tool needed for the survival of the human race. If left unchecked, when we fail to question ourselves and observe our behavior, we tend to live in a reactive state where we find offense in most things and feel it necessary to receive justice for the perceived wrongdoings committed against us.
Our ego clashes with another’s eg and if we stay in a reactive state long enough, we have the potential to spark a reactive state in others. To rely on others to extinguish our flames is far from a helpful approach because the whims and actions of others are beyond the realms of our control. We can only control ourselves and how we react.
The realization that the divine is within each soul opens us to the fact that each soul is also granted free will—we have a choice in EVERYTHING.
We choose every thought, every belief, every spoken word, every action/inaction, all of our habits. While much of our everyday life may have been passed down to us through conditioning and programming from our childhood, we have a choice in whether we continue living in these belief systems or break free. This is where radical self-honesty sparks a revolution within and self-actualization is allowed to take place.
The act of self-actualization is freedom for the soul.
Once we see our reality for what it is (actualization), not what we perceive it to be (illusion), we free our mind and break free from any threshold that creates a feeling or belief that we are less than divine. We come to know ourselves and seek to understand others—why we made mistakes, why we did or didn’t do something. From here we gain wisdom, a knowledge that cannot be shook as we gain faith in ourselves for we recognize we are merely parts of the whole and at the same time the whole itself.
Self-honesty requires us to go within and place ourselves under a microscope. To observe every detail that makes us who we are. We start asking questions such as:
- What inspires me?
- What triggers me?
- Where can I improve in my life?
- Where do I need to focus my energy?
- What can I let go and surrender?
With this awareness placed on ourselves and off the actions of others, we gift ourselves with the potential to thrive.
We can begin to hold ourselves accountable and take responsibility for ourselves rather than seeking atonement from others for our own self-inflictions (validation). God, Source, your Higher Power IS the SOURCE of atonement. If we atone for ourselves, forgive ourselves, we illuminate the divine light within and radiate an energy source onto the world around us. We begin to love ourselves and accept our mistakes enabling us to be more compassionate of ourselves and others garnering a stronger sense of empathy. When we practice self-forgiveness and forgive others, we harness a healing power matched by none other than God.
Through the attainment of self-knowledge, we create an understanding which assists in acceptance not only self-acceptance but acceptance for all of life.
To know ourselves, to truly know ourselves, we garner an unshakable faith in ourselves. To know we are divine beings, capable of tremendous acts of divinity (forgiveness, acceptance, surrender) we allow ourselves a closer relationship to the source of our personal Highest Power. We realize our soul, the very expression of our Creator, belongs to the entirety of the Cosmos.
To be IN the world, not OF the world.
Through this wisdom, we see that we reap what we sow. The rewards of the divine are always within our grasp. This becomes our reality when we know our true selves and live from our soul, guided by the innate spirit of God. We thus allow our humanity to be expressed and felt by others.
For thine is the kingdom and the power, and glory forever. Matthew 6:13
Read a related article for more to release yourself from your mistakes: Stop Obsessing Over Your Mistakes.