I’ve opted out of New Year’s resolutions for many years. It’s always felt they were a pebble in my shoe a few days in, and I never stuck to them. Over time, I’ve looked for other ways to acknowledge the new year, and forgiveness is one of the main ways I refresh and start anew. My focus isn’t on forgiving others but on forgiving myself for the less than redeeming things I’ve said, ways I’ve acted, and lessons I have yet to learn.
I begin each year with a list of the ways I’ll forgive myself. This year my list includes:
– knee jerk reactions to just about anything. Have you ever been talking to someone and they jump in with a comment, opinion, judgment, or comparison before you finish talking? I think we’ve all been on the receiving end or perhaps the one doing the spouting off. That has been me. You barely get the chance to share, and I’m coming in fast with my great ideas, opinions, and/or my comparable story. Going forward I want to listen, take a breath, and think for a nanosecond before blurting out what my opinion is.
– failing to focus my attention on the person addressing me rather than over their shoulder or their head when I see someone I might recognize. In this independent living environment, there are lots of people around that I recognize. I forgive myself for breaking away from a close conversation to acknowledge someone ‘other there.’
– not forgiving myself for mistakes almost guarantees I’ll keep making the same mistakes. Being as kind to myself as I would to a friend who is looking for a calm and kind place to share takes practice. Hopefully, this will be the year I show marked improvement in being kinder to me when I mess up.
– trying to change others involves control and a smug assumption that I know best. I’m sorry that I signal the value of my ideas, opinions, values, etc., as being superior to yours.
– whether it’s a plan for healthy eating, a writing project, or anything of value, giving up on myself too soon smashes the best intentions and plans for success. I cheat myself over and over by saying “I can’t,” “What’s the point?” or “Maybe later.”
Reading through this list feels a little harsh and too self-critical. Rather than feeling abused, however, I view it as taking stock. Do I do these behaviors all the time and in every situation? No. Taking stock reminds me there’s room for improvement. Also, it’s a great reminder to start with me and my behavior before criticizing someone else.
I feel truly blessed that I get another chance to create my forgiveness list.
Do you see yourself anywhere in my list?
Have you taken the time to forgive yourself lately and, if so, how?