I’ll be the first one to say that personal growth is a difficult process. It requires motivation, discipline, and self-awareness. In order to improve yourself, you need to know where you’re lacking. Very often, people end up demoralized or feeling like they’re failures when they can’t manage to achieve their goals. Trust me – I’ve been there before.
This is why I think self-care is so, so important when it comes to self-improvement. It’s impossible to make it through the ups and downs of life without taking some time to care for yourself!
Now, I’ll be the first to say that self-care isn’t always about being luxurious and treating yourself. You can’t solve all your problems by taking a bubble bath and putting on a face mask (no matter how much I wish you could!). But a key component of self-care that I think people need to remember more is forgiveness.
What is forgiveness?
As defined by the dictionary, forgiveness is the act of accepting a mistake. In order to forgive, you need to stop feeling angry or upset about something bad that has happened.
When I talk about forgiveness, I extend the definition a little further. In my eyes, forgiveness requires that you be firm, but gentle. To forgive yourself doesn’t mean to forget about your mistakes. It’s important to acknowledge any slip-ups when they happen! But forgiving yourself is about treating yourself gently when you mess up, instead of internalizing more negative feelings like rage or sadness.
Forgiveness also requires action. Just passively telling yourself “it’s okay!” when you make a mistake isn’t enough. It’s important to examine where you went wrong, figure out why things went that way, and then make a plan to do better in the future. Active forgiveness is so much more encouraging and rewarding than passive forgiveness, and it’s definitely going to help you achieve your goals.
Forgiving yourself makes it easier to set ambitious goals.
When I was younger, I had a huge fear of failure. I would rather do nothing at all than try to do something and end up failing. Looking back, I realize that the biggest source of this fear is that I didn’t know how to forgive myself for my failures. I knew that I would beat myself up if I ever made a mistake, so I never tried to improve myself because I was afraid I’d just end up hating myself.
Even if it isn’t as intense for you, I’m sure you’ve been scared of failing something before. I truly believe forgiveness is the secret to getting rid of this fear
Now, I practice active forgiveness when it comes to my goals, and I’m so much more excited about setting them! When you know that you have a plan in place in case of failure, and that you’re going to forgive yourself even if you mess up, it gives you the confidence to try new things and make big steps in changing your life.
Forgiving yourself means a second chance.
When I used to make New Year’s Resolutions, I’d choose a random goal – say, eat healthier. I’d eat healthy for a couple weeks. Then I’d see some soda or get a craving for some chips. I’d succumb to unhealthy eating, and I’d give up on my goal until the next year, when the whole process would start over again. Sound familiar?
Active forgiveness is the literal opposite of giving up on your goals. Whenever you feel the need to throw in the towel, take a deep breath and tell yourself it’s okay that you messed up. Just because you made a mistake for a couple days doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goal! Then take a look at how and why that mistake was made. Once you understand where that mistake came from, you can make a new plan to achieve your goal and start making progress again!
When you actively forgive yourself, you’re giving yourself unlimited chances to achieve your goals. It’s like free extra lottery tickets – the probability of you winning gets so much higher!
Forgiving yourself is the first step on the path to loving yourself.
Along with confidence and second-chances, active forgiveness also encourages self-love instead of self-hate. When you choose to be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself for your failures, you introduce more positivity and optimism into your relationship with yourself. Committing to active forgiveness means that you truly believe in your ability to succeed – and that’s such a necessary part of personal development!
I truly believe that if you’re setting goals, you already love yourself to some degree. The reason we set goals and try to improve is that we care enough about ourselves to want to grow. So adding more self-love to the equation is always going to make it easier to achieve your goals. If you’re serious about changing your life, self-care is a must, and active forgiveness is the best form of self-care I can recommend.
To Wrap It Up…
If there’s any goal you want to achieve in 2019, actively forgiving yourself is an invaluable tool that will help you reach your target. Forgiveness improves your attitude towards goal-setting, encourages your confidence, gives you second chances, and helps you love yourself! It’s extremely empowering, and so easy to commit to.
So be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a good job! And if there’s every a rocky road in the future, know that you’re going to be rooting for yourself to push through.
Thinking of introducing more active forgiveness in your life? Want to share a story about forgiving yourself? Go ahead and leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you and talk about your journey.