During this time of COVID, many clients, friends and coworkers are mentioning the emergence of mistakes coming forward to be examined in an inescapable way. These can be mistakes from the past that bring along a whole range of feelings. It seems so prevalent that I have come up with some techniques to deal with any feelings of guilt, remorse or self-criticism.
Imagine that this time on earth is a very advanced educational setting for our souls and minds to learn some very necessary and important lessons. I am often asking my clients what they are learning during this time of COVID. Often the appreciation of family and friends becomes a common theme but also this time of self-reflection and painful feelings that are needing attention.
As with the other lessons I have written about in my blogs, we need to begin with dealing with ourselves. As we get better at forgiving ourselves, we can do so much better forgiving others. One of the techniques I started for myself and have been recommending for others, is to write down EVERYTHING you are holding against yourself, on a piece of paper. Keep writing things from childhood until today. And keep checking inside to see if there is anything else you may be carrying as far as negative feelings about yourself. When it is all down on paper, burn that piece of paper and watch it go up in smoke, into the atmosphere and out of you. Unfortunately, we as human beings are fallible. And by making mistakes, we learn to improve ourselves. Repeat this process as often as possible. Remember, we learned to walk by falling and getting back up and we only need to get up more times than we fall, in order to be successful.
I am encouraging all of us to keep getting back up, no matter who we have hurt intentionally or unintentionally or mistakes we have made with money, our kids, decisions, behaviors or beliefs. We all all in this process of learning and improving. It is all OK.
Another technique was taught to me by John Gray, author of "Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus". He instructs others to write a letter of forgiveness to ourselves and to any others that we feel may have wronged us. It starts with writing everything that makes us angry, then sad and then fearful and to really express all of our feelings. After that comes writing our sorrows. When all the negative feelings have been expressed, we write about what we want, what we dream of and our desires. That last paragraph gets us in touch with the great power of creation. And this is where we want to move our focus-on our dreams and creating a better life for all.
When we are able to ask for forgiveness and to apologize to others, we are role modeling to our children and to others, that it is human to make mistakes. It teaches our kids that perfection is impossible and that perfectionism can be painful. Think of walking into an all white house with all white furniture and expensive glass everywhere. How comfortable are you going to be trying to eat or live in a place like that?
Let us continue on the pathway of forgiveness & kindness towards others and ourselves and see what kind of new world we can embrace!
- Janet Whitney, MA. MFT.