Forgiveness: 10 Quick Ways to Let Go & Move Forward
Spring is here, a time for renewal and new life. There is no better time to talk about forgiveness and fresh starts. Whether mending relationships, letting go of hurt, or just going a bit easier on ourselves, now is the perfect time to let go of the old and focus on the new. Rebecca Friese Rodskog gives 10 easy tips on forgiving and moving forward.
Ugh……I can’t believe I said that to him.…I screwed up that presentation.…I didn’t work out all week.…I should have called.
Are the voices in your head constantly running down a list of things that you didn’t do quite as well as you were hoping (or what you think others were expecting)? Then you fall into the great, great category of women who are way too hard on themselves.
You might think this is no big deal – it makes you perform better the next time, right? Well, no, it does not, and it IS a big deal. Constantly focusing on the negative buries you in guilt and negativity, and brings more of it your way. In addition, it actually creates barriers for you to accomplish all that you might have if you had a more positive, supportive attitude. Also, let us not forget that the state of constant stress you put yourself in by never being “good enough” is a surefire way to do actual harm to you mentally and physically, in ways we are just beginning to understand.
Sadly, it’s become almost fashionable to be self-deprecating. In a world where performance appraisals focus on the negative/needs to improve more than the “praise” part, we get used to pointing out our faults. But holding on to the things you did wrong (whether real, semi-real or imagined) can stop you dead in your tracks on any road to success. It’s like throwing a big anchor on your ankle and trying to run.
Forgiveness is one of the five tenets I discuss with my clients – the others include Love, Gratitude, Communication, and Integrity.
I grew up a (good) Catholic girl, learning that Forgiveness is the key to living a spiritually enlightened life. However, they never taught us that the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. Here are 10 quick ways to begin to become aware of what you are saying to yourself, and to letting yourself off the hook once in a while.
10 Quick Ways to LET IT GO
- Start tuning in to your thoughts. Keep a notebook with you and try to write down each negative one you have for a day. Once you’ve become more aware of your thoughts, try to say it out loud, as if you were talking to yourself at 5 years old. Hopefully your tone will start to change.
- Tell others. Sharing what you are trying to do with friends and significant others will keep you motivated. Tell them you will give them a dollar for each negative, self-deprecating thing you say about yourself.
- Evaluate fairly. If you are reviewing your performance after something (a presentation, a phone call), go ahead and write out the pros and cons instead of just running through the negative stuff in your head. For the stuff that you were not happy with, make a mini-improvement plan for the next time and then let it go. Try to end with the things you did well, like “kept my mouth shut when my co-worker made a stupid comment!”
- Work it out. Go on a walk or a run and really listen to your thoughts. Ask yourself “is this feedback real, or imaginary, or somewhere in between”. Sometimes we don’t even realize that things we are saying to ourselves.
- Talk it out. Talk to your significant other or best friend about something in particular that you’re upset with. Usually, once said aloud, the thing we are beating ourselves up about becomes much smaller, and your friend may even have a similar story to share which makes you both feel better!
- Write a positive list. One way to bring your best to light is to write them down. Start to list of the things that make you awesome (my one client calls it “My Awesomeness”). When you are having a particularly brutal feedback session with yourself, pull it out and remind yourself of how awesome you are.
- Seek support. Reach out to the people who love you. Whether it’s your mom, dad, or someone else who loves you for all your faults. Try to see yourself through their eyes.
- Eat ice cream. I don’t know, it just always makes me feel better. But then don’t beat yourself up about it, okay?
- Laugh. Fake it at first, and then watch it catch! It is hard to be mean to yourself when you’re laughing!
- Forgive. Forgive yourself for all your blunders, and love yourself because of them.