As I walked into the backyard today to observe the Easter Bunny setting out treats for my kids, my mistakes came to mind. The plastic egg that contained the times I’ve hurt others split open, and regret surrounded me.
I’ve said some stupid things and have hurt some unsuspecting people. And I feel awful about it.
Walking into the dew-soaked grass as the sun rose, a voice inside my head said, “Dennis, you need to forgive yourself.” It was the first of two times I heard that message in one day. Later, I read an article from The School of Life titled “Love Yourself” with the same message. In it, the writer shared how our brains are dumb–they’re impulsive and make us believe things and feel things that aren’t always accurate. Because of our dumb, shortcut-taking brains, we make mistakes and sometimes hurt others.
The article also reminded readers that our schooling is often to blame for our self-loathing. We learn in school to reflect on mistakes to make corrections and improve. But this self-reflection can get out of hand when we are self-critical of our ever-failing brains and ever-mistake-making selves. Reflection turns to self-loathing and self-hate.
I forgave myself for things I apologized to others long ago—things they likely don’t remember but have haunted me for years.