The end of the year always brings about New Year’s resolutions and a lot of “Next year will be better because…”.
If these things do it for you, if you can actually complete and/or fill those resolutions; if you are able to set up goals for completion, I applaud you. Truly. My habit isn’t about resolutions, it’s more of a “these are things I’d like to accomplish for the year” and then I break those things down (for the most part) into monthly goals to accomplish.
This year, besides doing my goal sheet(s), I’d like to add a new layer onto the New Year and I’d like to extend an invitation to anyone reading this to do the same:
With nothing but Love in your heart, forgive yourself today. And then extend that forgiveness to everyone in your life that might need it.
Let’s break that down.
Forgiveness of Self is hard. Sometimes it seems completely impossible. At this point, I’m not talking about forgiving yourself of all the sins in the totality of your life. Whoa. Slow down! How about we just tackle this past year? Are there things you did that you regret, even in a tiny way? How about that time you flipped someone off for driving too slowly and then realized it was a very old person who needed to take his/her time? Or when you didn’t show up to someone’s event and they were really counting on you to be there? Or how about when you didn’t listen to your own body when it was trying to tell you something important?
Whatever it is, whatever number of things there are — let them go.
Acknowledgement of something you did or didn’t do that upset you or others is hard, but it is important. How can we grow as people if we don’t take responsibility for our actions?
Be careful though — It’s easy to get stuck in ruminating on the “what if’s” and “should have’s”. This is where we, as a collective, stall out. I have a feeling we all would love to push past any hurt we have caused others and ourselves but sometimes if we do that, we will have an empty space in our hearts where that “something” used to live. Sometimes it’s just “easier” to let it stay there and occupy valuable space in our hearts.
Trust me, it’s not.
Can you name one good thing continuing to go back and dwell on problems does to better your life? I’ll wait.
You can’t, can you? So, let that shit go. Letting things go is hard! I even have those words “Let go” tattooed on my left wrist as a gentle reminder, but it’s still difficult. We all need to practice some self care in this moment and love ourselves enough to say, “This no longer serves me. I may not have made the best choice, but it is done. I deserve my forgiveness.”
If you are able to apologize to someone — do it. It will be hard, but it will better both for that person and for you. You might be met with anger and a need to argue and come to a better conclusion with that person, but that’s actually a good thing. Who needs that kind of “what will I do/say if I see this person?” dread hanging over their shoulders? You might be met with a very teary “thank you”. The truth is, apologizing and then forgiving yourself is a bit selfish — you do it to clear your conscious, but it helps those wronged, too. We all deserve to breathe.
That’s why I think this practice, this yearly practice, before heading into a “fresh New Year” could be beneficial to not only me, but to others, as well. It might be easier to tackle this past years “wrongs” than it’s going to be to tackle a lifetime, but we are all human. We need to start somewhere and why not now? The time will pass anyways.
It still feels impossible, but as the late Audrey Hepburn said, “Nothing is impossible. The word says it itself — I’m Possible”.
Let. That. Shit. Go. Forgive yourself.
Onto the second part: Extending that love of forgiveness onto others.
Closure is hard. People come and go from our lives all the time; whether it’s a friend or a family member, relationships are difficult and very hard to maintain. People are going to hurt us. The people closest to us are going to hurt us the most because we each have expectations that we project onto others. We are going to hurt them, too.
Everyone is living a life. We are the center of ours, but not the center of theirs.
People will hurt you; your feelings will get bruised and beaten up. No one can truly protect us from that, not even ourselves. People sometimes won’t know they’ve hurt you (ahem, this goes for you hurting others, too); or sometimes they will know, but you may never get that apology you so badly and desperately need to move on.
Let it go.
It’s not serving you, holding onto those feelings of abandonment, hurt, frustration, sadness or anger. Know that we all make mistakes and if we can be responsible for them — great! But some people can’t and they never will, and guess what? You can’t make them. Or they don’t know they’ve hurt you and vice versa. Sometimes a conversation is appropriate and sometimes it’s not. Pick the battles, but choose forgiveness.
Now, forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget, but it does mean you need to let go of that pain and move forward in life from a place of Love and gentle kindness towards yourself and to others.
Acknowledge in this moment of love and forgiveness that this person did that and that person did this. Trust that you have learned some sort of lesson in the experience and then move on.
Again, this is easier said than done, and that’s why we all need to put it into practice.
I know I need to put it into practice more. I started it this year and I’m looking forward to an emotional purge and reset of expectations from myself and from others.
Continued practice makes a habit and I think this is a good habit.
I’m not saying that this will resolve everything or that the biggest, most egregious things will fall into play here (but if they do, more power to you!). I’m saying that in this time of severe dichotomy, we could all use a little more forgiveness in this world… and a little more Love.