#30BeforeThirty No.1: Forgiveness (Self)

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Welcome back to #30BeforeThirty

Over the next 30 weeks leading up to my 30th birthday, I will be setting myself weekly challenges to create new habits, try new things, and let go of things that do not serve me. This week I have chosen forgiveness - specifically forgiving one’s self.

One of the definitions of self-compassion is "treating yourself as you would a dear friend." We tend to be much harder on ourselves than those around us. I bring this up because I'm not the best at letting myself off the hook for past mistakes. I often find myself muttering expletives, calling myself an idiot for that time I didn't stand up for myself or that day I let someone down. Sometimes these regret-filled events are years old.

I have decided that this is something I would like to change for a few reasons:

1) I cannot change the past.

2) I cannot move forward if I am constantly looking backwards.

3) I could be doing so much more productive things with my brain than replaying my mistakes over and over and calling myself a massive tw*t, etc.

4) Perfection is impossible (unless you're Beyonce) and is not something I owe to anyone - not even myself.

5) While I am spending all of this time feeling guilty or annoyed at myself for things I may or may not have done, I am still thinking, mainly, about myself and not the people and things happening around me. Pretty self-absorbed, right?

Giving myself a hard time for past mistakes has become akin to picking a scab. I will not let myself heal. It has affected my confidence and self-esteem because all of this bashing and self-criticism has made it very hard for me to like myself. The craziest thing about all of this is that if a friend or even a stranger told me that they were still angry at themselves for all of the lies they told their parents at 13; or forgetting to text somebody back; or even the fact that they could not get enough of a handle on their depression to finish university, I'd tell them to stop being so silly. I’d say that we all make mistakes and to stop being so hard on themselves. Why can't I do that when it's just me talking to me?

This is not me trying to absolve myself of all accountability by any means. I just need to find a middle ground between that and self-flagellation. I'm not quite sure how long it will take to erase this negative habit, but I do know that this is not something I want to take into my thirties. So the next time I find myself back in a regret-filled loop, rather than calling myself a name and pushing the memory down, I'm going to try something new:

1) Pause.

2) Acknowledge the thought/feeling.

3) Tell myself that it is okay to be less than perfect.

4) Figure out a way to make it right, if I need to.

5) Allow myself to let the thought/feeling go.

I'll keep you posted on how I get on with this. I don't for one second think it's going to be easy, but all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and hope for the best...

Thank you for taking the time to read the first post in the #30BeforeThirty series. Please like, comment, subscribe if you liked what you read - or feel free to tell me if you didn't!

Next up: #2 Decluttering - up on the blog Sunday 9th December.