Occasionally, when my four-year-old makes a mistake, she’ll ask me if I still love her. “Of course I do- I will never not love you,” I reply! As much as it hurts me to know that she questions this, I totally understand the feeling. I often have a hard time with forgiveness, particularly for myself.
Last week I did something that I’m having a hard time getting past. I didn’t hurt anyone, it didn’t really even affect anyone other than my husband and me (okay, and maybe our checking account- ouch!) But he hasn’t done a thing to shame me; he only assured me that it’s no big deal. I just can’t seem to get over my mistake.
The problem is that I’m finding it difficult to forgive myself. If one of my children, my husband, or a friend made a mistake, I’d give them a pep talk. I’d remind them that nobody was hurt, life goes on, it’s a lesson to learn from, etc. Why should I use up my mental energy shaming myself over something that literally no one else cares about? Answer: I shouldn’t.
As a mother, I want to teach my children that mistakes are a part of the human condition; they’re inevitable. They’ll have turns as both offender and offended, multiple times in their lives. I want to model to them that they should learn from these mistakes. I want to show them how to forgive both others and themselves, and how to be kind and gracious without letting others take them for granted.
So mommas, please join me in letting go of your mistakes. Stop holding on to the past and start living in the present. Forget about the harsh words you spoke (mostly to yourself, am I right?) And start looking for the good in yourself. Teach your kiddos how to forgive- themselves and others.
Originally published July 2018