Permission to Be Human – Adding a link to the chain of forgiveness

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive, Negative emotions, Relationships


I couldn’t believe it!  I had the appointment in my calendar, but for some reason, I’d totally overlooked it!  Now I had missed it completely and left the other person waiting.  I felt terrible!  Did they think I was just a thoughtless person who had blown them off?  How could I make it up to them?

Has this ever happened to you?  I’m the type of person who can easily spend a lot of time berating myself for making mistakes like this, yet I know that won’t fix what happened.  Now I work harder at forgiving myself and looking for what I can learn.  For example:

  • How can this mistake help me grow?  I can look at it as an opportunity to practice self-forgiveness.  I can remember that beating myself up won’t undo what happened.  Of course, I can apologize or offer some kind of way to make amends, but making myself miserable doesn’t help the situation.
  • What can I do different in the future?  For this example, I can develop a habit of checking my calendar more carefully and leaving myself reminders if there’s something in my schedule I think I might forget.  
  • How can this help me relate to others better?  The next time someone else makes a mistake that impacts my schedule, I can remember that no one is perfect, including me.

My Positive Psychology teacher, Tal Ben-Shahar, has a saying that I love, 

“Give yourself and others permission to be human.”  

We all make mistakes so we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves or others when mistakes happen. Sometimes these can be very serious or hurtful and cause us or others pain. However, if we’re resilient, we can grow and learn from these experiences. It reminds me of a quote from Rumi, the Sufi poet, 

“How can you be polished if you are irritated by every rub?”

When we forgive ourselves, we’re more able to forgive others. When we forgive others, they’re more able to forgive others. Be the next link in the chain of forgiveness.  What’s an example of a recent mistake you or another person made that you could use to practice?

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Tina Hallis, Ph.D., a professional speaker and consultant for The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures.  She is certified in Positive Psychology, an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, and a Professional Member of the National Speaker’s Association.

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