There is something that I’ve been wrestling with that I’m sure a lot of other people can relate to, which is why I thought it would make a really good post. I have a hard time being kind to myself. I realized that I am nicer to strangers than I am to myself. And I’m sure that there’s a part of me that can justify this behavior by saying, “Well, I don’t know those people; they seem perfectly fine. But I’m around myself all the time, so of course I know every single one of my flaws and every single mistake that I have ever made.” The truth of the matter is, I’m sure they’ve got the same thoughts in their head. Nobody’s perfect. I have to remember that everyone has done things they aren’t proud of or wish they could have done differently.
I am sure that I am also not alone in taking responsibility for things that have nothing to do with me. It’s my fault that the place I wanted to have a picnic lunch was so crowded that we ended up leaving instead of eating. It’s my fault that a birthday card got lost in the mail, because if I had just mailed it earlier it would have gotten there on time.
As much as I’d like to think I am the center of the universe, I’m not. I’m not responsible for every single thing that happens. Some things just happen because that’s the way it is. The other thing, and this is really important, is that no amount of dwelling or fixating on the past is going to change anything. The only thing that I can do is apologize to people if I think that will help bring some closure to a situation. Hopefully, the person will forgive me and we can put the issue to rest; but since I know I cannot make someone accept my apology, I have to be prepared to accept that as a resolution in itself and make my peace with it that way. I can learn from my mistakes and make an effort not to repeat them. Just beating myself up over and over is not being kind to myself. It accomplishes nothing other than making me feel bad about myself.
I also realized that some of the stuff that I’ve been carrying around with me seemed kind of dumb. We’ve all accidentally cut someone off or said something accidentally offensive. Or maybe we forgot somebody’s birthday–maybe the reason wasn’t malicious, maybe it was just that you were caught up in something else. The point is, a lot of this stuff is unintentional. We do a lot of dumb things. We aren’t usually trying to be hurtful or nasty, it just happens sometimes. And the more I examine these things I continually beat myself up over, the more I realize that I’m human. We all do these things sometimes. It’s the only way we learn sometimes.
By reminding myself that everyone else finds themselves in the same boat now and again, it’s harder to get so upset by my mistakes. Dwelling on them doesn’t have the same effect as before. I can accept the situation as something I can actively try to make better or I have to make peace with it and move on. Doing so has been hard but it has allowed me to exercise much more self-compassion and kindness toward myself. This is definitely something I am going to continue to work on.