There are no harsher critics on us than, well, us. Although if you have some outspoken kids that point out the inequities between them and their siblings from years past, they can give your inner critic a run for their money at times. But at the end of the day we are all we have. Family, friends, and others have journeys of their own to contend with. Making mistakes is a universally human trait. Forgiving one’s self is a necessary thing to live happily in this world.
And like anything, forgiving is not an effortless thing. I tell my kids all the time that “comparison is the thief of joy.” That is hard in practice, sometimes, when life has handed you a barrage of troubles to sift through. The social media websites and “reality” television with their picture-perfect images seem like a yardstick to measure our own progress. The anxiety this causes can be crushing. What we need to realize is that they are mirages. Just like those air-brushed images from Seventeen magazine I compared myself to as a young girl, always finding myself lacking.
To truly embrace your strengths, to inspire your children to follow their hearts and not the current media images of beauty that are so misleading, you must forgive yourself for being a flawed human being.
The way to do this, like the answers to so many of the world’s weaknesses, is love. Continual love of the amazing gift of life that we have all been given. To be thankful for the little things that are always there in our lives and build our happiness on them : the flight of a heron past your kitchen window as you sit trying to catch up on your work before the kids wake up, a peaceful morning run with a miraculous sunrise filtering epically through the soft blue clouds, the laughter of your children watching “fire flyers” at twilight the first night of summer, the way a song pops up on the radio that seems to answer the questions that are frantically racing through your head…
It’s not easy, but the best things rarely are. Forgive quickly, don’t let guilt hold your joy hostage so you can flog yourself with what you “should” have done. Love continually, accept that even the mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow into who you really are.
Because you are enough.