Adapted from The Art of Work: How to Make Work, Work For You!

The supreme intelligence is my strength, all of my weaknesses are forgiven. I forgive everybody and I forgive myself; therefore, only good comes into my life.

Understanding that everything that has happened in your life is over, what can save you from a vicious cycle of futile regret is accepting that everything that has happened cannot be changed. The only place that your past mistakes should hold in your mind is in the learning, the growing place. Given that you can’t change the past, you must employ it in the betterment of your life by reflecting upon situations after your emotions have cooled enough to see ‘what really happened’ clearly. This may seem to be an oddly placed message right here; yet, I urge you to understand that passing judgment on yourself is almost as futile as dwelling on things that can never be changed. Understand?

Self-evaluations should be made based upon the character you exhibit once you are truly aware of the considerations at hand. When you step back, with the benefit of hindsight, you become more aware of everything that was in play at the time of an event. Therefore, you can objectively realize and understand the dynamics of an exchange or decision. While ignorance is not a defense in the case of the law (not a legal defense), not fully realizing every aspect of past events sort of is one in life. If you didn’t know, let it go.

However, WILLFUL ignorance truly is no defense. If you have followed the commitments, then you must take responsibility for the decisions that matter, the ones you make NoW! and from this point on. examining yourself shouldn’t cause you to be discouraged or ashamed. It will make you more accountable for what you do once you are armed with broader vision and greater insight into life.

The point here is, you don’t have to add self-doubt (or lack of confidence) and greater accountability to yourself with this exercise. The self-doubt is there to begin with for many of us, whether we vocalize it or not. What you will do in practicing this commitment is alleviate any useless feelings of incompetence and replace them with confidence and competence in realizing your success.

It’s not uncommon to have difficulty in forgiving yourself or others for what might be your, or their stupidity, fumbles and frailties because it is so frustrating when you believe things are no longer within your control. It’s easy to get mad about things that are no longer within your control. What you need to be mindful of is that “They’ve already happened!” Understanding that we all share space in this universe, and that our universe is in divine order, will allow you to enjoy the brief time you are here to your fullest potential.

In order to grow forward, you must forgive and put yesterday behind you. You can certainly survive and continue to harbor grudges, resentments and self-hatred. However, in order to really thrive! you must forgive the things that you have counter productive emotions about. It will not be easy to accept, let alone do, if this is your first time thinking this way. That’s okay. You are learning. It is important that you go through the practice though, so that you can, and will, grow from it.

The ability to forgive someone for an injustice (whether perceived or real) comes easily for me. In fact, this ability is a great blessing. While I may, from circumstance to circumstance, grapple with my own ego in a situation where I feel I have been treated poorly or unfairly, I am still able to completely forgive the perpetrator … and, I most often feel the winner for having done so. In honesty, though, I still struggle every now and then with forgiving myself when I believe that I am the one in error. even when I know beyond a doubt that my error may have been innocent or unpreventable, I experience difficulty forgiving myself.

While raising our children, my husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to take them on family vacations each year. Sometimes we went to North Carolina, USA, to visit with my Bryant side of our family. At other times, we went to Yorkshire, England to visit our Howroyd branch of the family. During one of our trips to Yorkshire, I was bundling the kids into rented car seats while Bernie loaded the boot (…a British word for trunk) of the car we were using. Although our daughter, Kay, was only 18 months at the time, she was quite precocious. She early on fancied herself my helper. She has always been as efficient as she is precocious, and I have enjoyed the assistance and independence she has continuously exhibited. Brett is only fourteen months younger than she, and they were, in many respects, twins as they grew up. on this particular trip, Kay had ‘assisted’ me in strapping Brett into his car seat before we went around to the other side of the car to strap her into hers. The ground was icy with snow, and just beneath the car, the snow had formed a slick and slippery patch. We finally got Kay all bundled in, and when I was closing the door to the car, I slipped. Kay reached out to ‘help’ me, and I slammed the door onto her little fingers!

Let me tell you right now that no serious or lasting damage was done. But, of course, I cried my heart out … and this is the one time that I think I truly frightened my children with my own behavior during their early years. Bernie couldn’t console me, nor could anyone else that day. For the rest of our vacation, I stayed on the verge of tears each time I looked at my precious little baby girl with her fingers all wrapped up from what ‘Mommie had done.’

Luckily, the fingers very quickly healed, and Kay forgot about the accident. She assures me that she doesn’t remember it today. Still, it remains a very strong memory for me. While some of this is due to a maternal instinct, I know that a large part of my regret is evidence that I am a work in progress… I am still a student of my own lessons on forgiveness of oneself. The fact that I am, is evidence that we must all reaffirm ourselves of this lesson with a lifelong commitment!