I can’t believe I did that! What was I thinking? I should have known it wouldn’t work! Why didn’t I see the signs? How could I have been so blind?
When the disappointments of life come, our critical inner voice is released in all its fury. We are surrounded by a whirlwind of “should haves,” “would haves,” and “could haves” that beat down the walls of our self-worth, collapse the house of our dreams, and leave us groveling in a heap of rubble.
Before we even have a chance to assess the damage, our own private judge and jury finds us guilty as charged for not knowing, not being good enough, and not being able to see far enough into the future. We are sentenced to a life of hard labor for what we have unwittingly done!
Hold on! If someone we love makes a mistake and feels bad about it, we are quick to step in and reassure them that we love them. We encourage them to keep moving forward and give them a helping hand to get back on their feet. Why can’t we do that with ourselves?
We know ourselves too well. We have rehearsed our weaknesses and imperfections more times than we can count. We know what happens when they are played out on the stage of our lives. We have seen firsthand how the audience responds and the resulting consequences.
We think that if we punish ourselves first, then God won’t have to! We forget that he has already paid the ultimate price for our sin because of his love for us. Instead, we assume that surely he cannot love us until we have paid the ultimate price ourselves!
God’s love is like the sunshine. It is always there. Sometimes we cannot feel it because a cloud of self-doubt or a hailstorm of weakness and imperfection gets in the way. Groping around in the darkness and shadows, we forget that the sun will come out again, or even that it is still there!
In order to forgive ourselves, we have to find some small ray of sunshine to rekindle our hope. If we can remember the good that has happened in our lives, we realize that we are still worthwhile people. We are able to minimize our mistake, let go of the ill feelings, and move on.
In essence, we change our inner critic into our inner parent. Like a loving father, we wrap our arm around our shoulder and give ourselves some instructions. We accept the humble state of our weakness and imperfection, and give ourselves room to grow and progress.
Life goes on. Thankfully, the sun comes out! It always does. Disappointment and heartache are replaced by joy and happiness as we forgive ourselves. We move forward with faith and renewed hope that we can become the people that we were meant to be!
©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved.