Forgiveness (according to Don Henley)

On the continuing theme of words to live by – I think Don Henley (music video & lyrics) says it better than ever could when he says that forgiveness is the “heart of the matter”.

The problem that I have is not really in forgiving others…but forgiving myself. I find it difficult allowing myself to make mistakes or be imperfect: while I think I should hold myself to account and try to set high standards, I should also be kinder when things don’t pan out the way I wanted them to. Think about it this way: forgiveness is the process of (a) accepting what has happened and (b) moving on with life, right? If I can’t forgive my screw-ups I can achieve neither things. Then I’m self-defeating myself because I can’t work towards these high standards after all.

Then it also makes me afraid to make any mistakes or take future risks – because if/when I do something wrong I just won’t get over it. There are plenty of circumstances when getting it wrong first/second/third/fourth time is inevitable, when mistakes are part of the learning curve and the only way to find success. Allowing yourself to make mistakes, do things wrongly and be gentle enough on yourself is vital.

Accept that you (or someone else) has made a mistake. Forgive the parties involved. Draw a line under it. Move on.

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