Occasionally, when my four-year-old makes a mistake, she’ll ask me if I still love her. “Of course I do- I will never not love you,” I reply! As much as it hurts me to know that she questions this, I totally understand the feeling. I often have a hard time with forgiveness, particularly for myself.
Last week I did something that I’m having a hard time getting past. I didn’t hurt anyone, it didn’t really even affect anyone other than my husband and me (okay, and maybe our checking account- ouch!) But he hasn’t done a thing to shame me; he only assured me that it’s no big deal. I just can’t seem to get over my mistake.
The problem is that I’m finding it difficult to forgive myself. If my one of my children, my husband, or a friend made a mistake, I’d give them a pep talk. I’d remind them that no body was hurt, life goes on, it’s a lesson to learn from, etc. Why should I use up my mental energy shaming myself over something that literally no one else cares about? Answer: I shouldn’t.
As a mother, I want to teach my children that mistakes are a part of the human condition; they’re inevitable. They’ll have turns as both offender and offended, multiple times in their lives. I want to model to them that they should learn from these mistakes. I want to show them how to forgive both others and themselves, and how to be kind and gracious without letting others take them for granted.