Although you should not erase your responsibility for the past, when you make the past your jailer, you destroy your future. It is such a great moment of liberation when you learn to forgive yourself, let the burden go, and walk out into a new path of promise and possibility.-John O’Donohue
I thought that as I got older I would gradually get wiser and wiser and make fewer and fewer mistakes, and then regret and disappointment would fade into the sunset. Hardly! I find that as I get older, there are more things to obsess over. While it’s important to look honestly at ourselves and assess any harm we may have caused, we shouldn’t allow this process to “become our jailer” as John O’Donohue so eloquently states. But, how do we move to the next stage and “let the burden go”? It’s not easy. What helps me is remembering that living fully means that I am opening up to a wide range of thoughts and emotions—some pleasant and some uncomfortable. So, we just do it! We commit to forgiving ourselves and accept that being uncomfortable is just part of life. And, as a friend recently shared with me, by forgiving ourselves, we act as an example of self-love and self-compassion and thereby give others permission to love and forgive themselves.