I'm only a man

Life lesson: you are going to screw up. Mistakes are inevitable. Conflict will arise. I am composing a step by step guide on how to deal with mistakes. Because I have made many. Therefore, I am qualified. You see, guilt plays a major factor in the way we live our lives. And it is there for a reason. Removing the feeling of guilt means you have dealt with issues accordingly.

Step one. Own it.
This is the hardest one. So often I've found myself searching for scapegoats or loopholes to get myself out of something I have done. Don't place blame. Don't look for another way out. Step up. This will make the rest of the process a lot easier.

Step two. Seek forgiveness. Find those you have wronged and repent. If you are religious, include your god. The most important part of step two is making sure step one is complete. Insincere apologies are easy to spot. Insincere forgiveness will ensue. Depending on the character of the person, you might receive none at all. This step is the hardest because sometimes forgiveness won't come easily. Not everybody is equipped with the grace that is necessary. But doing your part is a major step in the process.

Step three. Forgive yourself.
For the longest time, this seemed like the dumbest concept to me. Almost like a cop out. "Well I forgive myself, so I'm ok with what I did." Not the right way to look at it. Forgiving yourself involves being aware of the transgressions and fully understanding the impact that you have made. Also, you must be sincere in your remorse. But you have to forgive yourself. That is the only way to get to step four. The only way to get there.

Step four. Learn.
Learn from your mistakes. This is a common lesson in life. But, going back to step three, is impossible to truly accomplish without the past three steps. You will never learn if you don't own your mistakes. You will never learn if you don't seek forgiveness. And you will never learn if you don't forgive yourself. Now, there is knowledge you can gather without the three previous steps. But not the knowledge necessary to avoid the mistake again. By owning a mistake, you learn that getting to the next step is much easier and quicker than trying to make excuses and lie. By asking for forgiveness, you learn how to be graceful towards other people when their trespasses affect you. By forgiving yourself, you have lifted a burden that might be heavy enough to stop you from moving on to this step. You can now revisit the mistake and take notes on how to avoid the same thing in the future.

Step five. Understand the difference between forgive and forget.
Huge difference. Some mistakes will linger for a lifetime. If you have wronged someone, they might never forget it. But the steps above will make it easier to live. Forgiving is seeing that someone is sorry for their actions. Having mercy and grace. Understanding that they never truly meant any harm. Understanding that mistakes are a part of life. That we are all human. That is forgiveness. And a key part of life. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. And as the person that made the mistake, you must realize this. And you must not push anyone to leave it in the past. This is only up to one person. And it's not you.

If you have been thinking of mistakes you've made and people you've wronged while reading, think about this. As I said in step four, how have you reacted to people that have wronged you? When you've made a mistake, how starved were you for forgiveness? Someone close to you will make a mistake. And you have to put yourself in their shoes. You have to forgive. I am so blessed and so lucky to have the friends that I have. I've done so many things wrong and received so much grace and love. My only hope is to be able to repay them in the same fashion. Grace is contagious. We are all human. We will all make mistakes. We will all fall. We will all die. Some will die with guilt. Others with grace. The choice is yours. Seek forgiveness.


1 comment:

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