When I got married, I remember reading an article in a bridal magazine about couples who were celebrating long and happy marriages. As we do, they had been asked for their secrets to wedded bliss, and as we love to see, the responses were a mixture of poignant, sarcastic, practical and funny. One stood out to me.
When asked for the secret to her long and happy marriage, one woman told the story of her wedding day, when she made a list of unforgivable things she would divorce her husband for. She didn’t share what was on the list or how long it was; that was left to our imaginations. But, that was not the secret. Every time her husband did something that ticked her off she would say, “you’re lucky that’s not on the list.”
I laughed and tucked that bit of wisdom away. None of us are perfect, and we all need a wide berth of forgiveness sometimes. As we have arrived at a brand new year, I wonder if it is a good day to make a list of our own: a list of forgivables.
We’ve done this New Year thing before, haven’t we? We know the drill. I’ve written more articles on how to set the best New Year's goals than I care to recall. It’s all good stuff; new energy is not to be underestimated. So make your goals, and make ‘em good. Be specific about what you want to achieve, and chart a course of small steps to reach it. Go for it!
And then, make a list of the things you will forgive yourself for. Things are going to happen. We’re going to screw up some of it at some point. Let’s go ahead and put it out on the table right now. Here is what is on my list of forgivables for 2017.
1. I will forgive myself for not eating perfectly healthfully all the time. I love healthy eating, and I do always regret it when I stray from that path. Except when I don’t. There will definitely be times this year when I wonder why I kept eating even though I was full. But, I won’t let that stop me from eating healthier the rest of the year.
2. I will forgive myself for sleeping through my strength training workout. There will be days this year when I push the snooze button too many times, or check to see if my workout buddy messaged that she wasn’t going to make it and go back to sleep. It will happen. I’ll forgive myself for that, and make sure I do more workouts than I miss.
3. I will forgive myself for negative self-talk. It happens before we even know it! That voice in our head says, “I’ll never get this right,” or “what made me think I could pull this off,” or “I’m not strong enough for this.” I’ll forgive myself for that, and counteract those negative thoughts with louder, positive ones.
4. I will forgive myself for not being able to do everything that people want me to do. This is a big one. I just love it when people are happy and will do just about anything to make it happen. But, it’s impossible for me to do everything that people ask me to do and also be a good steward of my own health and caretaker for my family. So, I will hold up my “I’m just human,” card and carry on.
5. I will forgive myself for not always having excellent blog ideas. I love writing this each week for you, and sometimes I think my ideas are great and other times they are just so-so. I am going to forgive myself for that, and I hope you will too.
What is on your list? What are you willing to forgive yourself for so you can move on and keep making progress? So many times we let one bump in the road, one mistake, one miscalculation mean the end of our journey. Ain’t nobody got time for that. We all screw it up, and we all deserve a wide berth of forgiveness sometimes, even from ourselves.
As you go into this great new year, go boldly. Make mistakes. And when you recognize them, stop and make corrections, thankful that whatever you just did was on the list.