I did something really stupid last week. I lost something VERY important. One of those irreplaceable things that money can’t buy. Something so valuable that upon realizing the real life horror that I had lost it, I burst into tears. I'm talking a deep, sobbing, ugly cry! Truthfully I had trouble going to sleep and nightmares for days.
It happened last week on the morning of my flight to Vietnam. I was rushing as I scrambled to pack last minute for our six day adventure ahead. We had been up almost all night singing our hearts out at KTV (a popular pastime in Taiwan). We had only gotten about three hours of sleep. So I wasn't thinking clearly when I quickly grabbed my memory cards, recklessly throwing them into my camera bag.
Why didn’t I take just 30-seconds to put the memory cards safely back into my camera?
Of ALL the things to lose! My best friend and her boyfriend flew 7,000 miles from San Diego to hang out with us and see Taiwan. It was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that I made sure to capture on my Nikon D7100. And now all 1,200 of those stunning photos are GONE. Poof.
You make not think this qualifies for, “a big mistake”. But if you know me, then you know about my obsession and love for photography. My photos are the LAST thing I ever want to lose. That’s why I was a complete wreck when I realized they’re gone forever.
I also promised to send all the pictures to my best friend of our trip, so naturally I felt so guilty. Even after confessing to her and getting her loving forgiveness and understanding, I was still SO bummed. Luckily I managed to save some of the great pictures of her and her boyfriend on the memory card that I didn’t lose! In honor of her, here are some of my favorites below.
How do we forgive ourselves after a big F#@k Up and move forward with our lives?
We all do it. Make mistakes and do stupid things sometimes. We’re only human. Imperfection is our nature. But knowing these facts we can still be our harshest critics. I’m no expert, but I have a process for self-forgiveness that’s works wonders for me. It pulls me out of my self-lothing misery before things get out of hand! I’ve broken it down into five simple steps for you...
#1 Feel it.
The first step is to feel the pain, sadness, anger, frustration, loss, and any other unsettling or even euphoric (depending on what you did) feelings you’re having. Feel ALL of it and let it out with a sobbing ugly cry if necessary. The worst thing you can do is cover up your pain with something else like food, alcohol, your drug of choice, television, work, or any other busyness that distracts you from the present moment. If you supress how you’re really feeling, those emotions will get trapped deep inside you. Later they may resurface as physical stress in your body, emotional stress on your mind, and slowly weigh down your spirit. There will be a time to move on, but first you need to feel.
#2 Own it.
The best way I know to own your shit is to write about it. Document your mistake and all the feelings that go along with it in a journal. Accept that you messed up and can’t change it now. Just be VERY mindful of your language. At the beginning of this blog I said, “I did something really stupid”. Notice I didn’t call myself stupid. Language is so powerful. Take a few seconds now to say the two phrases below out loud...
“I’m so stupid”
“I made a stupid decision”
Notice the huge difference in how they each made you feel? The first one can leave you feeling guilty, ashamed, and powerless. Whereas the second one leaves you feeling empowered to change while still owning your mistake. Be loving to yourself through your writing and self-talk. Don’t bash yourself.
ACTION STEP: Journal about what happened and all you're feeling.
#3 Forgive it.
Ask for forgiveness even if you don’t feel ready to forgive yourself. If there are other people affected by your mistake, apologize to them. This was the case with failing to give my best friend the pictures I promised to her. Don’t have any expectations in your apology. Just speak from your heart and genuinely own your mistake and say sorry. When it comes to forgiving yourself, keep in mind there’s been so many people who have felt (and will feel) the EXACT same way you’re feeling now. You are not a bad person. We are human beings and we all make mistakes.
ACTION STEP: Write and say a prayer asking for forgiveness. Something like this...
“I made a big mistake. I (say/own your mistake here). I am willing to forgive myself. I want to forgive myself. But I need help to fully forgive myself. Please help me to forgive myself and release this. I know that no one is perfect. I made a mistake and I will learn from this. Help me, thank you, help me.”
*The last part of the prayer, “help me, thank you help me,” I got from one of my mentors Gabby Bernstein. It feels so good sometimes to just trust and surrender to a higher power!
#4 Confess it.
Talk about your mistake with other people. There’s something about confessing to another human that helps you fully release the event and feelings. Even if you confess anonymously on some internet blog, tell at least one person. Get comfortable with talking about it. The more people you tell, the more the event and emotions lose their power over you. Release, release, release!
ACTION STEP: Tell someone what happened.
#5 Fix it.
A lot of times we move forward to quickly or dismiss the memory without taking enough time to reflect on the lesson. Then later we wind up making the same mistake when put into a similar situation. Write a promise to yourself and visualize how your actions will be different in the future.
For me, I’ve made a promise to myself to only keep my memory cards in my camera, in my computer, or in their safe case. I have visualized myself doing this in the future when I’m in a rush. This is a non-negotiable promise I’ve made to myself to protect my future clients from ever experiencing the same pain of loss that I did.
ACTION STEP: Write down and visualize how you will prevent your mistake from happening again in the future.
Thank you so much for reading. Before you go, please take one-minute to leave a comment below. Let me know if you would like more blogs like this and what other topics you're interested in learning more about :)