We all make mistakes. I know that. I try to accept it. Yet every time I err, I torture myself. I wish I could make time go backward to make the better choice, to do the right thing (whether I could have anticipated what the right thing is!).
I volunteered to watch a friend's kids for a couple of hours. Thing is, there was a snow warning. School was actually canceled, despite the fact that snow had yet to fall. I talked to the friend, and, when I learned that she had a couple of other options, accepted when she let me off the hook for the favor, due to my worries about the weather.
Turns out that there's no snow. And in fact, the roads are less hazardous than they have been due to warmer temperatures melting the black ice. I could have done the favour, no problem, and the kids would all have had a great time.
So I screwed up. I misjudged. I erred. And I can't let it go. I can't forgive myself. I guess my friend will forgive me. I hope she does. I'll owe her one or several. But I can't forgive myself.
It came to me just a few minutes ago that this inability to forgive is linked to hoarding. If I threw away something that I later wanted or needed or that turned out to be valuable, I'd feel this same crushing pain. It's awful. It's toxic. And I've felt it before, this same feeling, about things that were given away or thrown away or ruined by others or myself.
It's this same feeling that has kept me from fully using my law degree. What if I should err in a case, where not just things but people's lives or livelihoods are at stake? How could I go on from day to day knowing that mistakes will happen, that errors will be made?
The most successful people in life forgive themselves. When they err, they learn from it as best they can and they let it go. Churning these emotions is wasteful. It keeps me focused on something that can't be changed instead of moving forward.
I have no idea how to change. Imagine how that feels.