Forgive Yourself (and others) and Move On

December 2, 2016 — Leave a comment

SO how was your Thanksgiving? This picture captures the essence of mine. Yes, that is my 20 year old daughter climbing through her apartment window at college (fortunately left unlocked), because she left her keys at home.

Forgive Yourself (and others) and Move On

Here’s the story…

We’d been in the car about an hour, driving her back to school after Thanksgiving break. She opened her phone case and said, “Where are my school ID and credit card? They should be in the pocket of my phone case.” She searched the car; she searched her backpack; she searched her purse. Nope not there! “Shall we turn around?” I asked. “No!”, she replied. “I’ve got too much studying, to waste 2 hours. We left early so I could study today. Just mail them to me tomorrow.”

15 minutes later…

“Where’s my winter coat?” The keys to her school apartment were in the pocket – it was left at home .

“Shall I turn around now?”


I could see her getting madder and madder at herself. Total frustration with herself was settling in. She was tired. The semester had been really rough and she had missed out on a lot of sleep. Her frustration spilled over to me. I apologized for hanging her coat up in the closet (thus the coat was out of sight and out of mind).

“So let’s make plan,” I said. “What’s the worst thing that could happen? We wait in a coffee shop doing homework (and Mom drinking a cup of tea) until a roommate returns in about 5 hours OR we call the landlord and pay $50 to have him let us in OR we can break-in to your apartment.”

She’s still overwhelmed with frustration.

“Let’s stop for brunch.”

We find a restaurant. Get seated and order. She’s still overwhelmed with frustration.

As our eggs arrive I say, “Kristen, I know you’re very mad at yourself right now.”

“Yeah, Mom, I can’t believe how stupid I can be.”

Teachable moment…

“Forgive yourself, so you can move on…”

I looked at my daughter that I love so dearly, feeling her hurt (she and I are a lot alike) and said…

You’ve had such a rough semester. You’re tired and feeling overwhelmed. Life is filled with times of stress and feeling overwhelmed and in those moments we all do stupid things and make mistakes.

But it’s how we recover from those mistakes that really matters.

So first you have to forgive yourself, so that you can move forward. Dwelling on the mistake or blaming yourself (or me) doesn’t help us recover. Let it go… Can you let it go?

And what’s our plan? And can we live with the worst option? Sure we can.

Hallelujah! The window was unlocked.

“Forgive yourself, so you can move on…”

I’m thankful for that car ride and the reminder I had that day. If I stew in the frustration of my mistakes, it’s not good for me. Granted, I should learn from my mistakes but certainly not wallow in them.

My own growth depends on:

  • Seeing my mistake
  • Admitting I was wrong
  • Saying I’m sorry (to myself and others)
  • Creating a plan to repair what I have broken

Next time…

I’d like to write a little more about Forgiveness – next time about the power of Forgiving Others.

What’s one of your experiences with struggling with forgiving yourself? How did it hurt you not to forgive yourself and how did it help you when you did?