By: Sherry Levine, Regular Contributor
As a race we are far from perfect. Far is an understatement. We are miles, centuries, and light-years away from perfect.
If you try to be, you’ll fail, if you think you are, you’re wrong, if you expect someone else to be, you’ll be let down, if you never admit it, you’ll be disappointing many, and if you never forgive because of it, you’ll be angry forever.
What does it mean to forgive, to accept, to admit your downfalls and to say you’re sorry? I think it means you’re courageous, brave, and real. These actions are definitely not easy to do, and by no means natural, but incredibly important. Now of course there are things in this world that don’t deserve forgiveness, but rather need acceptance. And there are things you won’t be forgiven for, but at least you’ve taken responsibility. An apology given and accepted is one of the most genuine and wonderful interactions we can have with one another. It shows strength, security, empathy, and understanding. Yet we often see giving apologies and accepting them as an act of weakness.
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It’s very hard for some people to see their responsibility and own hand in situations. In a world of constant comparisons and measurements, we are obsessed with winning and being the best. It seems we feel we can’t be wrong, we don’t want to be wrong, and we must always be right. I would argue the opposite: taking responsibility for something you’ve done that you’re not proud of is one of the most important and respectable things a person can do.
In this act of taking responsibility, and saying you’re sorry, you are proving to yourself and the rest of the world that you control your actions and you control your life. You are intentional, aware and conscientious of your peers and the people in your life, and you are who you are because that’s who you chose to be. It wasn’t a mistake and it wasn’t by accident, but rather you chose to act this way and you are now aware that it was wrong. Don’t be afraid to shine light on your shortcomings, mishaps, and wrongdoings. We are human, we make mistakes, and although we admit fault, we are still good people.
On the flip side, being hurt by someone else can seem impossible to overcome. It’s amazing the pain someone else can cause you, and vice versa. But I promise you, eventually, when you’re ready of course, you must accept people for their failures and their downfalls. You must process that pain and try to move on. It’s often misunderstood that you simply will just eventually move on or get over something naturally, but this isn’t true. Moving on, forgiving and accepting, is an intentional act. It is something you must purposefully take action on. You don’t just fall into “moving on.”
We must engage in feelings and actions that will help us forgive and accept. It has been shown that the act of processing something traumatic (i.e.: talking about it, understanding it, sorting out your feelings about it, and committing to moving on from it) will ultimately heal you and free you from its long lasting, detrimental effects. Harboring feelings of anger and resentment will eat away at your insides. Life is far too short to hold onto these feelings forever. Learn to forgive, learn to accept, learn to say you’re sorry, and learn to be wrong and be perfectly imperfect.
About Sherry: I am Sherry Levine. A 26-year-old woman committed to supporting and inspiring women in any way I can. With my contributions to I AM THAT GIRL and my life-coaching program Generation Teen, designed to provide guidance to everyday teen girls, it is my mission to encourage and empower all women to create the happiest and most fulfilling life possible.