On this Erev Yom Kippur, the evening before the Day of Atonement in the Jewish faith, it's time to think about forgiveness and atoning for the mistakes we've made in the previous year, as well as considering how we can do better in the coming one. If you're like me, you have a difficult time doing the necessary soul searching that leads to successfully incorporating forgiveness and atonement into your life. Forgiving, in particular, is truly a learned skill, best learned when we're young. The sooner we learn how to forgive, the more easily we can do it, and the healthier it is for all of us in the long run. Forgive those who have transgressed you, and atone for the sins you have committed onto others.
So how about forgiving yourself?
How many mistakes have you made over the past year, for which you've beat yourself up and lost sleep, ruminating on what you could have done differently?
How about the decisions you've made, the ones you truly believed were the best choices at the time, that turned out to be so wrong? Wrong choices for which you keep reminding yourself over and over again?
What about the times you've let your emotions get the best of you, knowing deep down, how much you still regret those times?
It's so important to forgive yourself and let all of that go. Why? Because when you don't forgive yourself, you become just as stuck as you do when you don't forgive others. It affects your self esteem, your outlook on life, your daily attitude, and your demeanor. It affects the energy you put out into the world and how you treat others, when you don't forgive yourself.
Of course, you still need to hold yourself accountable for your behavior and your transgressions, and make every effort possible to improve and make changes. Also, forgiveness does not necessarily meaning forgetting, whether it's your own transgressions or those of others. Many times you need to remember, in order not to repeat the same mistakes. At other times you need to remember, so that you don't make yourself vulnerable to repeated toxic behavior from others, should they not learn from their own mistakes.
So forgive yourself, because when you don't, it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to forgive others.
To all of those celebrating, Gmar Chatimah Tova. May you have an easy and meaningful fast, and may everyone be sealed in the Book of Life for a healthy, happy, peaceful, and productive year.
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