“. . . Forgiveness is letting go of the past. . . .”Gerald Jampolsky, M.D.
One of my personal challenges is the inability to completely let go of past mistakes. I would like to say that it comes from a ‘perfectionist attitude’ toward some key areas in which my expectation is that of greatness. It is almost a comical contradiction in terms to associate me with perfection per se. Just ask my wife! She could easily point out areas that need major improvement.
I do, though, embrace the principle of forgiveness. Some say that absolution needs to start with oneself, probably the most difficult person to forgive. Do you struggle with this? I do.
My faith as a Christian leads me to believe in forgiveness. Forgiveness for things that are related to morality is easy to see, in some cases black and white. What about mistakes and failures that are not judged with any moral standard. How do we seek and accept forgiveness for these circumstances?
Letting go does not mean to forget. If we made a mistake in the past, what we learned can help us to succeed in the future. When not letting go becomes a major part of how we view ourselves, then the past becomes the present and may dictate future actions, some which may be counter to our growth and success in life.
In a recent Inc. Magazine article, the author states the following:
“I don’t care how successful you are, holding onto to the past or your latest mistake will only serve to slow you down. Successful people are not anchored by the past. They learn from it – fast – and move on to a bigger challenge.”
These words hit home for me. How many of us move quickly past our mistakes to bigger challenges? I move on to other challenges, but I also carry with me the burden of all the things that went wrong. An unrealistic view that creates an expectation of perfection is the source of that encumbrance. I want to be my best at all times.
Nine things go right, one thing goes wrong, and we focus on the one thing that went wrong. We would help in this journey if we embraced what we did well and focused on how to grow and expand our own successes.
In this lifetime, I am never going to be great at everything. Most projects and goals will include some actions that are less than fruitful. If we could minimize our losses and focus on our successes, the result would be many more successes.
During my 38 years as CEO of Hackbarth Delivery Service, I observed that there was never a time in the history of our company when a major failure, in the form of service or loss of a customer, did not follow with something greater and better. In fact, some employees would say things like, “Get ready!” after a major loss or disaster. They had bought into the idea that we succeed after any failure. What a great idea and attitude – “We succeed after every failure!”
What one failure of your life do you still carry with you each day? Is this burden affecting the good things you are trying to accomplish? How can you lessen the effects of past mistakes and focus more on the success you have had in your life?
Is now the right time to let go?