Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Each Day is an Opportunity to Recreate Yourself

Mistakes are an everyday part of life. Goodness knows, I've made more than my own share of them. And for the longest time, I beat myself up about those mistakes. From myself, I expected perfection. From others, not so much.

It was the poet, Alexander Pope who said,
    "To err is human; to forgive, divine."
An apt quote, indeed. But how many of us actually apply this adage to ourselves? We are far more likely to forgive someone else their mistakes than we are to forgive our own.

We fret about our mistakes. We self-talk. We ask, how could I have done that? I can't believe I said what I said! What's wrong with me! When will I learn! We are full of self-criticism and loathing.

And then we come up with all the clever lines we could have said instead. The perfect responses we couldn't think up in the moment. And we argue, actually argue, within our minds with the person who was a party to our mistake.

I used to have the most intense back-and-forth arguments with my deceased mother. Real doosies. About my hair, of all things.

She'd never wanted me to have it long, so I made it a point to wear it long when I was an adult. Despite how the strands were always tangled in my fingers when I washed it. And how I needed gobs of conditioner to be able to put a comb through it. And worst of all, how I had to keep needle nose pliers at the ready to clear the bathtub drain of the nasty clumps my stubbornness left behind.

Gross on so many levels.

There were days when I would spend two or more hours arguing in my head.
I'd calmly and logically say, "Mother, I'm an adult. You don't get to tell me what I can and can't do with my hair." She would chide back in almost sing-song fashion, "Short hair suits you more. You'll be sorrrrrry."

It left me wanting to tear out my hair! Well, maybe not, but you get the picture.

I honestly thought I was being adult about the whole thing. But clearly, this was a desperate act of leftover childish rebellion. And if that weren't enough, when I did come to realize what I was doing and put an abrupt end to it, I was even harder on myself for the rebellion in the first place.

Talk about crazymaking!

And then one day I discovered that I could see each new day as a new beginning. What a concept! I could actually recreate myself every day by choosing to forgive myself the night before for anything and everything I considered inappropriate. For the first time I forgave myself in the same way I was so easily able to forgive others. It was among the most liberating decisions I've ever made. And what a difference it made to my sleeping habits.

I now recreate myself each day with a morning mantra:

    I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to start a brand new day.
    A day where I am open to love, kindness,
understanding, compassion, knowledge, wisdom, creativity and laughter.
    A day where I expect something wonderful to happen.

And every day something wonderful does happen.

What do you do each day to recreate yourself?

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