Have you even noticed how much you can help someone else by giving them a little encouragement and praise? Admire your wife’s new dress and it will warm her heart. Encourage a child who is struggling to get the violin to sound like music, and they will light up and try harder. Tell a coworker how much you admire their latest report and they will be so happy to know someone noticed their hard work. Let your boss know how much you appreciate all the effort she is putting into the training and development of all the managers, and it will reassure her that it was effort well spent.
Another way you can really help someone else is to forgive them when they make a mistake. Tell them you understand, and maybe even share some similar mistake you have made and the lessons you learned. Tell them you forgive them, and a heavy burden will be lifted from their shoulders. Encouraging and forgiving others can make a great difference in their lives. It can make them happier, more productive, and help them have a brighter outlook on the future.
But the people around you are not the only ones who need your encouragement and forgiveness. It is very important to understand that there is one more person who would really benefit from being encouraged and forgiven. You! Sometimes it’s easier to forgive others than ourselves. We are often harder on ourselves when we don’t reach our goals than we would be with others. Not only do we get discouraged when we don’t meet our expectations, but we hold on to mistakes from the past, instead of looking at the progress we’ve made.
This is both unhealthy and dangerous. It is unhealthy because of all the toxins that are released into our bodies from the stress we create when we are too harsh on ourselves. It is dangerous because we limit our future. We begin to measure what we can achieve in the future based on mistakes from our past and our discouraged self-image, rather than on our unlimited potential. That is why we have to forgive ourselves for mistakes from the past, so that we can go into the future encouraged, believing and passionate.
“People can be more forgiving than you can imagine. But you have to forgive yourself. Let go of what’s bitter and move on.”