I should introduce this blog with an explanation/citation/reference guide. I really enjoy listening to podcasts. This may be an extension of the “I’ve become a middle aged woman who listens to talk radio” syndrome, but I’ve been having fun exploring new podcasts and choosing what I need to listen to on any given day.
Elizabeth Gilbert has a “Big Magic” podcast. She closed her season with Brene Brown. I’ve listened to the entire season twice now, but that interview with Brene Brown? I treat it like a touchstone.
There’s one statement in there that keeps resonating for me, not only as a writer, but as a living, breathing, walking around human. Brene Brown tells Elizabeth Gilbert that discipline isn’t what keeps people writing – or pursuing any creative passion – it’s forgiveness. We have to forgive ourselves for the off days, or the crappy writing sessions, or the missed word count goals. We have to forgive ourselves, plain and simple.
I’m a firm believer that forgiveness is essential to a healthy life. No, I do not believe that anyone is, or should be, REQUIRED to forgive someone who has done them harm. Forgiveness has to be given freely, or it has no value.
But forgiving yourself is something as necessary as oxygen when it comes to sustaining a healthy life. Self-forgiveness is emotional breathing. And this is where I think we can use that old saw, discipline. 😉 Why don’t we practice forgiving ourselves daily? Run with this, if you will: I do something cockamamie or thoughtless or incorrect every day of my life. I say the wrong thing; I accidentally flail an arm at the wrong moment and slap someone; I don’t finish every darn thing on my list; I just do things that leave me feeling awkward (more awkward than usual) and irritated at myself. So, to be disciplined about self-forgiveness, I have to let these things go.
This is where I think the magic ingredient can be found in laughter. I say the wrong thing, and I apologize and laugh at myself (I’m talking about the open-mouth-insert-foot stuff here); I apologize for clumsiness if I injure someone other than myself, and then mentally tell myself what I would tell any of my friends or family who talk with their hands; in the last example, I remind myself that every to do list should have some “stretch goals” on it that may or may not be fully achievable in one day.
Self-immolation is great – if you’re re-enacting the martyrdom of Joan of Arc – but not so much when you’re building your life and exploring your creativity.
So, inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown, I think we should all try a “21 Days of Forgiveness” challenge. Yes, I’ve chosen the 21 days because that’s how long it takes to form a habit. Although I strongly encourage self-forgiveness for the entire 21 days, I am totally willing to admit that I am NOT the boss of you, and if you feel that someone else needs your forgiveness on any of those days, then go for it! Also, forgive yourself if it takes you more than a short time frame to forgive yourself. Some baggage is heavier and more unwieldy than other baggage. It’s okay if it takes more than 21 days to finish unpacking it.
I want to let go of the obstacles I throw in my own path. Self-forgiveness is part of it.
Who wants to join me?
Blessings to you all!