Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gacious Gaffs 11/20/08

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.


Alas, with senior citizenship come regrets. In youth all of our errors we tend to take little notice of, quickly forgive ourselves for and pass them over for the next adventure But they turn out to have done nothing more than stack up under the proverbial carpet. Then comes the house cleaning time when we lift up the carpet and have to clean up the mess.

Isn't it a shame that we can't go back and undo all the dumb things we did? Why weren't we perfect at the time? Why did I forget to do this, failed to do that and did the other thing wrong? Maybe I thought I was doing the right thing at the time.

The fact is that there has never been a human who didn't make mistakes. How do they get by without taking a hatchet to their heads?

"To err is human, to forgive, divine," goes the old saying. Sure, we have to learn to forgive those who have done us wrong, either intentionally or by accident. That's a divine thing to do. But what about forgiving ourselves?

Some of my past mistakes still haunt me, and they will attack me unexpectedly, like mosquitos. I mentally dig a hole and bury them and some of them stay buried, some don't. Others are too big to bury. What to do, what to do?!

Gandhi is telling us that we have the freedom to make mistakes. Well, it seems to me that if we have the freedom to do that then we also have the right and freedom to forgive ourselves for those mistakes. Most of us don't exercise that right often enough. And so we live with the memory of errors that should have been discarded into the trash heap and left to rot somewhere long ago.

You will be surprised at what other people think of you when you realize how often they don't. So when the next regret pops into your head, look it right in the eye and say "I forgive you."



Sandra said...

yes but that is easy to say and harder to do isn't it

Ben said...

Very interesting post, DB. It's a complex thing. There's no question we need to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, yet we need to balance that with an awareness of our propensity for making the mistake in the first place, or else be destined to repeat it. It's the forgive without the forget. Thank goodness for chocolate.


Dannelle said...

The Jewish Mother in me says "Guilt? Guilt is good!" that's a joke, Dannelle

Karen said...

"So when the next regret pops into your head, look it right in the eye and say "I forgive you."

this applies to me and my daughter just yesterday when she had no patience for my fibromyalgia pain and how it inhibited me from being upbeat and happy...then I went home and berated myself for not being upbeat and happy...I am presently trying to forgive myself...

thanks for the thoughtful post today.

Big Mark 243 said...

Good point. Forgiving yourself is the best gift you can get! I have to say that I worried more about my mistakes at the time of the error, than I do when I look back at them.

I am glad to have made it thru them all, to be here to worry about them at all.

Joyce said...

How many times I have laid my regrets in that big whole and walked away, only to return and dig some back up. Last night was such a night. I was still digging at 3 a.m. I hope tonight my demon's will stay buried and I can sleep. Good entry if you can make it work.
Hugs, Joyce

Beth said...

Or as Kris Kristofferson wrote, and Janis Joplin sang, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Hanging on to past regrets doesn't do us any good.

Hugs, Beth