We are selling our condo. As part of that process we wanted to get the place cleaned up, decluttered, and ready. Our kitchen floors were what I would call a bit of a mess. The grout in the tile was cracked and dirty. We reached out to one well reputed contractors and asked him to help us find someone to replace the tile floor which he did. The tile floor installer comes to our place to estimate the cost of replacing the floor. As part of that he took a hammer and cracked one of the tiles to see what was underneath. No worries we had extras but decided to replace the floor. Stay with me for a minute to see how this begins only to go sideways and I will get to the point, I promise.
Alongside that while we were committed to replacing the floor, and as part of our decluttering we threw out the extra tile from the current floor. What the heck right, we were replacing it anyway. The installer comes back with a high price and was taking too long to commit to installing a new floor. We decided to re-grout instead (forgetting we threw out the extra tile). Mistake number one!!! We remembered the night before the re-grouter was coming that we threw out the extra tile. Oh no, the ego mind was beating me hard this night, telling me how stupid I was to not only throw it out but forgetting I did it. My heart sank and I didn’t sleep that night.
New contractor comes over and begins his work while we went out on a mission to find a tile to match the broken one. I don’t know if anyone out there has ever tried to match a tile, but from what I now understand they go obsolete very quickly. You see where this is going, right???? We went from store to store getting more and more defeated at every turn. Meanwhile the ego mind was nattering away,
Ego mind: “maybe this store has the right one”
Me: ooops nope
Ego mind”“oh there is another store, go in there and try to see if they have the tile”
Me: nope again I should go home and admit my defeat. But my ego mind would not let me Ego mind:“there is another store try that one”.
Me: Nope again I need to go home.
Ego mind: “there is another store right around the corner, if you don’t go into that one it may have the very tile and you would have missed it”. I listen and go again; nope. And on and on from store to store listening to the ever present mind chatter. Came home with the one we thought was close and the piece was installed. Not a match and very noticeable but now part of the kitchen floor.
The ego mind starts again its incessant chatter about how much of a failure I am and cannot do anything right. Then the “shoulds” begin. “You should have told the re-grout guy to wait”, “You should have not allowed that piece of tile to go in”, “You should have been more on focus”, “You should have had someone come look first to give options”, and on and on and on it went. I felt like a failure and the stupidest person on the planet.
Being a meditator and spiritually committed, I started to try being more compassionate with myself. Didn’t work!! Stomach sank and I didn’t sleep well again that night. I woke up at 3:30am and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I MADE A MISTAKE!!!! For some reason the quiet voice of my soul was also whispering in my ear (I really don’t know why) LOVE ALWAYS!!!
We all make em (mistakes) but yet our ego minds want to beat us incessantly. Believe me when I say you have made mistakes including your relationship, we all do. If you would like to know how to move past a relationship you have to understand those mistakes and where you went wrong. One of my favourite authors Marianne Williamson said at a workshop “yes, there were problems in the relationship and you were one of them”. When we look at the nature of relationships as intending to help us learn, we must take into consideration what were those mistakes I made? Was I too insensitive? Did I show love enough? Was I compassionate to my former partner? Did I love as deeply as I could? Did I say hurtful things at times? Did I treat my former partner as my very best friend or did I treat outsiders with compassion and forgiveness? If you can say yes to any of these (and there are lots more, the list is long), then you made some mistakes.
Deepak Chopra says: “We can’t change what we are not aware of”. I would add, once we become aware of those mistakes, we must direct energy, effort and attention towards them (rather than avoid the awareness or distract ourselves) to ensure we do our very best to not repeat them. When we can say to ourselves, “wow that was not a nice way to treat that person” and make space for feeling bad about it, we are starting to learn to make changes for the future. We may make those same mistakes again but that is the process of change. Something I call mental gymnastics ( I will explain this in the future).
Once we understand that the mistakes we made were coming from a place of hurt, shame, guilt, whatever, we commit ourselves to three areas:
First, allowing ourselves to feel those negative feelings such as guilt and shame, while making space for them to exist. Don’t push them away, they are there to teach us something.
Second, we apologize! As hard as it is (maybe the other person will not be so gracious when we do), the exercise of apologizing is for our healing and while the other person may benefit from an apology, you will gain much more when all is said and done.
Lastly, once we apologize for our mistakes, we begin throwing love and compassion toward ourselves by simply allowing for us to make a mistake. This is what I believe was happening to me when I heard that quiet voice saying “Love Always”. We need to understand where the mistake was and why we did it while understanding we did the best we could with what we knew at the time. That…. is true FORGIVENESS. When we start to forgive ourselves for our mistakes while understanding we did the best we could with what we knew at the time, we start moving forward because now we will understand that everyone does the best they can with what they know and you can then forgive others. That is growth in its finest form.
We will still put our condo up for sale but now have to go ahead and replace the floor. The tile now has a message in writing to myself that says “Love Always”. I put this there because every time I want to beat myself up I can look at my own words and say, its’ ok to make a mistake that I was only human as we all are. Today is a good day and I am not there yet in forgiving myself but I am on my way. Compassion for now.
Donna has a Masters of Social Work and is a therapist who specializes in Family Counselling in Calgary. To learn more about Donna click https://www.thedivorceangels.com/vendor/donna-murphy/