Can we forgive ourselves and embrace our flaws?

A friend of mine shared an experience with me about having bought a fake jade in a street market during travelling. She mentioned that she was obsessed in searching for information about how to differentiate real and fake jade throughout her trip. She also kept feeling upset about the possibility that she had bought a fake one. In her mind, she kept thinking: “I’m such an idiot for being cheated.”  She felt herself a failure for not being smart enough and criticised herself for being so ignorant. Have you ever had such an experience of making the wrong decision that causing some loss?  Of course, as human being, we all make mistakes and do something that causing regret.  How can we embrace our flaws and forgive ourselves?

For those who tend to hold high expectations on oneself, it is common for them to have lots of self-critical thoughts when having made wrong decisions in their lives. In this case, we need to acknowledge that we have these self criticisms but try not to believe these as facts. In fact, thoughts are just thoughts and may not truly reflect the reality. For instance, in reality, many jade lovers had been cheated for having bought fake jade in their journey of collecting jade. It is common for people to buy poor quality jade if they are not experts. When my friend saw her thoughts of being an idiot and being so ignorant as only thoughts, she could be more detached and realised that it is a common mistake people made in buying jade in street markets. 

In fact, it is always uncomfortable and shameful to have made mistakes and wrong decisions. How can we forgive ourselves and embrace our flaws?  One of the strategies is to see this as an opportunity for growth. As people always say, we all learn from mistakes. We learn more when we had made a mistake than we we did something right from the beginning. For my friend, she reflected that she had made such a mistake because of greed. She told me that she had spotted a jade bracelet in very beautiful colours in the street market. She knew if she bought a similar bracelet in a famous jade retailer, it would cost her a lot of money. When she saw such a bracelet in the street booth, she immediately thought she could save a lot of money and got a beautiful one. As a result, she did not seriously check if the jade bracelet was fake. 

If we see mistakes as a learning opportunity, we will be able to embrace it and forgive ourselves. It is beneficial if we can embrace that our life journey is a learning process. We are not born to be perfect and without flaws. It is too dichotomous to think that making mistakes means being stupid or a failure. How can we learn if we did not realise our inherent ignorance?  It is always the humble ones learn more. 

Self-criticism sometimes is also inevitable if we realise there is a discrepancy between our decisions or behaviours and our expectations on ourselves. It is not helpful if we tried too hard to stop being self-critical. In fact, it is common for perfectionists to criticise oneself for being self-critical. These perfectionists may try very hard to stop their self-critical thoughts. However, the harder they tried to stop their self-criticism, the less likely their self-criticism goes away. It is wiser to accept that self criticism is also common and be more compassionate to oneself. 

In our life journey, let’s be more relaxed and embrace our true self to become a complete one. 

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