Opportunities for personal growth

Forgiveness

The grief expert says
Dr. Chris MacKinnon explains the importance of forgiving our imperfect selves. (3:22)Video transcript
Dr. Chris MacKinnon explains the importance of forgiving those who don't meet our expectations. (3:22)Video transcript

When I meet a family, I just sit with them and have a conversation. This doesn’t have to get complicated. I ask them about the patient, who they are, what the last few days have been like. Before long, we’re talking about their last Thanksgiving dinner. It can be a really simple conversation, but I’ve learned through experience that it goes a long way. That’s what people remember. – Canadian paramedic

There will be situations in which the only factor you can control is how you respond. It’s important to set reasonable and realistic expectations for yourself. When you enter a home, remind yourself of what’s realistically possible. As you think back on a call, reflect on what was truly possible. 

No one is perfect. Forgiving oneself, while not easy, is necessary. Perfection is about all-or-nothing thinking: one is either perfect or one is not. Seeking perfection is often a means to cope with anxiety. If I can be perfect then I don’t have to accept the alternative: I’m imperfect, unacceptable or even unlovable. The middle ground is a healthier place, where you acknowledge and learn to live with your own and other’s human imperfections.