How to Forgive Like a 5-Year-Old

You can learn valuable lessons by reconnecting with your childhood self.

When I look at children I see pure potential: beautiful, raw, authentic possibility. This past year taught me that this incredible gift need not have an expiry date.

As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, reflection can become a lacerating path to walk down; passing by missteps and condemning myself for each decision that wasn’t quite right. Even though I respect that the past gives us the reward of the present, it can still be painful to sit through reruns of growing pains.

But what if I could be childish? If I could adopt a spirit of play and accept that I am still learning, uncovering, and exploring my own glorious potential—then I could forgive myself for falling and see my grass stains as badges of honor. After all, I would never scorn a child for not knowing what they have never been taught and I would cheer for their blunders as an exploration of new possibilities.

A new goal emerged this past year: Treat myself like a 5-year-old. Suddenly habits that had been whimsical intentions all fit into one lifestyle where I spoke to myself with kindness, took care to ensure my foods were nourishing, enjoyed the occasional afternoon nap, and even put myself in timeout to avoid being reactive.

Brene Brown researches vulnerability and states that this place of trust and unknowing is the breeding ground of creativity. My 5-year-old self embodies the three elements of vulnerability: courage to be imperfect, compassion to be kind to ourselves first and then to others, and connection as a result of authenticity. This is who I strive to be age 5 to 105.

Reconnecting to my inner child gave me a wild forgiveness. Genuine acceptance began to grow and I rekindled my love of learning.

I aspire to create, express, and discover everyday of my life; to be a person who is constantly pushing her potential. Learning to reflect on my experience with love and appreciation has allowed me to cultivate awareness rather than shame. Creating new thinking is a process and I’m not perfect. Only now I know it’s better that way.

Photo by Jon Chiang

holstee_logo_2Originally posted on Holstee’s Mindful Matter, the best place to read stories and tips on how to live life fully.


Kaitlyn EdieKaitlyn Edie is a lifelong learner who is passionate about enriching the world by helping others become their best selves. As an intern at Holstee, Kaitlyn was opened up to a new world of authenticity and compassion for which she is ever grateful. Future goals include learning to speak French, holding the position of Chief Learning Officer, making green juice every morning, and owning a home with a red door.