On Forgiving Yourself
Hi friends! I know I haven’t written a more personal post in awhile so thank you for so patiently bearing with me. The truth is that I’ve been busy living and and putting all of that newfound wisdom to good use! I’ve also been devouring self-help books like crazy and can’t wait to share a few with you. But for today, a topic that I’ve come face to face with more of late and am anxious to work out on the page, so to speak: forgiveness. It’s a funny thing, really. We cover forgiveness in-depth as children and young adults, learning how to let go of friends who wronged us on the playground, parents who weren’t perfect, boyfriends who left us for the homeroom heart throb.
But forgiveness comes a lot harder as life gets harder and, unfortunately, gets brushed under the rug like a dustball we’d rather to ignore. We don’t talk about it at cocktail parties because that would require re-living the pain someone caused us. We hesitate to ask for it because that would mean admitting we were wrong and are flawed and that makes us vulnerable. Then there’s the flipside of forgiveness, where we give it too freely and set ourselves on a path of repeated hurt. I tend to fall into this camp, of being all too quick to forgive others, assuming that I was somehow to blame or didn’t “deserve” better, and far too slow to forgive myself. It doesn’t take anything monumental either. Ordering a non-returnable rug from One Kings Lane that’s ALL WRONG for the guest room can send me into a tailspin. Spacing a friend’s birthday or writing a sloppy email because I’m exhausted and over-extended is grounds for self-flagellation. Passing up a job opportunity for fear of failure, staying in a relationship for too long because something is better than nothing, or withdrawing from my partner when anxiety gets the better of me….those are transgressions I can ruminate on for days or even years if I don’t allow myself the same grace I so easily give others.
Regardless of whether you struggle to forgive someone who has caused you harm, or whether that someone is you, you won’t find peace until you forgive. That doesn’t mean you forget (fool me once…), it means honoring that we are all doing the best we can in any given moment. Every experience, no matter how painful, is a reflection of where you are in life and what you still need to learn. Forgiving someone or yourself means holding space to do the work and make those positive, often overdue changes (you know, the ones you’ve been avoiding your whole life). Abandoning or judging anyone during a breakdown stifles the potential for a breakthrough. It’s scary stuff, letting go of control, letting someone back in, giving yourself another chance to be the person you want to be. But living from a place of love, not fear, is the only way forward.