The complicated art of forgiving yourself
I have no problem owning up to something I have done – a mistake I’ve made. I may not like it, yet I know if I did something wrong, I would own it. I will do my best to make it right, and I will ask for forgiveness. I will admit it’s not something I really want to do but I will face it head-on. I really don’t like to leave it, especially when there are other people involved.
When it comes to forgiving others, I like to say I am ok with it, yet when I type these words, I realize that is not always the case. Sometimes I hold on to things, they get dug in, I think that I am over it, but I’m not. This bugs me. I have done enough work on myself that this should not be the case. I seem to stay that fairly often – I am a work in progress.
I think the hardest forgiveness is myself. Like so many parts of life, we are so much harder on ourselves than with others. I am getting better at forgiving myself; however, I have to work on it actively. So many of us carry shit from the past into the present, and it weighs us down. As we let go and forgive ourselves, we lighten the load. For someone who carried a lot of weight on her shoulders for years, I know this lesson well.
I like to think that I have gotten past doing things to myself that I have to be forgiven but nope – still do them, and I think, to a degree, it will happen for the rest of my life. We make so many decisions every day that we are bound to screw up. This is when I say I wish I had a t-shirt with, “WORK IN PROGRESS” that I could wear every day.
So what do you do when you need to forgive yourself?
- Deal with it. Look at the situation – if you need to fix anything, do it. Then take another look at the whole situation. What got you there? Is it something you need to change, repair or let go?
- Let the emotions out. Good or bad they are just emotions and keeping them on lockdown is not a good thing, let them out, rage, cry, laugh – whatever needs to come out.
- You don’t know what you don’t know. This really helps me, if I didn’t know I didn’t know. I won’t keep beating myself up over something I didn’t know.
- Don’t shouldn’t yourself (thanks to my friend Carol). What is done is done, and there is nothing you can do about it, so stop with the shouldn’t.
- Let go. Once you are done processing it, let it go. Dwelling on the past will steal your future.
- Be kind to yourself. If you were a friend you would take care of them –this is you, and you need that care of yourself even more!
The final thing I would say is just call it like it is. I made some pretty bad decisions the last two years. The stress of breast cancer and all surrounding surgeries got to me at times and, yes, my decision-making wasn’t where it usually is. These are all facts. Now it is time to just deal with whatever results came and move forward. I will not let all these to take me backward.
We all screw up and make mistakes – the question is how do you deal with them?
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