13 September 2011

Forgiving Myself

I’m a pretty typical person, I think, in that I’m my own harshest judge.  Whenever I do something that I don’t think is right, I’m the person who takes me to task the hardest.  I’m the one who’s close to unforgiving, the one who makes me remember things that other people would forget pretty quickly.  If I forget someone’s name, I get mad at myself.  If I do something that hurts someone else, I feel awful about it.  I hold on to things for much longer than I should, which obviously isn’t the greatest thing in the world for me to do.

But I am getting better at forgiving myself.  I am getting better at realizing that I, too, deserve my own compassion and understanding.  I, too, deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt.  I, too, deserve to be shown mercy for simple mistakes.

I used to be really bad at it–I used to almost never forgive myself.  But as I grow older I realize more and more that not forgiving myself is a form of self-abuse, and that I most definitely suffered because of my refusal to show myself mercy.  I agonized over things that didn’t really deserve a second thought, I punished myself mentally and emotionally when I could have been doing productive things with my mental and emotional capacities, and I kept myself feeling miserable when I could have been focused on helping other people to feel better.

I don’t wish to do that any more, so I promise to forgive myself more readily, and move on from my mistakes rather than foolishly and selfishly holding on to them.  If I benefit from this shift in my behavior, I can be sure that other people will benefit from it, also.

As we learn to accept our character flaws and broken moments,
and as we learn to forgive ourselves for the times that
we fail and fall short in life, we grow in our capacity
to accept and forgive others.

Gary Egeberg

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