I’ve crashed and burned many times in my life and I’ve taken some casualties. I’ve never intentionally set out to hurt anyone but I’ve been self-absorbed and avoidant. I’ve left things unfinished without explanation. I’ve lured in guys – nice guys who really liked me – and dumped them without explanation to be with bad guys who didn’t like me half as much. I’ve called on people I love to help me during tough times and then didn’t return the favor. I’ve been neglectful and wrapped up in myself. I’ve made my share of messes all because I didn’t know how to see past my own needs in the moment. And it’s hard – feels almost impossible – for me to forgive myself.
I hate the idea that there are people in this world who might think of me and feel resentment or worse yet, hostility or pain. The kind that festers and hardens and creates an ugly scar that disfigures all the good memories that came before it. Despite all of this, I’m reasonably sure that none of my offenses have caused more damage to anyone than they have to me. I don’t think anyone is as traumatized as my mind makes them out to be. So why is it so hard to leave it all in the past and let go?
It’s always been easy for me to see the good in other people. I know their behavior is not about me, it’s about them, and I’m able to look past the problem and see a human being. But I’m not that diplomatic about my own issues. I expect a higher level of consciousness from myself. Always have. Even when I was at the lowest points in my life and was hurting myself and others, I knew better but couldn’t find the courage to channel that into living better.
Many times I’ve found myself wishing I could just go back and make different decisions but that only leaves me feeling worse, making it hard for me to trust myself moving forward. We have to forgive ourselves and stop thinking that the past will define the future and that mistakes are taboo. Mistakes are necessary and brave and important. It feels so good to let go of the shame and look for the good in the life that’s currently all around you. Notice how your missteps have given you a wider perspective or made you a kinder, smarter person. Show yourself compassion and let yourself grow.
We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. We’ve burned bridges and we’ve let things fall apart. In the course of our growing pains, we’ve caused pain to others. But shame and guilt only keep us feeling low and attracting more things to feel guilty about into our lives. Learn how to forgive yourself. If love is your way of life, then you know forgiveness is an attitude that should be applied to every relationship, most importantly the one you have with yourself.
GG Renee is an independent author, a creativity coach, a feeler and an overthinker. She writes for women who crave honest dialogue and inspiration for the joys and challenges they face every day. Blog // Twitter // Instagram