To Forgive Self

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Did you really screw up this time?  Will it cost you your marriage.  Did you lose a lot of money?  Did you harm someone or self?  Did you explode and get fired?  Maybe you hit the gas instead of the brakes.  Maybe you smoked into lung cancer, stressed into colon cancer, ate into obesity or drank into alcoholism?

So what now?  Do you re-live your mistake over and over?  Was it so horrific is cost a life?  Do you feel depressed, shocked, ashamed?  Is it hard to imagine what life can look like after a mistake like this?

We had a friend who lost it all.  They could not forgive themself for having 13 successful offices, a beautiful home, beautiful family and destroying it all within a short time for their poor decisions.  That’s not the real tragedy though.

The real tragedy is they started to rebuild their life so they could be a present father to their son.  The tragedy is they could not forgive self for what they had done.  They kept relapsing with poor choices which eventually resulted in their death.  Their son would have a father if only they could have forgiven self.

A lack of self forgiveness keeps us stuck.  It creates a vicious downward cycle of shame that pulls us further into depression, addiction, seclusion or some form of escapism.  One might argue the hardest person to forgive is self!  I forgive you and I don’t even know you.  I hold compassion for you in my heart.

What I too struggle with is how to hold that same unconditional compassion for self.  I say “I should know better.  I should be better than this.  I’m too smart.  I’m too mature.  I’m too old.  I’m too aware.”  All of these statements shame self and keep self stuck.

We are never too old, too aware, too smart, too mature or too good to slip into old patterns.  We may slip off the beam at any time on our journey of evolution.  We need to FAIL; it’s a necessary step to growth.  We just need to FAIL UP and do so quickly.  Like riding a bike, fail to learn, get up and do it again, fail to learn, get up and do it again.  This is how we fail up.  And we can fail up more quickly if we can forgive ourselves.

Have you forgiven yourself?  What are you hanging onto?  Are you willing to let it go?  Are you willing to face self and make a different choice?  Do you have the desire and the courage to squarely take ownership for you life and your choices?

Can you stop listening to the internal critic and also drop the need to care what others say about you?  Their opinion of you does not change who you are!  It is only what you believe about yourself that will dictate the course of your life even if you don’t really believe it.  What we accept about ourselves is how others will see us.  Ever notice some people are so outrageous and yet they have followers, friends and supporters?  They make no apology for who they are, this is who they are and they fully accept this and therefore people accept them.  We may not like them, but we don’t expect them to change.  Life is about variety and just look around at all the variations of being human.

Who are you living for?  Who are you trying to please or impress? Are you living your life true to who you want to be and who you believe you are?  What does that even look like?  It starts with self forgiveness because the guilt, the shame, the doubt, the insecurity and the fear of facing self only create more of what we say we do not want.

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