This is going to sound crazy. Say that someone has hurt me terribly. Say that a long term relationship ended and they started instantly talking bad about me and I heard about it. Say that I feel totally wronged and that an idea that I had and shared in confidence was then ran with by the other person and I was blindsided when it happened. Say that friends and I talked about going in on an apartment together when I was younger which prompted me to accept a new job in a new city and resign from my current one only to find out that they didn’t get a place big enough for me too. Say that a friendly classmate swore that they wouldn’t copy my answers when I let them look at my work, but they clearly did. Imagine just forgiving all of them. Imagine just letting it all be water under the bridge. Imagine letting go of the anger, hurt, resentment, and sadness. Imagine just making peace with whatever happened because all I can do about it now is change how I feel about it. I get this, and I practice it regularly.
Say that someone has totally let me down and hasn’t said what they said they would and I really needed them to come through and I just feel like I cannot believe the big dreams they share with me because the action hasn’t been enough to make them happen yet? What if that person is actually me? How do I forgive myself? How do I forgive myself for setting sometimes unrealistic expectations which only set me up for disaster? What happens when I forge ahead and say with full conviction because I truly believe that I will create that course, or I will consistently make YouTube videos, or I will consistently post on my blog, when I then have a lot of other things vying for my time. Then to get all caught up in the way that people who have way less than I do with way busier lives are still able to get it all done, which only makes the disappointment greater.
What if I can extend the same forgiveness to myself that I extend to those who I feel have done me wrong in some way? What if I can tell myself “Jennifer, I forgive you” and truly mean it? What if I can let the feelings of disappointment and embarrassment go? What would that feel like? Would it feel liberating? Would it feel lighter? I can imagine it would feel both and it would feel freeing.
The thing I’ve learned about forgiveness with others is that it’s only me who feels the bad feelings when I remember the person, the situation, the memory. It’s only me who drinks the poison again and again, not them. It is me who creates the habit of reliving painful experiences within my own brain, and I know that doesn’t serve me.
I know that looking for what is good in any situation and moving towards it is my way forward. Perhaps the forgiveness I need to extend to myself now is truly long over due. Perhaps the forgiveness I need to extend to myself is actually a gift to myself, one that will yield back dividends in the future because as long as I’m holding on to what didn’t work, or how I didn’t live up to whatever standard, then it keeps me focused and stuck to that, and I simply choose to not let that be any longer.
I need to forgive myself for feeling like I am too much or too over the top. I need to forgive myself for feeling like I have to dim my light to fit in. I need to forgive myself for not speaking up in the past when I clearly should have. I need to forgive myself for being human. The great thing about all this is that every day offers the opportunity for change, and I am always and forever changing, evolving, growing more and more into who I truly am. It’s a constant effort and takes introspection, but it’s worth it and it’s the only way I know how to live my life these days.
So from today, I gift myself the blessing of forgiveness. There is plenty to go around, so if you need it, I bless you too.