Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Forgiveness

"I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself, but what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself." Maya Anglou

A friend called...really upset. She kept saying she couldn't forgive herself for messing up....for being a failure...for eating too much...and lying...and doing other stuff she thinks is really bad. I listened to her....and then I thought about something - 'forgiveness.'  Not forgiveness for others...but forgiveness for ourselves.

The hardest thing for me...was to forgive myself.  Somehow I had become my number one enemy. I hated everything about who I was...and I blamed all the things that happened on me. Over and over....I beat myself up inside....and hurt myself. I  believed I deserved to pay for everything "I allowed" to happen....until the day my therapist talked about forgiveness. 

Forgiveness, she said, not for others....for yourself. Everything in me recoiled hearing those words. I can't. I won't. I don't deserve it.
You want to be free from the pain?
I nodded.
Then you must forgive you....

I tried but the words got stuck in my throat. I couldn't get them out. It was easier to forgive the people who hurt me....who hurt me really bad....but to forgive myself....that was really hard.  I struggled with it for a long time.

Not forgiving myself though... kept me stuck in a cycle of self-abuse. My head told me I deserved everything I got....my heart screamed for freedom. Eventually it dawned on me ....not forgiving myself was hurting me more than anything I was physically doing to myself.

When I finally said the words.....I forgive myself...something inside broke. It released something and in a way...moved me further down the road towards freedom. I wonder though....why do those of use who were hurt....and abused hold ourselves accountable for what happened to us?  And why is it so hard to forgive ourselves for just trying to survive? 

What I have learned...a chunk of my healing and freedom came from forgiving myself. With that forgiveness came an acceptance that it was ok for me to be real. Being real...means we all mess up some times. And it helped me to be easier on myself. I had been so hard...pushing myself to do things or be a certain way. Forgiving myself helped in accepting the parts of myself I never could. And something else....if He could forgive me....how could I not.

33 comments:

Just Be Real said...

Sarah, thank you for such a timely post.

I know without a doubt I struggle with not forgiving myself. Like you said, certainly easier to forgive others that have hurt you then to forgive yourself and be gentle.

As God continues to lead and heal me along my journey, in time, praying that forgiving myself will become much easier.

Blessings to you dear one.

Shanel said...

that's a powerful message... I agree with JBR that its right on time too.... its been really hard for me to forgive myself for things that I've done.

Ellen said...

Whenever it's one of those unforgiving days come again, I give myself a nudge to remember one name... Jesus. Then I feel better once again. You see, when someone asked him how many times should one forgive. He replied seventy times seven, or something to that effect. Am no bible scholar but I know my God. And He alone knows how to forgive as how forgiving should. I forgive others who done me wrong as I too forgive myself for being hard on myself --- all in the spirit of a God who loves and forgives over and over again.

INSIDE THE SHRINK said...

What a great post. It will never lose it's relevance or power. Thank you. I am sending this one on to others. Many need to hear this. I did!! God bless.

Terri Tiffany said...

I think we all experience this feeling in our lives at sometime. I know I have and it is so so hard to let go when we aren't responsible and those feelings take over us and stop us from being free. Glad you did it!

Deborah said...

That post is so true,I find it very hard to forgive yourself.
Thank you,
Deborah

Karen said...

Very powerful words you have shared...forgiving ourselves and loving ourselves is so much harder than forgiving and loving others....

Dulce said...

If you have gotten this far you have really made a really long way in the path of life. Forgiving oneself is to me the most difficut thing ever!

I am still working on it, among other things, to help me prevent cancer.

I am glad you are so brightly acknowledged by yourself!

Hugs

Dulce

NOS said...

I completely relate to having an easier time forgiving others than forgiving myself. I guess it's because I like to hold myself to a higher standard than I do others. But that's irrational.

I'm glad you have forgiven yourself. You deserve to be as nice and giving to yourself as you are with others.

Wishing you well,
NOS

Just_because_today said...

thank you for a great post, it is difficult to stop blaming ourselves for the things we think made our lives what they are

Mike Golch said...

Fantanstic posting and yes it is alabout fing the time to forgive ourselves.

Kathy M. said...

What a lovely, moving post. And an important message for us all. Thank you.

Denise said...

Such a great post.

Deborah Ann said...

You have come a long way. I love this:

"If He could forgive me, how could I not."

Whoa!!!

Jennifer said...

Amen! When I began to have love for myself and forgiveness of my past - I leaped forward with huge jumps. It propels you in ways no other work can do!

It reminds me of a quote I just shared with someone a few minutes ago and we also said together at a retreat, "It's okay to make mistakes as I learn".

Forgiveness its the catalyst!

SmilingSally said...

Good point: "if He could forgive me....how could I not." To not forgive would be to not love.

Grace said...

From you finger tips to my eyes to someday my brain....

A Busy Single Mom said...

Sometimes it seems we are so much harder on ourselves than others. I am so glad you have received this healing.

Nai'a Spirit said...

What a profound and moving post. Thank you :-)

V said...

"It was easier to forgive the people who hurt me....who hurt me really bad....but to forgive myself....that was really hard"

All I'm saying is this what you said hits home so excrutiatingly hard for me...
thank you

Mia M. said...

it took me sooo long to forgive myself on all counts b/c i was living in so much shame. what a relief when i finally did it.

your post is so on point. thanks for sharing.

Syd said...

Until I could forgive myself, I was unable to make amends to others. It is an important part of my recovery to be gentle with myself. Great post!

Linda said...

What a beautiful and profound post!! Thank you for sharing.
Blessings

Deb said...

Forgiveness.

It's a beautiful thing.

You did good, sweet girl.

Sweet dreams.

rcubes said...

How did I miss this post sister? Been busy and I'm glad to see this. Great point. How can we move on if or heal if we can't let go of the past hurt/pain? If we can't forgive ourselves, it's just like a dog who buried a bone. It's out of sight but still there on that spot! God bless you richly and take care also!

Lynda Young said...

Wow..this is such a powerful post. Forgiveness is so important.
Many blessings to you
Lyn

Tabitha@ichoosebliss said...

I can relate to this very much. Until recently I couldn't forgive myself, but once I did it so many things opened up for me. :)

Lily said...

This is such a foreign concept to me. I don't think I deserve forgiveness from anyone, especially myself. There are times when I hate myself so much that it doesn't even seem possible. Why is it that all my anger has turned inward instead of to those who earned it? Ugh. So frustrating.

Catherine said...

Thanks for sharing this, it's something I really need to hear.

Love, Catherine

Colleen said...

Great post. Powerful message that we all need. Hugs!

Ily said...

This message is powerful and encouraging. Being real keeps us patient with ourselves and more forgiving. You've learned a valuable lesson, my friend. Thanks for sharing it.

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