Updated: Aug 23, 2019
I think we can all agree that forgiveness is a good thing. Forgiveness allows us to move forward, let go of hurt, and release feelings of anger and bitterness. Most of us (if not all) have forgiven friends, family members, acquaintances, and maybe even people we do not like or get along with. But what about forgiving ourselves?
Lately, I have been struggling with the indiscretions from my past and my emotions are coming out sideways. I have noticed I am becoming irritated and judgmental of those I interact with over the smallest, most nonsensical things. But, as I have done some personal inventory, I am realizing why my fuse has been so short and why all of these small things are so bothersome to me: I have not been able to forgive myself.
Throughout my life, I have done many things and treated people in ways that I am not proud of (especially during the last few years of my drug and alcohol abuse). I used people, took my friends and family for granted, was flaky and selfish, among many other things. All of these characteristics/behaviors I do not value and feel a lot of shame for. When I see someone do something that even remotely resembles the behaviors in which I used to display, I almost immediately get wrapped around the handle. Now that I have taken this personal inventory and realized what was really bugging me, I have been able to take on the issue at hand. I need to learn to forgive myself for my past.
I am trying to cut myself some slack. I'm realizing that forgiving myself does not mean that I am okay with or will repeat the mistakes of my past, but that I recognize that I made choices that I am not proud of and I'm making strides to be the best version of myself because of the lessons I have learned from those mistakes.
I still have a lot to figure out, but I am so glad that I realized that there was a lack of self-compassion and self-forgiveness in my life. "When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future." (Bernard Meltzer)