Forgive Yourself

Forgiving Yourself

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Over a year ago my grandmother passed away. Lots of conversations and emails went back and forth between my aunt and my brother that were at times, unpleasant. There is a bit more background to this story, but for purposes of GreyFeathers, I’ve shortened it.

My aunt has completely cut me out of her life, my brother, and pretty much my sister. I asked her repeatedly what I had done, so that we could talk about it, clear the air, and move on. But other than saying that I lied to her (not telling me what it was she thought I had lied about), she said she didn’t want to discuss it any further. And that was that. It has been 18 months without communication. It hurts not having her in my life.

I am still trying to reconcile what I said that upset her. But at the same time, I have to forgive myself – not for what I might’ve said, but for hurting her feelings.

So, I ask you, how does one go about forgiving oneself? I think it could possibly take a lifetime for some of us. As women, the majority of us are harder on ourselves than anyone else.

How many times have you gone over in your head something you said or did, that in hindsight you wish you hadn’t said or done? You beat yourself up over and over again replaying the situation in your mind. Maybe you have regret of your actions? Maybe you wished you had kept your mouth shut? But no matter the case, you haven’t forgiven yourself.

I am positive the person you wronged has already forgiven you. In fact, I bet half of the things we think are bad behavior on our part, hadn’t even registered as bad in the other person’s mind. Sometimes we think our words and our actions are worse than they really are. If they are your loved one or friend – I know in time they will forgive you – or they should.

But what if they don’t forgive you, after sincerely apologizing. We should remind ourselves that we are HUMAN, and humans make mistakes all the time every day (hopefully not the same ones!). Do you feel that if you are not forgiven, you don’t deserve to forgive yourself?

Admitting You are Human

Psychology Today author, Dr. Matt James, writes “In order to forgive ourselves, we first have to admit to ourselves that we blew it. We have to take ownership and acknowledge the flaw or mistake—and that feels almost counter to our sense of survival!

“It’s helpful to remember that mistakes, failures and even incredibly stupid acts are part of being human. It’s how we learn and grow. If you’re never embarrassed or wrong and if you never make a mistake, you’re probably staying within a pretty narrow comfort zone.  Appreciate your missteps for what they are: a stepping stone on your path.”

I think we can all admit when we’ve done something wrong, but is it possible we embrace our faux pas as a stepping stone on our journey?

Michael Davidson of TinyBuddha.com writes that talking to someone may be beneficial — “Sometimes you just need to get it off your chest. Talking to someone else about what is bothering you can have serious benefits.”

“Another perspective. When you are upset at yourself, emotions can cloud your reasoning abilities. (He’s read my mind). A friend will often point out a reason why you deserve to forgive yourself that you never would have seen. Social support. You always feel better when somebody else has your back. Knowing that other people are less critical of you than you are of yourself can be encouraging.”

The God Factor

If the above isn’t cutting it for you, maybe a walk with God might help. I found an interesting tidbit from biblestudytools.com where Leslie Vernick writes, “Before someone can experientially accept God’s grace, she must emotionally (not merely intellectually) accept who she is.”

By this age, I think we have come to realize that we are not perfect, yes? And we make countless mistakes, yes?

She continues, “There is only one God, and she is not him. She is a creature: one who is called both saint and sinner, beautiful and broken. Humility is the only path that will give her the internal freedom she craves because once she is humble—Jesus called it ‘poor in spirit’—she’ll be in a position to emotionally accept who she is—a fallible, imperfect, sinful creature who doesn’t know it all. Then, she will no longer be so shocked, shamed, or disappointed when she sees her darker, sinful, weaker side.

It’s not her sins and failures that cause her greatest emotional pain. Rather, it is her unrealistic expectations of herself and her lack of acceptance when she messes up.” Unrealistic expectations of ourselves. I never thought about it like that. I think Leslie Vernick is on to something… “In a backwards way, her pride has been wounded. She is disappointed that she isn’t better than she is.” Oh my gosh, I love this woman. “But the truth is, she’s not. In embracing that truth, she is also set free to embrace and experience the beauty of grace.”

It’s a Choice

Why can we forgive others who have “done wrong” yet we can’t forgive ourselves? Allaboutgod.com writes something I never thought of in the way they describe making the choice to forgive yourself.

“If you do not forgive yourself of past sins, it is a form of pride. Whenever we enact a different set of rules, a higher set of standards for ourself over others, that is pride. When we can find it within ourself to forgive others, but not ourselves, we are saying that we are less capable of making a poor decision than others. We are somehow more intuitive, wiser, more insightful, more careful than others, and therefore, we are without excuse and should not forgive ourselves. When we reject the forgiveness extended to us by God and others, when we refuse to forgive ourselves, what we are doing is setting ourselves above others and that is pride!”

Floweres in Vase

In the End

Maybe one day my aunt will pick up the phone or send me a text or write a note saying that she finally wants to talk and clear the air. I hope by that time, not many years will have passed because that would be less years we would have together. Time is of the essence. We are all works in progress and for me, I have to let go of whatever I said that hurt her feelings because I am just a human girl, doing what humans do… making mistakes.

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25 thoughts on “Forgiving Yourself”

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  3. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  4. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  5. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  6. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  7. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  8. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  9. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  10. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  11. Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

  12. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  13. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  14. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

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