Last week after I wrote several posts in one day, I walked away feeling…inspired? Torn? Guilt? All of the above? The last post I wrote left me feeling a little raw. I had to take some time to nurture my mind and my soul. Ultimately, I had to give myself time to forgive the last person I tend to forgive: me.
See, I’m one of those people that can give tons of chances if people only ask. For example: I have a friend. I met him through Match. We went on several dates. Laughed a lot. I thought things were going great. We went to a college football game together and had a great night out. Then…he ghosted me. Gave short responses. Avoided setting up dates. I eventually got frustrated and quit trying. I moved on. Several months later, after sending out a mass “Happy Easter” text to the contacts in my phone, he responded. We started talking though text and have continued to do so for the past year and a half.
Then, last week, the conversation went deep. He told me he felt guiltly for texting me when he’s having a rough day. When I probed and pushed a little, he finally told me that his reason for ghosting me had nothing to do with me or the fact that I had a child. He had met someone from his past and opted to date her instead but couldn’t tell me for whatever reason. She later ghosted him and now he felt guilty for talking to me (the person he pulled the same stunt on). I had to tell him multiple times that I’d forgiven him or I wouldn’t be willing to text with him. I also had to remind him that he needed to forgive himself or he was never going to be able to move forward. After all–I have.
But I get it. Forgiveness of self is hard. And yet it’s what we truly have to do if we’re going to move forward with our lives. I have to forgive myself for not being able to handle my late fiance’s addiction and moving out. I have to forgive myself for all those nights that I find myself stressed because I have work to do, the house is a mess, and my child is being especially needy and I snap. I have to forgive myself for my “madmom” moments….because I am human and I am going to make mistakes.
Even my young (kindergarten-aged) daughter has figured out that we are going to make mistakes…though she reveals that by telling me, “I can’t promise I’ll always listen, because sometimes I might not.” Or when I ask her a question about her plans to do something or not, she currently loves responding with, “Maybe.” The best, though, was a night she got into trouble and we discussed the feeling of guilt. We talked about how it’s an awful feeling in her belly and how that feeling is trying to teach her to not do those things again. She told me, “So you’re basically telling me not to sin anymore? Well, I’m human and that’s impossible.”
She’s right. As humans, we will sin. We will hurt others (hopefully not intentionally, though). We will make wrong choices. And we will have moments of weakness. For those who follow some religious belief systems–there is a God who forgives these moments of weakness. Regardless of what our beliefs are, though, we can all practice forgiveness–especially of ourselves–by remembering that we are not meant to be perfect, but we are meant to learn. If we refuse to forgive ourselves, learn from our pasts, and move forward, we become like my friend who has carried around the weight of guilt for 18 months…a weight that was entirely self-imposed. However, if we choose to forgive ourselves and accept and learn from our weaknesses, we can walk through this life a little bit lighter and a lot happier.