Learning To Forgive Myself

‘In order to heal we must first forgive…and sometimes the person we must forgive is ourselves.’  Mila Bron

As human beings we are oftentimes more critical of our own selves than others turning us into our own worst enemies.  We find it easier to give another person the benefit of the doubt, allow them some leeway in their behaviour, or choose to give them a second, third or even a tenth chance to correct their actions because we want so desperately to believe they didn’t really mean it.

So why is it so difficult to do the same for ourselves?  So why is it so difficult to feel the same empathy for ourselves?  So why is it so difficult for me to learn to forgive myself?  Forgiveness is when a person consciously chooses to let go of negative emotions, displeasure or indignation in order to excuse the wrongdoings bestowed upon them by another human being.  Forgiveness does not necessarily mean that you accept, reconcile or excuse the actions which hurt you, whether it is physically or emotionally, but it may certainly enable you to feel empowered instead of allowing it to define you.

I have spent the better part of my journey placing self-blame on myself for being sick even though somewhere very deep down inside of me I know that my illness is not my fault and instead it has impaired my rational thinking and judgment.  It has become an all too familiar practice for me to blame myself for things which may or may not even be in my control.  It is quite common for me to perceive any situation or circumstance that have an unfavourable or adverse outcome on myself even though I had nothing to do with it at all.  This type of reaction for me is probably the most crippling and toxic form of emotional abuse.

Even though somewhere very deep down inside of me I know that my illness is not my fault yet I continue to feel that somehow it is and that I willingly brought it upon myself.  I also know that you would never tell a person with Cancer or Diabetes that it is all in their head and that they should just ‘snap out of it’.  This holds true for any type of mental illness too, yet here I am almost four years later inflicting self-blame upon myself…daily.  Maybe it is because the more I blame myself the more I begin to uncover how distorted my views really are of myself.

From what I have uncovered about myself recently has been nothing short of overwhelming to say the least, bringing up continuous feelings of guilt, worthlessness, regret, remorse, indignity, hopelessness and self-blame.  This combination of negative emotions leaves me feeling less than capable and unforgiving in my daily life.

Forgiveness is a process and that process is different for everyone.  For me, in order to take the proper steps toward forgiving myself I first need to understand that I can’t control my past and I certainly can’t magically undo it either, I just need to learn how to accept it.  I need to try to acknowledge how to give myself a break and recognize that I did the best I could with the resources I was given throughout my childhood forward.   I also need to teach myself how to unravel my feelings of self-blame by categorizing and prioritizing them in order to begin healing, but most of all I need to hit the ‘stop’ button every time I catch myself ruminating which creates the vicious cycle.

I know that my mental wellness depends on my ability to learn how to stop the self-blame and open up my heart to forgive myself.  It may very well be the most difficult part of my recovery because learning to let go of that disparaging and critical voice in my head which has been holding me hostage for so long still seems so undeserving.  I only hope that in time I can learn to give myself the benefit of the doubt and that second, third or tenth chance at forgiveness.

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

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