Isn’t this just the toughest part? It is for me, anyhow. I can forgive (ultimately, although some take longer than others) folks way easier than I can find that for myself. I truly do ascribe to the theory that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person gets sick.
But it all comes down to self-forgiveness in the end.
And when I make some bone-head move (which I’m quite prone to doing! Just ask my friends :), I can sure beat myself up about it.
Just went through that this week. One of my girls has had a tough time, over a long course of repro things, and oh, how I’ve beat myself up about choices I’ve made and turns in the road. I should have gone left when I went right. You know the drill.
And while I think some of that can be helpful for next time (and man, did I ever “get” that part!), at some point (with me at least) I descend into pure self-flagellation. Which doesn’t do one danged bit of good, and actually obfuscates my thinking.
I’m really fond of the Maya Angelou theory in these cases, whether about myself or when forgiving one another, that when you know better, you’ll do better. And I don’t believe this is a defense, but rather, as Dr. Angelou did, that people are basically good. That we’re all trying, and sometimes miss the mark (which is the actual definition of sin), but inherently, we want to do the right thing.
Unless you’re a sociopath to begin with, of course. But that’s a different issue! And I don’t think you’d be reading me anyhow.
In my process for forgiving others I fall back on what Mother Theresa said—that all issues I have with another aren’t about that person and me. It is, rather, between me and God. That I’m the one with the problem here. And once I clear out my own mote, the other’s part looks quite different indeed.
- Which circles back to forgiving me. So, my big self says to my little self: “What was your actual part in this?”
- And once I dissect that, I can go to step two: Dissecting why I did what I did.
And quite often I find that I did the best I could, made the best decisions I could, based on the data at hand. Who knew.
- Finally, I can then get to step 3: Atonement. Which isn’t, in my world view at least! about beating myself with a stick, or professing how sorry I am, or any of that insanity. So often we beg forgiveness not to make the other person feel better, but rather to make ourselves feel better.
Instead, atonement is about digging down to find my part, acknowledging it, and that requisite last step—doing it differently next time.
Because atoning means nothing if I go do the same thing again.
Besides, who has time? I make enough mistakes that if I keep making the same ones, I’ll be old or dead by the time I do the correct things. And frankly, I don’t know about you, but I have a lot more important things to be doing. The opportunity for mistakes abound! LOL.
Yep, I made mistakes with my girl. Some of which I had a nagging about while in process. Some I learned down the road. But, learn I did. When this problem, at least rears its head again, I have a positive pathway to follow out of it. Whew!
So, how do you forgive yourself?