The newest edition of “Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery” is now available, and I wanted to share this month’s timely message with you here as well. I hope you find it helpful!
You CAN Forgive Yourself
Forgiveness can be a touchy subject.
I should know.
For years, I absolutely, categorically insisted that I was beyond forgiving. I was willing to go round 1000 with anyone who dared to suggest otherwise, too.
I wasted so much time and energy treating myself differently from the way I treated everyone else around me. I was often quick to forgive others, for the very reason that I assumed automatically that if they were mad at me, I must deserve it.
But when it came to me, I was rock-solid bent and determined upon locking myself safely away in a forgiveness-free purgatory of my own making.
Why do we refuse to forgive ourselves? Is it protective – are we afraid of what we might do, say, or create if we give ourselves any leeway?
Is it reactive – are we so inordinately tuned in to our ever-changing inner climate (a climate, by the way, that no one but us will ever be privy to) that we suffer a catastrophic objectivity-fail that factors out the presence of our humanness, and the natural frailty and continual proneness to error that being human entails?
For me, it was both, and the loud presence of my eating disorder as well. If I needed another reason to hate myself, “Ed” was always ready to provide it. It took me years to realize that not only did I have to learn to tune Ed out, but I had to offer Ed my forgiveness as well as forgiving myself.
This, as you can imagine, was quite difficult for quite some time.
Today, I extend forgiveness to myself readily. I do this for several reasons. One, life is miserable when I am holding a grudge against myself. Two (and my mentor continues to remind me of this every time I forget) if I could have done better the first time, I would have. The recovering perfectionist in me doesn’t even try to argue with that one.
And finally, I forgive myself because I am human, and human beings deserve forgiveness.
Forgiveness helps others. It helps me, and it helps you. Without forgiveness life doesn’t really have much to offer, because forgiveness is the one thing on this planet that offers us the chance to choose love over hate.
So, over the last four decades (wow, has it really been FOUR?!?) I have learned that I can forgive myself, no matter what it was that I did or said or didn’t do or didn’t say, and no matter how long it takes or how hard I have to work to do it.
You can too. You truly CAN forgive yourself.
With great respect and love,
To read the full edition of “Good News”, click HERE
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Last reviewed: 9 Aug 2012