Learning to Forgive Myself

The person I most often disappoint is myself. Sometimes I break my own promises, I make the same mistakes, and I subject myself to failure. Thankfully, every detour I face is an opportunity for me to learn, to grow, and to show myself grace. But self-forgiveness is a process. And it is not linear, but it is staggered. It's accompanied with "It's okay," and "I cannot believe I did that." But soon after the disappointment takes shape, I have the choice to reconcile with myself.

What forgiving myself has taught me:
  • Forgiving myself requires me to admit my wrongs and to accept the damage that they have caused. The sooner I accept it, the easier I can move forward. Carrying shame and guilt is too heavy a burden. And it only results in more damage. Living without the shame of the mistakes I've made demands me to be as gracious to myself as God is towards me everyday. It may seem like a difficult task, but if God can constantly show me grace, I, too, can do the same.
  • Coming to terms with myself means I free myself from the standard of perfection that I cannot fulfill. I am not made to get things right all the time, every time. I will sometimes fail. I will sometimes make mistakes. Realizing this allows me to accept the things I've done while also striving for better. It grants me the freedom to learn and to improve.
  • I love myself, therefore, I choose to forgive myself. Love says "You may have messed up this time, but I believe you can do better next time." Forgiveness is an act of compassion. Choosing to forgive myself is simply me reassuring myself that what I've done (or what I've not done) does not diminish my character. Choosing to forgive myself is simply God extending His love to me and me pouring it into my heart. I truly believe that the greatest practice of self-love is excusing my mistakes, my mess-ups, my wrongs, and learning from it.
I pray that even if you find yourself falling short, you find the courage and strength to accept it, come to terms with it, and love yourself through it. Free yourself. Forgive yourself.

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