Can you ever forgive yourself? Is it even possible to really forgive one of your transgressions and fully move on? Forgiving yourself is harder than forgiving someone else. We can look at another person’s faults and misgivings, come up with a hundred reasons why they did what they did and forgive them for it. It may take a while to move on, but eventually we accept the misdeed or error in judgment by someone else and get on with our lives and relationships. So why is it so hard for us to forgive our own missteps? Do we have higher expectations of our selves than others or is it that we look at a lapse in judgment as an insurmountable failure?
I am not proud of my youth. I have done some really stupid things growing up. I made a lot of bad decisions born out of low self-esteem and when something jogs a memory I still cringe inwardly. I look back into the past with loathing for my actions. Granted I was a stupid teenager then and am well into my fifties now, but something about that time in my life still haunts me. There are so many regrets and a desire for a do over, knowing the outcome would probably still be the same, but that doesn’t stop the wishing.
I didn’t kill anybody or maliciously try to hurt others; my transgressions were all directed at me. I wish I had pushed myself more in school, gone to college, had some direction, instead of going along with the aimless mindset of a self-absorbed teenager. I thought that if a boy paid attention to me it meant he loved me. It took me a few years to figure out what real love was.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, my husband, children and my friends, but I wish I could have been better. I wish I had made smarter decisions and wiser choices, not the bonehead mistakes that I can’t seem to put in the past forever. I know I’m not the person I was then; I don’t need validation from anyone else now. The validation has to come from me and grant me the forgiveness of my past sins.
When I look back over the years of my adulthood there have been many great accomplishments. My husband who I love with all of my heart, my two sons, who are all grown up and have families of their own, a daughter that I didn’t give birth to, but love as much and a few truly special friends that I would walk through fire for. These are all the best part of me, the today me.
So what is it about those short seven years of my life that haunt me more than the thirty plus years since? How do I absolve myself, move on and truly face the future with hope and resolve? I can’t answer that, but I am working on it.