There is a school of thought, “Never forgive,” driven by the idea that forgiveness is selfish, something we do for ourselves, not for the person we’re forgiving.
But, what if the person who wronged us is…us? What if the “selfish” act of forgiveness is the way forward when the one who is blocking us is we, ourselves?
If it is selfish to forgive others, because we’re really only forgiving them to make us feel better, why should we not (at least) forgive ourselves? When we’re trapped in the vicious cycle of self-loathing, one way to escape is to forgive ourselves.
I recently got down on myself for failing to live up to the standard I set for myself.
- I wasn’t exercising.
- I didn’t get anything recorded or posted on my YouTube channel for several days.
- I let some basic home stuff slip.
- I fell behind in a course I’m taking
Doing this got me into a spiral of mental health (depression and anxiety) problems.
The first step to getting out this mess was to accept that I’d screwed up. We are all our own worst critics, and it is really easy to fall into a trap of having impossible expectations of ourselves. That happens to me, all too often, and when it does, I first have to accept it.
Then, I have to forgive myself. This was one of the hardest things I ever learned to do. To accept that I’m human, to allow myself to make mistakes, and to forgive them so I can move on.
From there, it is up to me to decide what to do with the energy generated from this. I choose to use it to motivate me to be better. I hate this feeling, the feeling of failure. Once I’ve broken the vicious cycle of self flagellation I take avoiding this feeling as energy to push myself forward to my goals, whatever those might be.