So, I typically write blog posts for this site on the 1st and the 15th of the month. Last month on the 16th it dawned on me that it had not even crossed my mind the day before to write a post. I was at the beach with my family, enjoying our time together and completely missed the reminder from my Google calendar to post. I mentioned this to my husband and he jokingly said "you should write your next post on forgiving yourself". And it got me thinking about why it can be so hard to forgive ourselves. Why do we find it so hard to be kind to ourselves and even (gasp!) forgive ourselves when we make mistakes, fall short, or demonstrate weakness?! For women, I think that there are some culturally ingrained expectations that we be capable of managing all aspects of our lives (our homes, our work, our parenting, our relationships) at 110%. Somehow we've gotten it in our heads that this is realistic and we experience shame or guilt when we don't measure up. For men, it may be more perceptions of weakness, experiencing fear, self-doubt, and insecurities. (Not that women don't experience these too...). And either way, we all have probably experienced that feeling of failing and many of us know firsthand the guilt associated with that. I love Brene Brown (I mean she's a social worker, a Christian, and a mom-so she's pretty much my hero) and I love her research around shame, guilt, and their antidote-vulnerability. If you haven't read her book "Daring Greatly"-you should. Basically, her point is that being vulnerable gives us to opportunity to overcome shame and guilt. And I think vulnerability and self-forgiveness can be quite interconnected. We have to acknowledge our shortcomings to be vulnerable, and at some point in that process, we have to accept that our shortcomings cause "mess ups" sometimes. BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN. And we make mistakes. And it is okay. We could all benefit from being a little kinder, and that includes to ourselves. So, maybe today is a chance to acknowledge a flaw, a weakness, a limitation, a mistake, give yourself some grace, and offer some forgiveness...to yourself.
For more articles on self-forgiveness check out these links:
The hardest kind of forgiveness
How to forgive yourself and move on from the past