Do You Need to Forgive Yourself?

“Forgive yourself,” he said. This statement smacked me in my face because I thought I already had.

Learning to forgive yourself is a crucial part of any healing journey. It’s even a critical part of success.

In this life, some days are wonderful and we want to keep them on replay. Then, there are those days that we want to just wipe away from our memories. If you don’t learn to forgive yourself (and others), your past will continue to haunt and torment you. 

There are times in life when people—whether intentional or not—disappoint or hurt us. These instances have the power to leave us emotionally and mentally scarred, and even paralyzed. There are also times in life when we disappoint or harm ourselves by our own actions. When you forgive yourself, you give yourself permission to experience internal peace and healing. 

It’s easy to forgive someone when they give you an honest apology; it’s much harder to forgive when they never apologize or show no regret or remorse. It is even harder when you have no explanations for that person(s) behavior and no possible way of getting those answers.

A little story time…

In my early 20’s, one of my mentors caused me significant emotional harm. At the time, I was looking for approval, wisdom, and guidance in life. Instead, I found myself confused and emotionally scarred. Over the next ten years, this “enemy” lived in my mind. Those initial disappointments turned into insecurity, doubt, and low self-esteem in so many areas of my life. I was emotionally scarred.

In the following years, I convinced myself that I forgave this person. However, at times, I found myself bitter and angry about the harm this person caused. They took advantage of their position in my life and I was still angry. I wanted an apology and remorse. I never received that.

One day, during one of my animated discussions about this person, a close friend said “you really hate [insert person’s name here], huh?” I was flabbergasted and appalled by the thought that I could harbor hatred toward someone. But more than that, the possibility of truth was terrifying. I quickly denied it and said “maybe a long time ago, but I forgave them. I’m good now, really.”

Hate was too strong a word for me to admit. But, my friend’s comment acted as a mirror and it was true. I hated that they misled me. I hated that I lost a mentor and I hated the fact that I was still allowing them to have control over my emotions.

After telling him that I forgive them many times (in my head), he said, “Well, then you need to forgive yourself.” 

At that moment, I realized that I was still affected. In many ways, that disappointment was still impacting my life. Since I never received an apology or acknowledgment from the person, I was unable to move on. I didn’t have closure.

I thought I had moved on. In my mind, I was stronger and more confident than anything anyone could do to me. I wanted to be unaffected. After so many years, I was upset with myself for even allowing this person to still affect me. I thought I had moved on.

Yet, he was right. It was still affecting me.

The good news: I started forgiving myself which allowed me to really start healing. While we cannot always control what other people do to us, we can control how long we allow it to impact our current reality.

Whether you already forgave the person(s) who hurt you or you are working on getting to that point, please take some time right now to start practicing forgiving yourself.

Set yourself free and start embracing your healing.

GREAT Inspiration from The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite inspirational books. Here are some excerpts to encourage you think about your “dream journey” and to inspire you to keep moving toward that dream:

“It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone when they are young. knows what their Personal Legend is […] They are not afraid to DREAM, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend […] It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your Personal Legend. It prepares your spirit and will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.”

“Don’t think about what you’ve left behind[…] If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil.”

“[But] they were looking only for gold […] They were seeking treasure of their Personal Legend without wanting actually to live out the Personal Legend. […] The Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way[…] So that we can in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward the dream. That’s the point at which most people GIVE UP. It’s the point at which as we say in the language of the desert, ‘one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’

Keep dreaming. You are destined to find it. It’s up to you to start and keep walking. 

10 Things to Remember When You’re In A Relationship

Everyone wants to find love. And, everyone wants that love to last. When I was talking with one of my friends the other day, we started talking about how it can be so easy to lose yourself when you’re in a relationship. That should definitely not be the case, but it happens all the time. We can become so consumed with finding and keeping love, that we end up deprioritizing other aspects of ourselves or our life.

Whether you are in a new relationship, single, or in a long-term commitment, here are a few important things to remember to help you keep bringing your best self to any relationship:

Things to keep doing:

  • LOVE YOURSELF. To find and maintain true love and healthy relationships, you must love yourself. When you’re in a relationship, your responses, expectations, attitudes, trust, and confidence comes from how you see and feel about yourself.

  • Keeping Growing. Take personal responsibility to improve the areas you don’t like/love about yourself. It is not the other person’s job to hold your hand along this journey. It would be nice, but it’s not their responsibility to give you the confidence to change YOU. That is an unrealistic and unfair expectation. Don’t look for someone else to repair or accept the flaws you are too resistant or in denial to change.

  • Lose the baggage. This is the one time that losing your luggage is a good thing. Your baggage is your past fears, hurts, and worries. Often, we project that onto other people. It’s important to at least try to limit how much baggage you are bringing on board. Remember, every plane has a weight limit and you want your relationships to soar. So, leave the junk behind if you can.

  • Take responsibility and expect the same. Being in love is not an excuse to accept any and every type of behavior. You have to take ownership of your behavior and expect your partner to take responsibility as well.

  • You need more than chemistry. Having “chemistry” with someone does not mean you should enter into (or stay in) a relationship with that person. You can and will have “chemistry” with many people in your life, so you are going to need a lot more than that to make your relationship last.

  • Validate Yourself. This connects back to taking responsibility for your own growth. It’s important for others to encourage and uplift you; however, it’s also your responsibility to validate and affirm yourself.

Things to Stop Doing:

  • Stop causing harm. When you don’t take care of your baggage, you can start acting out of your fears and use your insecurities as an excuse for irrational behavior.

  • Do not look for someone to complete you. Relationships should not complete you, they should support and sharpen you. There’s a difference. Focus on you becoming whole as YOU and you will inevitably add more value to your relationship.
Remember this when you're in a relationship.

  • Don’t look for someone to fill the voids and holes YOU created in your own life. Are you starting to see a theme here? Taking responsibility is critical to any successful relationship.

  • Don’t enter a relationship to find yourself. Take time to get to know who you are and what you like/love about YOU. You can’t find in others what you can’t first see in yourself. In other words, you can’t find what you don’t know.

Any relationship takes work, but when you work on becoming whole you will inevitably add more value to your relationship. So, don’t forget to keep working on your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. You will be better for everyone around you.

In curious, what advice would you add to this list?