Monday, September 28, 2015

10 Things We All Need to Forgive Ourselves For

     Most people consider Spring the time of rebirth and newness of life (i.e. Spring Cleaning), but I also think that Fall is also a time of newness. Perhaps the reluctance to recognize this comes from the idea of nature beginning to die in the Fall, but the leaves are too beautiful to view with remorse. Sometimes we need to let go of things, in order to move on, and I think Fall is a great time to reflect on that. Many of us, especially students, are finally settling in to our new routines for the coming year, but before we get too comfortable, I think we need to forgive ourselves. I know I have a hard time doing this, I'm the kind of person who cannot go to sleep at night because I am being haunted by something I did in the sixth grade (can you say broken glasses and an unforgiving middle part?). In fact, I believe that there are ten things that pretty much universally people need to forgive themselves for. And just to prove my point further, I have rounded up some gifs from the TV Show Friends to illustrate my point.

Forgive Yourself for...

Courtesy of BuzzFeed

1. Not Always Being Casanova

     Admit it, we've all done something weird, awkward, or just plain embarrassing in front of the people we "like-like." Whether you're now happily married, or still looking for that special someone, there are probably moments in past relationships that make you cringe. It's time we forgive ourselves for those things, because regardless of how embarrassing it was, or may still be, there is nothing you can do to change the fact that you totally wiped out in front of John Smith or Jane Doe. It's okay to use them as examples of what not to do in the future, but you can't let little things like that embarrass and keep you from putting yourself out there. Hannah Montana said it best, "Everybody makes mistakes, Everybody has those days." Just hope you don't run into John or Jane anytime soon and forgive yourself.

2. Not Pursuing Other Things

Courtesy of
      When you were little, there was probably something you thought you were amazing at, but then you grew up and realized you would need to work harder to actually be as great as you thought you were. You probably gave up, and if you're like me, you still regret it. We all think we're amazing artists, until about middle school when everyone's opinion starts to influence how we view ourselves. I gave up ballet, not because I didn't think I was good, but because I wanted to play basketball. Needless to say, I was an okay basketball player, but I still wonder if I would have been a better dancer. I'll never know of course, but I still beat myself up about quitting ballet. THIS WAS IN THE THIRD GRADE PEOPLE! If you're like me, then you can probably understand why I'm still holding onto this, but like everything else, I think it's time I forgave myself, and start to look at the positives of me pursuing Basketball, over the negatives of giving up ballet. Whatever your "ballet" is, it's time you let go of that regret, and either try and pursue it again, or move on.

Courtesy of Tumblr

3. Wanting Some Alone Time 

     The Fear of Missing Out (Or FOMO) is real, but sometimes we need to be by ourselves. It's okay to tell your friends you don't feel like going out and it's also alright to take a break from volunteering or club meetings if your heart and soul is just feeling heavy. It's better to take the time to rejuvenate yourself than to continue to try and tackle life at 
1/2 to 1/4 of your power. So yes, it's okay to say no, but it's not okay to punish yourself for it later.  Everyone needs alone time, introvert or extrovert, to make sure that they are feeding themselves figuratively, and sometimes literally. In the long run, taking a break will allow you to be a better, well, you. So stay in and watch Netflix or take a much needed nap, and then forgive yourself for your self-mandated isolation. It's okay!

 4. Blowing Up at People

Courtesy of Tumblr
Courtesy of BuzzFeed
     For me, it's my brother. He always knows just how to pick at my nerves, and a lot time I blow up unreasonably (if you listen closely, you can hear my parents silently agreeing with "that's right" and a chuckle). I don't like that about myself, but I need to remember that I'm not perfect, and sometimes I'm going to be short or explosive with people. I know I need to work on that, but if I keep attacking myself about every time I lose my temper, I'm just going to be upset with myself over and over again. So, I think this point is two-fold, because we first have to ask forgiveness from those who we've blown-up at, but then we have to forgive ourselves for our humanity, and try and be better. (Also, I'm pretty sure that I look just like Chandler in the first GIF when I'm fighting with Noah. This pains and humors me.)

Courtesy of Tumblr

5. Not Always Acting Our Age

     It's hard being an adult, and I've just started, so I can't imagine how much harder it gets as we get older. But adult or not, we all sometimes forget to act our age. Maybe you slept the day away, forgot how to share, or didn't take care of yourself like you should, regardless you didn't act your age. Watching TV all day, isn't something mature adults suggest, but sometimes binging on the Mindy Project just feels like the right idea. You could spend the next week, (or year), beating yourself up for not fulfilling your responsibilities, or you can put on your big-kid, forgiveness pants and start being proactive now. What 's in the past is done, and though you probably shouldn't have procrastinated, maybe you needed to so that you could realize what your priorities are or just take a break. Whatever the circumstance, holding it against yourself isn't going to change anything, so just forgive yourself.

Courtesy of BuzzFeed

6. That Mean Thing You Said to Your Friend 

    This kind of goes along with "Blowing Up," but I find it's harder for me to forgive myself for the times I've been angry or out-of-line with my friends. It's hard to be around someone for a long time and avoid having arguments or spats, but that doesn't make what we do or say right. Most of the time, the mean things we say to our friends cut deeper than things we say to acquaintances or strangers. This is probably because we know exactly what to say to get under our friend's skin, and because of that it's hard to forgive ourselves for these moments. Much like "blowing up," we first have to apologize to those we've hurt, before we can forgive ourselves, but I know that personally I've said things I'm not proud of to my friends years ago, that I still hold against myself. I honestly wish I could take all back, and I know I can't, but I also have hard time letting it go. So if this applies to you, just know that I also struggle to forgive myself for the mean things I've said, but I also think we have to. If not, we can't grow as a person, and that's essential. So we need to make an effort.

Courtesy of Tumblr

7. For Worrying About Silly Things 

     You've got a test coming up or a big meeting with an important person, and you're worrying about forgetting how to speak, toilet paper being stuck to your shoe, or something else that's probably not going to happen. I don't know why we do this to ourselves, but we assume that the worst thing that can happen, will. Typically, this effects our performance and causes us to be more cautious than we need to be. Afterwards, we realize we were overreacting, and we probably aren't happy about it. I know there have been times when I knew I could have done better if I had just put myself out there more, and stopped worrying. We need to forgive ourselves for being anxious, but we also need to remember the way it held us back, so we can have perspective. We don't need to view it negatively, but rather as a way to improve ourselves. Next time, take a risk and let your confidence carry you through whatever it is. And if you don't feel confident, fake it. What you make up in your mind is always worse than what really happens, and with that knowledge we can improve.

Courtesy of Giphy

8. Not Always Being Happy

    We live in a society that preaches happiness and looks down upon most other emotions, and sometimes we feel bad for feeling bad. The thing is, it's impossible to be happy all of the time, yet we expect that of ourselves. We view sadness, anger, and apathy as negatives, when really there is a time for everything, and sometimes we need to mourn or to be unhappy. You can't always feel like sunshines and rainbows, sometimes you have to live with the storm clouds, and there's nothing wrong with that or you. We all have bad days, and though you can put a positive spin on it and try and see the silver lining, it's also totally natural to just feel down, and that can be a positive thing as well. Van Gogh suffered from depression, but his masterpieces are intensely beautiful, and sometimes it is in the sadness the paintings' reflect, that the true genius is seen. Not that art is only possible in depression and sadness, but that those things can have positive outcomes. So be sad, but don't do it begrudgingly. Instead work through your emotions and then allow yourself to breathe and move on afterwards, because until we accept that all emotions are natural and necessary, we aren't going to be able to forgive ourselves and consequently other's for going through ups and downs.
Courtesy of Tumblr

9. Pigging Out 

     I love food. I love sweets. I love chips and popcorn. I love a nice steak and great smoothie (typically not together). I love food. Buttttttt... Sometimes (a lot of times) I do not eat in a way that is healthy nor going to prolong my life. I recognize this, and sometimes I get angry at myself in response. I know I've talked about it before on here, but for those who don't know, it's about to get real serious up in here. This and the one after it, are the most relevant to my everyday life. I love food, I know I've said it a lot, but it's important that you understand how much food is a part of my life, so that you can see how it eventually took over my life. In high school, I developed an eating disorder along with about 11% of all high school students, and 1 in 5 women. I loved food so much, that when I started to not like myself, I turned to food. I ate to fill whatever was missing inside of me, and eventually I began to hate food, but I still felt like I needed it to feel something, so I just hated myself more. Thankfully, through the love and grace of Jesus Christ, (and I know there will be people who don't agree with me on that), I was healed, and he became the strength I needed, to break the chains my love for food had created. Don't get me wrong, I still get excited when I see pumpkin bread or the Parmesan Shrimp Steak at Applebee's, but I don't need it to feel good about myself, I need it to live, like a human being. However, my first reaction to realizing I had a problem with food, was to cut food down in my life, and that was just as much punishing myself as binge-eating had been. I needed to forgive myself for my eating disorder, so that food could once again be a normal and healthy part of my life. I'm not trying to say that only people with eating disorders need to forgive themselves for how they've treated food, but I think even mildly, people feel bad about certain things they eat, i.e. Thanksgiving Dinner, the whole pint of Ben and Jerry's, or just something that probably isn't healthy. Everything's okay in moderation, so it's okay to forgive yourself for having a cheat day or a cheat week, or month, as long as you are treating your body right and have healthy relationship with what you eat. (I am not a doctor, so take my opinion for just that, an opinion.)

10. For Not Loving Ourselves  

     I envy the fictional person who's never felt inadequate, unlovable, or picked at themselves in the mirror. I think we sometimes believe that this person exists, but I have a hard time buying into the idea that someone truly loves each part of themselves and everything that they do. If this is you, then please feel free to comment down below and disprove my hypothesis, but until then I'm sticking with that theory. Going off of what I said above, it has not been an easy road for me to love myself, and there are still days when it seems impossible, but on the good days, I get angry at myself for ever feeling like I wasn't "worth" anything, which is counterproductive. Friends, we have to forgive ourselves for all of the mean thoughts and words we used against our own selves, as well as the times we've felt worthless, before we can truly begin to love ourselves. If your constantly reminding yourself of that hate, then you're not letting go of it, and you must move on. Without that forgiveness, we can't know true love for one's self, and I really want to know that.

     I'm sure there are many more things that people need to forgive themselves for, but I know that these 10 speak to me, and a lot of my friends. If there's something I've missed, however, please talk about it in the comments section, because I'm a huge fan of dialogue and real talk. Also, try and make a point of working towards whichever of these things you relate to, or just one if you find multiple relevant. I'm not expecting anyone to completely move past these things, because we aren't perfect, but I hope it makes you think more about your daily life and the way you treat yourself, so that you can demonstrate love and respect from the inside, out.