Taking a Step to Self Love Through Forgiveness



When someone you love is going through a trying time, sometimes they lash out in a way they don’t mean to. It’s easier said than done that you forgive them, whether it’s through talking it out or being very patient in their time of need. We’ve all heard the same advice when it comes to solidifying relationships — communicate everything you feel, lift the other when they’re down, and make constant efforts to take in and accept their flaws.

But sometimes it’s hard to take the advice when it all comes back to yourself. Being patient with yourself, reaching out to others when you’re overwhelmed, changing yourself in a way that is healthy both mentally and physically. This all sounds great, but taking that first step so that you can manage the rest of that journey is the most important one, and for me that was forgiving myself. This included forgiving myself for every single error or mishap that happened to me at this point From an embarrassing moment I always blamed on me in high school, to forgiving myself for the self hate I felt when I first was dealing with my chronic IBS condition. It wasn’t easy to go through everything down my mental list because there were moments I just thought I did not deserve to forgive myself for. Those were memories that I tried to either repress so deep into my memory that I would forget it, or I would just constantly hate myself over. Eventually those memories began to define me and I could not accept my own body to my own personality. But I was tired of feeling that way, because even when I tried to do other positive activities, such as exercise, I would still detest certain parts of myself that were unchangeable. And it’s hard to come face to face with that fact — that those moments in your past that you absolutely hate can never change or be completely erased from your life.

But you can learn to forgive yourself at your own pace and at your own time, until the day that when your flaws come to mind you don’t feel anything but self acceptance, inner peace and self love. Even now I’m still going down my mental list, but here I will share a bit of my own grudges that I learned to forgive to give a bit of a head start

1. It’s okay to be emotional. Yes, being angry or upset that one time was a perfectly healthy emotion that you deserved to feel.

This sounds like an easy statement, but sometimes we are scared to show that imperfection of ours to the people we think are perfect. I had times where I repressed these feelings for so long because of guilt. I was guilty of feeling angry towards a friend of mine because I kept visualizing them as this perfect person that I should never get angry over. I constantly overwrote my own feelings as inadequate; that I was overthinking it. I let this person continue to treat me in so many disrespectful ways, but they were oblivious to it because I never spoke up about it and ended up resenting them in the end. Reflecting on this years later, I learned that trying to repress feelings for people your idolize, no matter the situation, is never healthy. Let yourself get upset and make sure to tell them, too. Forgive their flaws before you conclude that you hate them without communicating — it’s never worth ruining a friendship because you were scared of hurting feelings. Which comes to my next part.

2. Forgive others, but you don’t always have to let go

Sometimes people willingly hurt us, knowing that their next set of words or actions could potentially scar you. In this case I don’t think forgiving them necessarily means that you will forget what they had done to you, but forgiving them so that you don’t have to live endlessly with hate in your heart. Hate has a power that can swallow you whole just as much as love and give you the power to be at peace with yourself and the world around you. Forgive but you don’t always need to forget, and that’s okay.

3. You are still learning and will continue to.

Transforming your painful memories as a learning experience and stepping stone in your life is important for own self growth. As young girls in that scary shift between youth and adulting at the same time it is normal to go through a series of mistakes. Sometimes you want to kick yourself, as I do when I’m trying to sleep at night (but I’m working on it!). There is nothing to be ashamed of when you try your best, and that’s more than enough even if, like Coldplay says, you don’t succeed. Success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and each moment, even the ones you hate, are a lesson that has already brought you a step closer.

4. Be patient with yourself.

There is no one way to get ahead in life, and being in college I understand that sometimes it seems that way. It is common to see people take the 4 year degree route, and then move on to greater things. But as someone who felt guilty for being a mature student for a long time, I realized that there is no one size fits all for everyone. You can go at your own pace, at your own time, and no one will judge you for it. And to those that do — it’s as simple as ignoring them, because it’s the people that bring people down to put themselves up that are that should be pitied.

5. Your past and future mistakes do NOT define you.

Nor do they make you any less than anyone out there. How we deal, cope, and learn from them is what builds character. You can’t please everyone, and that should also be said about yourself — it’s impossible to always get the results that you want. Rather, you should practice being vulnerable! Once you start accepting this, and seeing everything as a positive challenge it’s easier to be okay with vulnerability and eventually yourself.

It’s not easy to have a few moments to reflect on past memories or mistakes that you don’t want to think about, and that’s perfectly fine. But don’t let it sit and grow and take over this one life you have. When you’re ready, know that what you’re going through is okay and that facing yourself will take time. And sometimes we can’t go through this reflection process by ourselves, and that’s also okay! The more we accept that we need help the more it can become more of a norm. Lastly I hope to tell anyone reading this that please know that I am proud of you even when you don’t feel like you ‘deserve to be’. Just surviving and persevering up until this point is enough of a reason to believe that you have potential to keep going.