“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future”
— PAUL BOOSE
During 2017, I did a lot of reflecting on how I got to where I am now. I grew up thinking that there is only one way to be “happy and successful”: be a good person, and good things will happen to you. Seems simple enough, right?
I did well in school. I didn’t cuss. I didn’t drink. I certainly didn’t rebel too much. I was good, so I figured good things were bound to happen to me.
Life happened, and I soon found out that it doesn’t matter how “good” or “bad” you are: life doesn’t discriminate. Whether you are on a straight, narrow path or you’ve been zigzagging through your existence, life will find a way to shake you up.
Sh*t just happens.
That reality check didn’t sit well with me. Honestly...I was confused. And pissed. So I decided to throw the rules I followed away, and I buried my morals and values away for a bit. I was just existing. I drank a lot. I looked for love in the wrong places. I cussed like I didn’t know any other words. It didn’t seem like a huge change, since nobody was really hurt during my 5-year “bad girl” streak. But a point came when I would look into the mirror, and I just didn’t know who I actually was.
So I decided to dig myself back up.
After going over all of the zigzagging I did, I cried out for forgiveness. I forgave myself for abandoning the girl I used to be, heavily based on trying to be someone more fit for “society”. I had fallen for the trap, and I was disappointed in myself. So, God and I had a moment of forgiveness, and I was able to forgive myself, privately.
The End. I’m all better now!
What I didn’t realize is that forgiving yourself privately is way different than forgiving yourself publicly. When I initially forgave myself, I truly kept it to myself. I didn’t tell anyone: not my friends, not my family, not even my boyfriend at the time. All I would say was, “I’m better now.” I kept it all in, and it would fester. This (without my knowing) would cause random anxiety attacks, immediate “shut downs”, and hypocrisy.
Have you ever gone through a time in your life where you had no idea what the hell you were doing? You were constantly trying to figure out how you “fit” into the world? Did you think that there was a blueprint on how to live life, and when things went sideways, you looked for the nearest cliff to jump off?
It’s okay. Forgive yourself, immediately.
To forgive yourself, you have to be real with yourself and other people. It’s okay to admit, “Yes, I f*cked up. But I’m still a good person, and I’m doing better.”
I had to learn to tell my story in my own way, to the people I love. I had to learn to really embrace my journey head on, and that included forgiving myself publicly.
It’s never too late to forgive yourself. Privately, and then publicly. No matter what the story is, or how big you think your mess is, it doesn’t matter. It’s going to be okay...just start with forgiveness.