single mom

Forgiveness

I say “I’m sorry,” about three dozen times a day – I accidentally step in someone’s path or accidentally cut someone off as they begin to speak. We all do it. I’ve occasionally even cut someone off while driving. I’ve said the wrong thing and hurt someone unintentionally, and worse – in the heat of the moment, I’ve said the right thing to hurt someone intentionally. I’ve sworn, flipped people off and generally been an unkind person from time to time, particularly in rush hour traffic and stress-inducing situations. I’ve asked forgiveness, and 99.9 per cent of the time, it’s granted. I accept apologies from those who’ve wronged me or hurt me and in turn, grant forgiveness.

But I almost never apologize to myself. I hardly ever forgive myself, and I know I’m not alone in this. Like everyone else in the world, I make mistakes. I screw up. It’s totally normal and yet I beat myself up over it.

You see, we all make a mess of our lives from time to time. That’s life – no one ever said it would be rainbows and sunshine all the time. Life is messy. A lapse in judgment, harsh words spoken and that full package of cookies don’t make you a bad person. Coming across a roadblock in your path doesn’t mean that your journey has ended – just that it’s time to find a new way.

The hardest thing you will ever do is say you’re sorry when you’ve truly done wrong – but the most liberating thing you will ever do is forgive. Let it go. You will feel lighter physically, emotionally and mentally. Apologize to yourself, forgive yourself, wipe the tears from your eyes and move on.

You are stronger than you know. Your shortcomings and mistakes do not make you a bad person: they make you human. The hardships you face do not mean your life is ruined, but that it’s real. Never sell yourself short when it comes to how special you are. Don’t dwell on the negatives.

Take, for instance, my baby brother. He is, without a doubt, one of the most wonderful people I am blessed to have in my life but he makes some dumb decisions from time to time. When a less-than-stellar decision disrupted his life recently, he felt miserable. He hid it from those closest to him, lost sleep and beat himself up. When it came to light, he was afraid he’d hurt his loved ones and he declared his life “ruined” and himself a “bad person”.

At 19, his life’s barely begun and it’s far from ruined. He’s got a great family (obviously, he has me for a sister!), wonderful friends and his entire life ahead of him. He also showed just how incredible he is earlier this evening when he found a kitten tied outside his apartment in the cold. He went house to house looking for the owners before taking it inside to care for it. A bad person wouldn’t do that, but my brother would.

And it’s time for him to forgive himself for those mistakes in the past, and recognize how wonderful he is. You should too.

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