My father left my mother for my babysitter when I was 10 years old. She was 18. He was a pretty crappy human being to my mother and myself in many other ways which need not be addressed here, and when I was 13 I elected to no longer spend time with him.
A few years ago, when he sent me a message on LinkedIn (of all things), I responded. When he asked to see me on my next trip to Orlando, I said yes. And when I saw him, we hugged and I cried.
I forgave my father. I had forgiven him almost a decade before he had sat across the table from me and asked for it.
Last year a girl dumped me in an airport after taking me away on a week long vacation. Less than a month later she was back with another ex.
When I found out she broke her collar bone a few months after that, I called her. We talked. She apologized and I forgave her. I had forgiven her months before she had ever asked for it.
Over the past two months, three people who have left me or hurt me have popped back up into my life and apologized. Without even batting an eye lash, I forgave them. I had forgiven them before they had ever asked for it.
This week I lost a relationship with someone I deeply love and respect. We both made mistakes in the relationship and contrary to what the Instagram world showed, it wasn't perfect.
She admitted the things she could have done better, I admitted many many things I could have done better. She apologized. I apologized. We parted on loving and kind terms and I don't know what our future holds, together or apart. But you know what? I forgave her. Without her even having to ask, it was granted.
But when I woke up today I realized the real thing I am struggling with and always have been, is forgiving the biggest trespasser of all - myself.
And why is that? Why are we so quick to "forgive those who trespass against us" (yes, that's a Bible quote) but so slow to forgive ourselves for our own transgressions? I can't sit here and think of a single person I have not forgiven in my life, but myself.
I heard a quote a little while ago: "We accept the love we think we deserve". And perhaps that goes to self love as well. Perhaps the reason we are so slow to forgive ourselves is because deep down we don't think we deserve to be forgiven.
But that's just bullshit. Of course we deserve to be forgiven. I deserve to be forgiven. And walking around with this millstone around my neck is only serving to confirm this cycle of fear, insecurity, doubt and self instilled unworthiness.
I've made many mistakes in my past. Everyone has. I will make mistakes in my future. Everyone will. But we need to acknowledge those mistakes. Accept responsibility for those mistakes. And then let it the fuck go. Because by not forgiving ourselves for those mistakes, we allow them to define us.
So, to everyone else still wondering why you can't let go of things in your past, or why the same things keep repeating themselves, maybe remind yourself of this little fact:
To err is human.
To forgive is divine.
To forgive yourself is essential.