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When Are You Going To Forgive Yourself?

When Are You Going To Forgive Yourself?

I could write a book about being my own worst enemy.  For the years of life that I can remember, I recall beating myself up endlessly for one thing or another.  My weight, my love life, grades, my choices... At some point I just got tired of struggling with everything at one time and did something novel: I forgave myself.  

"The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself." Carrie Bradshaw wasn't lying when she uttered this now-famous line in the Sex and the City series finale.  I've given this sentiment a lot of thought over the years.  Particularly the bit about how the relationship with oneself can be "challenging".  

Isn't it funny that we often will look for acceptance and forgiveness from others when really it's ourselves that we are looking to for validation?  I've lost count of the hours wasted reliving my bad choices over and over in my head.  It was as if I tortured myself long enough, somehow it would reverse the effect of the bad decision.  As it turns out - that didn't work.  

In forgiving myself it wasn't as if I forgot the mistakes or missteps I'd made in the past. Instead it was a way to acknowledge that the past cannot be changed, but how I allowed it to affect me could be.  So instead of feeling guilty all the time about this or that, I decided to exercise a little grace with myself.  I found that in dwelling so much on my past I remained stuck there, incapable of moving forward.

I can't say that I don't have regrets, because I do.  But what I can say is that I have less tolerance for letting those regrets stand for more than a moment in time.  After all, if progress is the goal, shouldn't forgiveness of self be a necessary step along the way?

What do you think?  Have you forgiven yourself for your past mistakes?

Photo credit: Enrico Carcasci

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