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Please Forgive Yourself Today

Forgive yourself/


I grew up a nice little girl. Played by the rules. Did my homework. Ate my peas. Came in the house when the street lights came on.

As the years went by, I screwed up. A lot. Nothing jail-worthy mind you. Just enough bad decisions and careless choices that cost me time, money and people. This is called growing up, I guess.

In the aftermath, I could have been a lot nicer to myself. Spent less time beating myself up for what I DIDN’T do more than for what I did.

While I wallowed and self-sabotaged years of my life, opportunities were missed. I suffered many false starts. Double backed on adventures and said, “No, thank you” when I should have said, “Hell, YES!”.

I licked the wounds of my failures, believing of course that I deserved every cut and bruise.

I had years of lost ambition. More of excessive ambition. Under compensating. Over compensating. I ran super hot on ideas and projects and then icy cold. Nothing was ever lukewarm or neutral for me. I was my own worst enemy.

People could kick me, but no one, NO ONE, tossed me down with as much anger and force as I did to myself.

My list of insecurities loomed larger than mere feelings of “unworthiness”.  I believed other people’s truths about me, as told to me. “You suck” remains one of my personal favorites.

Why do we do this?

Because the bad stuff is easier to believe than the good.

Somewhere down deep inside I accepted all the crap as truth. My soul slowly tarnished until it hardened and its light went out.  Such a freaking waste of time and energy. And you can’t ever get it back.

One day, it just happened. Without any forethought or warning.

I gave in.

Gave up on it all.

On my knees. Rung dry. Depleted. Fully wasted of energy and emotion. I was tired of carrying all the weight — the guilt, shame, miscues, failures, lies, burdens, wrong turns, right turns for the wrong reasons — all my history from age ten on to this moment in time, rolled itself into a huge twisted ball of self-hate. I was flat out exhausted from trying to keep everything and everybody afloat.

I did suck. At everything I touched.

Up the pole went my white flag.

It was in my basement. I’d sent the kids off to school and started a load of laundry before heading out to work. The meltdown came like a rush of water. The dog my unintended psychologist.

“What do I do Misty? Tell me. No, I’ll tell you! I’m done with it. Done with all of it. All of this. Okay? Got it? Hear me?”

In that musty basement, sorting whites and darks, I gave myself the greatest gift. I offered a not-so-silent prayer of forgiveness.

“Yes, you’re a fuck up. Yes, you made a mess of things. Yes, you hurt people. Yes, you hurt yourself MORE. Remember this: You did the best you could with what you had and what you knew at the time. Today, we clean house. Set it straight. Today, I forgive you. Understand me? For all of it. Fuck them if they don’t forgive you because this is not about them. This is about your survival. Your future. Your life. And your family’s life — everyone under this roof who matters. Remember he told you that? I hereby forgive you for trying. I forgive you for failing. I forgive you for every word you uttered or wrote in defense. Whatever is holding you by the heels, peel it away. Get free. Start again. Listen to me: I LOVE YOU. Go make a life. And don’t come back to this place again. I swear if you do I’ll find you and kick you into the next lifetime.”

Before the spin cycle finished my attitude and perspective had changed. I knew it would get better from here. This fully granted absolution washed away the dirt and grime and stink of it all.

But my little forgiveness lecture cost me a lot. I had been a silent sufferer. Putting on a strong happy face for so long and then taking this public position, trust me, didn’t win me any fans.

Many people walked the other way.

When I stopped being everybody’s go-to and yes-girl the invitations stopped arriving and the doors slammed in my face. Opportunities shut down. I found out who my real friends were. And they were few.

It hurt. I was sad.

But in front of me was a new beginning.

It looked dark and bleak for a while. A long while, in fact.

But in time new invites arrived. Doors slowly creaked open. And the people and opportunities behind them were much brighter than I could have imagined.

All because I forgave myself and did some house cleaning. Win-win.


Original graphic and quote: Stephanie DelTorchio









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