The hardest person I’ve ever had to forgive is myself, and there have been many nights when I’ve laid awake thinking of all of the reasons I should hate myself. I list the things that could’ve gone better that day, I count my mistakes over the last week or month, and I replay how my life could be different if I had been different. I recall all of my worries and doubts as if I were inviting my fears into bed.
I try to soothe myself with sleep sounds in the background, lavender incense swimming in the air, and my blanket pulled up to my neck. Still, I feel heavy from the weight of the burdens and the shame that I choose to carry. I often tell myself a bedtime story, and I often write myself as the villain with a lesson I have yet to learn. Many nights, I create a narrative that doesn’t just keep me up at night but haunts me even when I’m awake.
I hold onto limiting beliefs like a lifeline and refuse to forgive myself for mundane and heavy things. I relentlessly force myself to bear the weight of my worries and hinder myself from healing. But today, I’ve decided that enough is enough and that forgiveness is overdue. And I’m choosing now to forgive myself for all of the things I’ve been holding onto.
I forgive myself for procrastinating on my dreams. I forgive myself for putting my hopes in the closet and telling myself I would open it only when I felt ready or when my muse hit me. I forgive myself for the excuses I’ve replayed for years and for the guilt that comes with it. I forgive myself for the time I’ve wasted completing tasks rather than chasing my dreams.
I forgive myself for the shame that I carry like a locket around my neck. I forgive myself for nearly choking myself with regret and for letting my ego drown my lungs with fear. I forgive myself for taking blame over things I can’t control or for not moving on even when I’ve learned from something wrong. I forgive myself for punishing myself repeatedly the way I never would a lover or a friend.
I forgive myself for not breaking up a bad relationship nearly a decade ago, one that created rifts with my friends and my family and almost ruined me. I forgive myself for trying to hold myself and the relationship together with nothing but Scotch Tape. I forgive myself for not seeing my worth and so desperately wanting to be loved by someone that I forgot to love myself.
I forgive myself for taking family time as a kid for granted. I forgive myself for being so desperate for friendship and wanting people to like me. I couldn’t enjoy the precious moments with my family because I saw family days and family vacations as a lost opportunity. I forgive myself for not understanding how lucky I was to have a family that wanted to spend time together.
I forgive myself for comparing myself to everyone else. I forgive myself for wishing I looked like someone else or that I had more money than someone else or a larger following than someone else. I forgive myself for judging myself so harshly over someone else’s success. I forgive myself for not feeling like enough based on other people who seem like more to me.
I forgive myself for hiding in the shadows for fear of being seen. I forgive myself for letting myself come in second place because I was afraid people would be disappointed if they saw I came in first. I forgive myself for settling to be a wallflower for much of my life because I thought I was better off blending in than standing out. I forgive myself for making myself small and not taking up space.
I forgive myself for the nights I went a little too wild and teetered on the edge of my morals. I forgive myself for thinking I was a bad person after having one bad night. I forgive myself for the mistakes that came with one more glass of wine. I forgive myself for the fun that quickly turned into shame.
I forgive myself for the hours I’ve spent distracting myself from reality, whether that means scrolling endlessly on social media or watching yet another season on Netflix when I should’ve been working. I forgive myself for turning off my brain because I had no more headspace.
I forgive myself for all the times I ignored my reflection in the mirror because I couldn’t stand the way I looked. I forgive myself for rushing out of dressing rooms on days when everything fit wrong and for putting on extra makeup to cover up my self-consciousness. I forgive myself for limiting my perception of beauty and not seeing it in myself.
I forgive myself for all the times I said I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, good enough, witty enough, and worthy enough. I forgive myself for all the times I sabotaged myself from healing or growing or learning or just being human. I forgive myself for not supporting myself or showing myself some self-compassion. I choose now to forgive myself.
And now I wonder: What can you forgive yourself for? Today, let something go.