The Hardest Person To Forgive Is Myself

Lately, I’ve been having to work on not holding grudges. I never used to; at least, I don’t think I did. But I realized I still hold a lot of anger in my heart towards people who have hurt me or my loved ones. I’m trying to do what Jesus has taught me and let it go.

But dang it, it's hard! I was thinking about this the other day, and my brain went down a rabbit hole and said “Hey remember this awkward thing you did as a teenager that made people uncomfortable? Let’s hyper-focus on that.”

That thought also made me think about how it’s even harder for me to forgive myself.

Why is it hard to forgive myself?

Why is it so hard for us to forgive ourselves? During my treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and large B cell lymphoma, I wasn’t a horrible person, but I could have been a little less grouchy, I suppose, to those around me. They were trying to help but didn’t really know how. I was just a mess, a bundle of emotions I didn’t fully understand. And of course I was, for what I was going through.

But I still feel somewhat guilty about it. I think part of this guilt comes from society. Mental health is still not widely recognized. Some people don’t even believe you can be mentally ill. Maybe some other part is believing that I don’t deserve to be forgiven, but that’s not true. I think I just feel guilty.

Forgiveness can go all around

If I can forgive others I can certainly forgive myself and vice versa. I have to keep reminding myself that the things that I went through are not the everyday things people go through. It is logical and expected that I might start acting differently and therefore probably feel some negative emotions. It’s ok to feel them. It’s also unrealistic for even a healthy person to be positive and cheerful 100% of the time.

Daily reminders

I’m trying to give myself some more empathy when these thoughts pop up. “You’re a human being, you make mistakes.” “You’re allowed to feel negative emotions.” “If you do end up accidentally hurting someone’s feelings you can talk to them and apologize.” Etc. etc.

I’m trying to be more mindful about what I say in general. (My filter got lost somewhere), so that I don’t accidentally say or do something hurtful. Sometimes I just don’t think and blurt something out. But I will make mistakes, that’s a part of life. I just have to be ready to own up to them and do what I can to fix them when I do. I’m leaning into God a lot too, and that is helping. (I’m a non-denominational Christian. Still learning!)

Have you felt this way before? Did you feel a confusing swirl of emotions? Did you ever find it hard to forgive yourself for something you did even if it wasn’t a big thing? Maybe a small thing. Do you have any tips for when someone might feel this way? Let me know!

Warm wishes, Katelynn

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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