Like anything worth fighting for, it isn’t always easy.
If I asked you to think of a list of people whose forgiveness you wish you had, who would you think of? Over the course of a lifetime, your list may be a long one. Maybe you missed your son’s baseball games, or took one too many phone calls at dinner with the family. Perhaps you missed being present for a loved one’s final days.
When we think about ‘forgiveness’, it is only natural to look to the external. Other people. Surely, you want the validation of your son’s forgiveness, or to know that your loved ones understand why you weren’t there for them in their time of need.
But the forgiveness of others is not something we can demand, control, or really, something we should seek. The old saying that ‘you can’t control what happens to you, only how you respond to it’ is true. And applies to forgiveness, too.
We cannot control if someone we care for chooses to forgive us. What we can control is who we choose to forgive. And we should start with ourselves.
The need for forgiveness is not unique. It is discussed widely in the bible, such as in Matthew 6:14–15: ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
The opposite is implied to be true. Those who refuse to forgive others will not be forgiven in the eyes of God. Surely this logic should apply to ourselves. If we cannot first forgive ourselves, how can we expect to be forgiven in turn?
This is one of the most powerful things you can do in your life. Learn forgiveness of your own actions. Forgive yourself. You are human. You are fallible. Your are here to make mistakes so that you can learn from them.
Forgiving yourself allows you to live by example so that others can see that it is possible. It is not always easy to have compassion for yourself, but it is something that can be profoundly liberating. It makes it okay to be human, make mistakes, and learn from them so that you can step into who you want to be. By living by example.
Previously Published on Mickey Markoff Inspirations