Many times we hear the Church talk about forgiving others, “Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:22). But oftentimes we forget that this includes forgiving ourselves too. If you’re like me you usually don’t have a hard time forgiving others. I’m that bubbly sort of person that just loves everyone. But when it comes to forgiving myself...well, lets just say I still haven’t mastered that yet. Why is it so hard to forgive ourselves? I’m still trying to figure that out.
I’ll be honest, like many others, there’s a lot I don’t really like about myself, and I’m constantly hearing people say to “love yourself”. But whenever I hear that, a little voice in my head is screaming, “I KNOW THAT! BUT HOW DO I LOVE ME?” That is my constant struggle; how do I love and forgive ME?
But why does it matter? We aren’t supposed to think highly of ourselves right? I mean you wouldn’t want to be arrogant would you? *gasp* And the bible says to be humble, right? But here’s the thing, self-deprecation IS NOT humility! To be humble, means that you think of others more than yourself. But when you hate yourself, and can’t forgive yourself, you are thinking about yourself. It is a deadly, sneaky form of pride, trying to poison your life. As Renee Catherine from New Catholic Generation said once, “We ought to think of ourselves less, not less of ourselves”. Self-deprecation is a lie, humility is knowing the truth about ourselves, loving ourselves (the good and the bad) and seeking to become a better person so we can help others.
So now we know that we need to forgive ourselves and why…. but that still leaves the question, How? Well that is the real question isn’t it… I will be completely honest and say I don’t have any magic solution. Forgiving myself is still an on-going struggle for me. It is not something that you can just wake up one morning and say, “I forgive myself” and *poof* a rainbow appears over your head and you’re suddenly happy (I really wish it happened like that, haha!). But rather, forgiveness is more of the long hard journey that leads you to happiness.
My life’s goal is to be a missionary, evangelizing to youth. But lately, I’ve seen many of my friends falling away from the church. Occasionally I will try to talk to them about what they’re doing, but everytime I get mocked, laughed at, and then ignored. And because I’m afraid of being left alone, deserted by these friends, or worse, have them hate me, I begin to do nothing. I sit by and watch my friends attempt to find happiness through worldly things, but they become more and more miserable as they dive deeper and deeper into the world around them. I do nothing because I am too scared! Sometimes I’m tempted to follow them, because it would be easier than trying to resist. I’m no better than them, allowing myself to make excuses to allow the inappropriate jokes, and even laughing at them! And I hate myself for it!
How do you forgive yourself for so big a failure? I’ve realized a couple things, 1. I need to help myself, before I can help anyone else. I have to stop going along with the inappropriate jokes and laughing before I can convince anyone that it is wrong to say those things. I need to trust God, learn to not be afraid, before I can help anyone else trust God. I must convince myself, before I can convince anyone else. 2. If I want to forgive myself, I can’t just sit back and do nothing anymore. I have to speak up, even if people hate me for it. I have to do what I know is the right thing to do, and then I will be able to forgive myself.
- Kadie Desireé
'Fire of the Spirit' Teen blog is run by Henry B. To find more information about this blog, go here