Saturday, 16 May 2020

Forgiving yourself

I have found that one of the most difficult things to do in life is to forgive yourself.

Sometimes in life, you make a thoughtless decision that ends up hurting the people you love. Other times, you put a lot of thought into a decision but not the execution, and you end up hurting others anyway. At the point of making the decision, you probably thought that the consequences could not be that great; that it would be worth it for the pursuit of happiness and freedom. But as time goes by, you realise that you might have been wrong. Collateral damage. You did not think of the collateral damage. (Very utilitarian of me, I know.)

To cope with the guilt, you numb your emotions and continue making a string of poor decisions. You spiral. And in this downward spiral of poor decisions, you hurt even more people and your guilt compounds. But at some point of time, you will come to realise that while you think you’re doing a decent job in keeping your emotions at bay, the truth is that it is eating you up from the inside.

You don’t know how to love yourself in a healthy way anymore. While you’re capable of physical intimacy, you distant yourself emotionally from others so that they do not become another victim of your miserable life. (I mean, you have a track record now.) And in doing so, you hurt again. You hurt those who love you and want to help you heal.

When you realise this, you can either choose to keep pushing them away, and continue the paradox of indulging in your guilt while numbing the pain; or you can choose to pull the plug on your stoicism and try to forgive yourself. But of course, it is easier said than done. The toughest part about forgiving yourself is when you know that the people you have hurt are still in pain.

I have been in a very bad place the past year, coping with all sorts of guilt but I think I’m slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s not because I realised that I have been bashing myself up way more than I deserve, or because I have decided to carpe diem. It is because I’m starting to remember what it feels to be loved, in spite of

my wrongdoings,
my guilt,
my pain,
my betrayals,
my shortcomings,
my doubts,
my hatred,
and my rebellion.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 
2 Corinthians 12:9

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