I am sitting here this morning, bundled up in my warm robe and socks, with Pepper curled up on my lap, thinking about what I want to blog about this week.
Today I am thinking about Courage and Guilt and Self-Forgiveness. A lot of emphasis and study is placed on forgiving others, and that is important. There is a powerful saying about holding onto anger. It says, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” That is how destructive anger can be to us.
But what if we hold onto anger and guilt with ourselves for things we have done, mistakes we have made. That poison continues to live in our bodies.
Writing in my journal this morning, I have been reviewing some of the choices I made as a single Mom. We moved around … a lot! I made some poor choices in boyfriends. These choices were difficult for my children. At the time, I did not see it that way. I thought I was making choices that would be good for all of us and my children always came first in my mind.
I also made some good choices that benefited my children and luckily, they are doing well, with beautiful families of their own. But as adults they have let me know how difficult some of the early experiences of divorce, and the moves, created some of the instability they felt. This has been difficult for me to reconcile.
I believed then, and believe to this day, that the health and happiness and loving care for my children was my first priority. To know that there were things that happened in their childhood, because of my choices, that did not serve that purpose makes me sad and can stimulate feelings of guilt within me.
And this is where courage and self-forgiveness come in. I first have to face the choices I made, courageously and objectively, without justifying why I made the choices. I must face the impact they had on my children, not the reasons I had for making the choices. I find this challenging. When I start to think about one of the changes that occurred in our lives because of a choice I made, I start to rationalize it in my mind. It takes effort, and a willingness to accept the impact on my children to keep my focus on their experience, not mine. I want to honor their feelings. I can’t change the past, but I can offer myself forgiveness. And I can offer them my love and empathy for their feelings.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
Courage and Self-Forgiveness. Instead of holding on to the poison of guilt, self-forgiveness is like drinking in love, compassion, and respect … for myself and for my children.
Where can you practice self-forgiveness today?