October 27, 2008

How about you?

How about you?

I had been working a recovery program for more than five years before I embraced the idea of self-forgiveness. I was many things of the self, self-loathing, self-deprecating, self-injurious, self-defeating, but not self-forgiving.

I had the ingredients for success through attending and working a 12-step program, being honest in therapy and developing a support network. Still, there was a nagging in me that I could not seem to release. I continued believing things could be different but possibly not feel different. I attended a self-introspective program that was more in depth than any work I had previously completed. It was during these days and weeks of involvement in this journey that I began to see a need to change my approach.

For most of my life I had been responsible for the outcome of many things. Typically, I felt most responsible for the way others felt and behaved. That feeling was entwined with my feelings and behaviors. I believed I had the ability to change another person. Yet, time and time again, I failed at this task.

My first boyfriend was abusive. I could forgive him because he had a drug problem. Two of my good friends fled from my life shortly after I became sober. I could forgive them. I would have fled, too. My dad died when I was only 25. Forgiveness was easy. It wasn’t his fault. Boyfriends, family, friends, co-workers, institutions -- all forgiven. God? Check. Forgiven.

When the trainer in my group at that introspective program looked me in the eyes and said, “How about you?” My life changed. How about me? How about forgiving me for everything I had done, failed to do and would never be able to do? How about forgiving me for my deficiencies and the strengths that I tried to hide? How about allowing myself the same care, concern, and compassion as I had allowed others for so long?

How about me?

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