This year has been marked by losses. I lost my marriage as I knew it; my husband, my best friend, supporter, confidante- gone before my eyes. I lost my small business. I lost some friends. And I lost a lot of pride. As I sank down into the abyss of self-loathing and self-pity, I questioned everything about myself and my choices. What did I do to cause all of this? How could I have been so stupid? How could anyone love such a sad, weak, difficult, compulsively neat person?
But then a shift happened…slowly. I decided not to do what I had always done after a loss or disappointment. I decided not to “get on with it” and take a new class, work more hours, fill my weekends with FUN! I just sat with my pain. I sat still with it. I held that pain tightly enough to feel it and know it- but loosely enough to let it slip through my fingers. And a peculiar thing happened. I found that I started feeling forgiveness, mostly for myself. And as that forgiveness deepened, I was able to extend it to the people in my life who have betrayed and hurt me.
I forgave myself for not “really” using my hard-earned college degree. I forgave myself for failing at my small business attempt. I forgave myself for not always being able to show my husband, my soul mate, how much I love his homemade pizza, or how much I adore the way he reads to our children before bed, or how it makes me smile when he says my name, the way no one else says it. I forgave myself for not being as patient with our kids as my mother was with my siblings and I. I forgave myself for, in short, being human. And I discovered, that for me, self-forgiveness swallowed up the self-loathing and self-pity and left in their place, love. And in that warm, soft space beneath the love, redemption was found. Not just theirs, but my own.