National Forgiveness Day:: Showing Grace to Yourself and Others

August 27th is National Forgiveness Day. On this day, I ask you to reflect on those you’ve forgiven who didn’t deserve your forgiveness, but you still gave it to them anyway.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness not a word often used in our daily adult vocabulary. I mean it should be right? Although we may not “talk” about it too much, the actions behind forgiveness have been taught quite early in our lives.
 
Think back to when your child was a toddler and the normal scenario of him or her stealing a toy right out of someone’s hand, pushing a friend, biting a sibling, cousin, friend. You know the drill. A parent’s first reaction is usually asking their sweet child to say “sorry” for their actions. Usually a simple sorry is enough for kids and their life goes on back to normal doing the next terrible yet amazing toddler thing. Forgiveness was so much easier in the terrible two toddler years wasn’t it? Maybe it wasn’t so terrible after all.
 
Adulting, feelings, expectations, relationships, blah, blah, blah… all this grown up stuff makes forgiveness hard as heck sometimes. As liberating as it is to forgive someone who has done you wrong, NOT giving someone your forgiveness is sometimes just as satisfying, isn’t it? That is, if you’re not one of those that holding a grudge becomes life consuming for you. Lucky for me, I’m not that person.

Forgiving Yourself

Also think about the people who’ve forgiven you when you did them wrong. But have you thought about forgiving yourself? Oftentimes we’re so ready to point the finger at those who have hurt us, who have let us down. Sometimes the finger points back at you and let me tell you, self forgiveness is the hardest thing ever. Am I right?! I don’t know if its a  ‘Mom thing’ but the mom guilt is so real. 
 
As moms we often carry the burden of our children from the newborn stage well into adulthood. We blame ourselves for mishaps, the should’ve could’ve scenarios we play over and over in our heads. It’s exhausting and all so real.
 
As women we guilt ourselves for things such as weight gain, yelling at the kids, running late, infertility, etc. My own story includes a lot of self disappointment and anger towards my body. Blaming my secondary infertility on something I did or didn’t do. Month after month, negative pregnancy test after test, just a constant reminder of what a failure I was at being a woman, a mom, a wife. When I finally decided to do something about my unfortunate circumstances, the self forgiveness slowly came. It’s still something I work on daily.
 
I’m still not 100% over bashing myself, but I’ve come a long way, trust me. Our IVF cycle is a few days of being complete and lots of prayers and science has gotten me to this point. I have come to terms that it may not be successful, and as heartbreaking as that may be, I did my part. I mostly endured the countless pricks and pokes of injections like a champ. I went in for all the appointments and the bloodwork; I did the research, I did it all. I did my absolute best.

Doing the Best We Can

We moms are not perfect, but we do the best we can. Your friend on the PTA’s ‘best’ may look a whole lot better than your ‘best’, but who cares? Motherhood isn’t a time to judge one another, we’re all on the same boat trying not to let our kids jump off and drown, trying to stay afloat, doing what we think is best.
 
On National Forgiveness Day, cut yourself some slack, be nice to yourself, and love yourself and the amazing journey of motherhood you’re on. Look at your children day and night and see the miracle you’ve been blessed with. Forgive yourself for the could’ves, should’ves, and would’ves. We’re not perfect, we make mistakes and we’re all learning as we go. Every day is a new day to start over.
 
Forgive those who are truly sorry even if sometimes you think they don’t deserve it. Forget the drama and hurt it’s caused you. Forgive those who aren’t sorry and move on. Don’t hold on to the pain; let it go and don’t look back.

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