The unconditional love I found in forgiving myself

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When I was younger, it was easy

Forgiving others was not even something I thought about.

I just did it.

It didn’t matter what someone else did or didn’t do.

Words never said couldn’t hurt me and the ones that were, I brushed off.

I never held onto any of it.

Maybe it was easier.

Maybe I was just numb to it all.

At some point, I let go of expectations of others.

However, the standards I set for myself were much different.

Looking back, the signs were there.

I dominated every game at recess — whether it be tether ball, kick ball, or basketball.

Perfection was the name of the game.

I had to be the best.

Only to prove something to myself.

I carried all A’s in junior high.

I played three sports in high school, competing on the varsity level all but one season.

Perfection was who I had become.

Even as an adult, I coveted it.

As a young wife and mother, the need for being my best was still a “need.”

I wasn’t competing against anyone else — just trying to do my best every day.

The boys’ outfits needed to match for the “perfect” Christmas card.

The laundry was done promptly and dinner was home-cooked.

I didn’t just volunteer for the PTO, I was its President for 2 years.

In addition to be Classroom Parent, Coach’s wife, and stellar employee.

I needed to be flawless.

Not just seen that way by others, but to myself as well.

Even something silly like running out of milk or bread was something I considered to be a mistake.

If I couldn’t keep up with reality being perfect, appearances were just as good.

That went on for years.

Until 2010 to be exact.

That was the year I ran my first 10k. (6.2 miles)

I had been running 5 miles a day for months to lose weight and this race was the pinnacle.

Being the competitive type (read above if you have forgotten) I am, I knew how long it would take me.

Even when I crossed the finish line, I was pissed.

I had failed.

In no one else’s eyes but my own.

And I couldn’t erase it, escape it, or hide from it.

My time was out there for everyone to see.

And now every one would know how much of a fraud I am.

Even as I type this, I shake my head, remembering the utter disgust I felt that morning.

Because I knew I had let myself down.

Then, I heard a few words that changed it all.

Someone gave me permission to be human

My husband quietly said, “Why can’t you just be happy you did it?”

WOW.

I immediately started asking myself questions like, “When is it going to be good enough?” and “Why are you so hard on yourself?”

But that wasn’t the moment it “clicked” for me.

No, it took hearing those same sort of questions from three people I absolutely adore…

My three sons.

I was stunned by what I saw…

The need to be perfect and get straight A’s.

The want to be the leader on their teams.

The frustrations I heard when they made a mistake or the inability to perform to their standards.

It hit me like a ton of bricks…

They were me.

So I took on the role that my husband had and told myself that I never wanted my boys to believe they had to be perfect.

I wanted them to be real and to learn to forgive their shortcomings.

Not doing so would be a disservice to them as they got older and I didn’t want that to happen.

I had no choice

I had to change my ways and promote self love.

In order for the boys to grow up to be responsible, caring men, I needed to let go of the facade hidden behind every angry remark I made towards my self.

Those mistakes became lessons.

The sooner I let them serve their purpose and fade away, I was able to move on and become better than I was before.

When I let go of my failures, I began to focus on the things I do right.

Beating myself up inside did me no good — it brought me anger and frustration.

As soon as I let go, this huge weight was lifted.

I felt free.

Giving myself permission to trip on a blade of grass, to say a word that doesn’t even exist (I said “gooder”), or to be late was okay.

I had to learn to laugh at myself too.

Because when you can laugh, you find love too.

The kind of love no one else can give you but you.

Michelle A. Homme 2017 ©

 

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