Forgive Thyself.

Here’s the latest from Natalie Magee, writer, fitness contributor, and working mom… This week’s installment to her column “Baby & Beyond – What No One Will Else Will Tell You” is all about forgiveness. Self-forgiveness especially, because that’s where it starts. I think this particular piece is very timely during the hectic and stressful holiday season. Give it a read and forgive yourself and someone else at least once today for a deed, word, or thought. Forgiveness is freeing. It’s an expansive act. Forgiveness tells the universe, “I’m open to abundance, to love, to expansion.” Happy Holidays! Tania.

Image from AquariusParadigm.com

The past two weeks I’ve been focusing this column on judgments, and how often we judge ourselves and those around us. Whether I think I am a bad mother or the woman two seats back on the airplane is, judgments are the quick and mindlessly easy alternative to learning someone else’s story. And to practicing a little self-love. Though you may try hard, or have started to now that you are aware of how judgy you are of yourself and others, it’s inevitable you are going to have moments when your mouth and your mind are not in the flow. That’s where forgiveness comes in to play.

Friends, it’s time we learned to start forgiving ourselves and those around us.

Face it – you aren’t perfect. I know that’s hard to hear, but you aren’t. Neither is your mother, your best friend, your husband or your sister. No matter what you want yourself or the world around you to believe. I know every day I mess up something in some way big or small. When I can’t take my dog for a walk, it’s easy to forgive myself. If I didn’t spend enough time with my daughter then it’s much harder. My judgments of myself lead to my feelings of inadequacy until I can remember I am only human. I am only human and if I can’t forgive myself I can’t move on.

Forgiving yourself gives permission to acknowledge that there is only so much you can do or handle. Forgiving yourself means loving yourself enough that you can make peace with whatever decisions you have made. Easier said than done, right? And, when it comes to forgiving others this is especially true.

I had a situation recently where our debit card number was stolen, and our bank account was wiped out. This is not the first time I have had a card stolen and used fraudulently. The last time was when I was fresh out of college with an entry level job and when I checked my bank account balance saw I was overdrawn $800. Checks bounced, overdraft fees were racked up, and I was bawling at my desk wondering how could anyone do this to another human being? This time around I could hold in the tears but not the same anger and rage I felt at whomever did this. Who steals someone’s money right before Christmas? How could I ever forgive someone for doing this?

Sometimes forgiving others is so much harder than forgiving oneself. Holding grudges is easy when you can judge in your mind what kind of person someone else is without knowing the story. If I held a grudge against myself for something I did, I would never be able to move past that incident and live my life. I realize now that it has to be the same way with those around me. I cannot control anyone else in my life or what I perceive them as “doing” to me so the only thing I can do is forgive and move on. Forgiveness frees me. I’m not bound to that person if I forgive her. And, I must forgive the person who wiped our bank account out because otherwise I will find myself overanalyzing the situation. There is nothing I can do about it so why hold on to the anger associated with the crime? Anger, like fear, like judgment, stops the flow.

I am more about forgiving and move on than forgive and forget. In my opinion, to forgive and forget opens you up to repeating the same mistakes again. To move on is to acknowledge that whatever happened in the past is to be left there, and you can move forward without anger in your heart. Forgiveness does not mean that you are weak, or that you agree with the act, or that you are apathetic, it’s more simply freeing yourself. I could sit around and hate whomever cleaned out my bank account all day, or I could forgive someone who resorted to that and be grateful that’s not how I have to live my life. Be thankful I don’t feel I am in such dire straits to act in desperation. I am learning to forgive because the burden of anger, hate, and self-pity ultimately becomes too great to bear otherwise.

The strong forgive.

I have never had to learn how to forgive myself more than when I became a wife and then mother. I don’t cook for my husband every night; sometimes I feed Charlotte formula, and my dog doesn’t get played with enough. Sometimes I forget to buy food for my cat, and I surf the internet instead of talking to my husband. I flake on my friends because I don’t have time to do it all. I’m horrible at managing money, and sometimes my yoga and spin classes aren’t taught with that much enthusiasm. I have to forgive myself daily for these imperfections and more. I’m not perfect, my friends. Neither are you.

What a relief.

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About the Author: Natalie Magee writes a regular column for Happiness Series about what motherhood and beyond - from prenatal to postpartum. Her intention with her column, "Baby & Beyond - What No One Else Will Tell You" is to give practical advice and tips to the busy mom and mom-to-be. She also shares her experiences good, bad and ugly as a woman, wife, mom, flight attendant and fitness instructor. Natalie is also a regular fitness contributor on Happiness Series. She will continue to create great, effective workouts for anyone - including the busy moms out there - who wants to get fit and stay in shape.