Finding Hope: Be Self-Aware & Forgive Yourself

ForgiveI act like a petulant child sometimes.  I’m impatient, judgmental and often hypocritical.  I’m chronically late and a night owl.  I pretty much never have a clean house.  I talk too much and I’m selfish.  I lose my temper and yell at my kids.  I’m insanely demanding of the people closest to me – which generally makes me a bad friend and family member.  No matter how much I have, I usually want something more.   I suck at consistency, but I expect to be successful.  Need I go on?

More than anything, I’m human.

I’ve spent my entire adult life examining myself and those around me.  I often wondered if I was different from others.  Was I the only one who had so many issues?  Was I the only one whose needs and wants usually conflicted with one another?

The answer is that I still don’t have all of the answers.  But what I do know is that since opening up and sharing myself on here, I’ve learned that I’m not at all alone.  Maybe we’re a small part of the population (or maybe not), but there are many of us.  For instance, I had no idea that lots of us have days where we wake up and hate the world.  And every time I share that with someone, they light up finally realizing that they aren’t weird.  Or abnormal.  It’s okay to be totally fine one day and not the next.  It’s okay to not be perfect every day.

It’s okay to have a ton of faults.  If you think you don’t, then you’re oblivious.  I have absolutely never met someone who was perfect.  I never will.  Even the people we idolize because they are amazing actors, journalists, scientists, politicians, writers, philanthropists, musicians, athletes, religious leaders or philosophers – none of them are perfect.  We can’t ever give everything to one area of our life without somehow sacrificing some other part.  Everything is a choice.  Some of us dedicate our lives to curing diseases while others dedicate our lives to raising well-adjusted children.  Which of us is more important?  Which of us is stronger? Which has less faults?  What if the aforementioned parent raises the child who cures AIDS?

Once I learned that, I became free to accept each part of myself.  Those different parts add up to be exactly the me I was made to be.  I will never stop trying to grow, but I also understand that some parts of me may never change.  I will lose friends because I need too much.  I may not achieve some of the things I hope to because of my inconsistency.  I will have to work extra hard to be the mom I want to be because it doesn’t always come naturally.  I do have to understand that my husband offers me love in his own ways just as I do in return.  I do need to be grateful for those who love me not just in spite of my flaws, but because of them.

But I don’t have to be good at everything.  No one is, and that’s what makes this world amazing.  I can’t crochet, and you would never want me to create a cookbook.  I don’t know shit about the mechanics of a vehicle, and I won’t be performing surgery in this lifetime.  I can get lost driving a mile from my house, and you can tell me something five times without me retaining the information.  But put me in front of a crowd and I could speak for hours.  I can rock high school algebra with the best of them.  And while I may not be a sprinter, I can walk for miles and miles and miles.

I have my strengths.  And I have my faults.  And together, they don’t necessarily make me the kind of person lots of people want to be around, but I’m okay with that.  I love being with my little family, and I enjoy other small gatherings periodically.  It’s who I am.  And while being me has definitely been hurtful to others along the way, I’m not really sure how to be someone else.  I’m not really sure that I want to be someone else.  And I have to forgive myself for the pain I’ve caused, because I’m hopeful that others will do the same.

Just as I make choices about the people I want to be in my life, I have to understand that others may not want me in theirs.  And that has to be okay.  No matter how much forgiveness goes around, we still have to protect ourselves from being hurt again in the future.

By becoming self-aware, I’ve learned to take a step back and check myself when I’m being judgmental of others.  It doesn’t mean I don’t retain my illogical opinion, but it does help me understand where others are coming from.  When I’m being hypocritical, I generally know it.  Does that make it any better?  No.  But at least I’m not a self-righteous hypocrite.  Ha.

How does this lead to happiness?  Well, ignorance may seem like bliss but I don’t actually think it is.  I think what makes us happy is knowing everything we can about who we are and loving ourselves anyway.  It makes our existence much better because if we can understand and accept our own flaws, we can have more compassion for the flaws in those around us.

I’m okay and so are you.  Even if our personalities are like oil and water.  Oil and vinegar get along fantastically.  And water can make friends with just about anyone.  I’m the oil in this scenario.  You can be the water.