Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Forgiving Yourself

One adoption related issue that I still struggle with is forgiveness; particularly forgiving myself. Forgiving other people for what I felt they did or did not do wasn't always easy but it is something that I have been able to work through.  Where I struggle in terms of forgiveness though, is with forgiving myself.

What do I have to forgive myself for you might be wondering? Well, I have many guilty feelings about a variety of issues surrounding Charlie’s conception and subsequent adoption. I feel guilty for the mistakes that led up to Charlie’s conception. I feel guilty that I wasn’t in a position to my parent my son at that time in my life. (Let me clarify though, I don’t feel that Charlie was a mistake, just the actions that led to his conception.)

I looked up the word forgiveness in the dictionary, which took me to the word forgive and then gave me this definition.

Forgive: verb a: to give up resentment of or claim to requital for (forgive an insult) b: to grant relief from payment of (forgive a debt)2: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON (forgive one’s enemies)

I know I have to learn to forgive myself. I cannot beat myself up constantly for the mistakes that I have made, things I didn't do, or things I wish I would have done differently. I know those things are in the past, what’s done is done, and I can only learn from them and move forward. Unfortunately, life doesn’t have a rewind button where we can go back and fix our mistakes. (Boy, don’t you wish it did!)

To me, it just seems so much easier to forgive another person for something, than myself, but lately I have really been working to forgive myself. I start by praying and asking God for forgiveness but that was easy compared to the work I have to do within myself.

Recently, I wrote an apology letter to myself. It may seem a little hokey, but it really did help. I wrote a letter apologizing to myself for the things I feel like I let myself down on. I then, wrote myself a letter of forgiveness, forgiving myself for the things I felt I have done wrong. It really has helped me on the road to forgiving myself.

Anyone else out there struggle with forgiving yourself? What have you done in order to try and forgive yourself?

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  1. So true, I struggle with this all the time. My therapist says this is the root cause of my depression and regret. Once I get past this I can focus on the positive, that I still have my son in my life and he wants to be part of mine and his sisters' lives. Often we're harder on ourselves than other people. It's difficult though, some days I feel like I have forgiven myself, but there are those triggers that remind me of what I have lost and can't get back. It's a constant struggle and one that doesn't go away just like that.

  2. Sometimes therapists just don't "get it." Most of them are not trained to help birthmothers. I would suggest that your depression and regret has little to do with "forgiveness" for yourself or anyone else, but has to do with, as you said, being "reminded of what you have lost and can't get back." This is what it is like for mothers who have placed children for adoption. THis is what it is always like.