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Forgive yourself Week Two

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					                                                                                FR. HURLBERT Musing
                                  Forgive Yourself (Part 2 of 6)

          his needs to be the first article in the series,   selves.
          as it is difficult to forgive anyone until
          you can forgive yourself. And it is often             Forgive yourself for not realizing all of your
          not until we accept and forgive ourselves          goals. It is good to set goals beyond our reach, as it
that we can grow and change for the better. Yet some-        keeps us striving to transcend apparent limits. Yet it
times we are stricter with ourselves than we are with        also means never realizing the goals we have set be-
anyone else: if forgiving another is tough, forgiving        fore us to achieve. Take stock of your life and observe
ourselves is often tougher. We set up impossible ex-         your accomplishments. You may be surprised by the
pectations, and then hammer ourselves for not achiev-        length of the list.
ing them. We want to be our best, but rarely are. As
we move into lent, let us try to come to terms with             Forgive yourself for falling back into an addiction.
our humanity by facing our weaknesses.                       Addictions can be a bear to break, but fighting these
                                                             destructive patterns can actually lead us closer to
                  ************                               God. No one who falls back likes him/herself any bet-
                                                             ter for it. Re-group and take the addiction to task
   Forgive yourself for your feelings: anger, hate,          again when you have the strength.
guilt, fear, lust. You can control what you do with feel-
ings, but you cannot control the feelings themselves.           Forgive yourself for not being the best parent in
Feelings are just that: feelings. Forgive yourself for       the world, for not being the wisest advisor or most
being embarrassed about yourself. Give yourself a            loyal friend. Forgive yourself for not being the smart-
break.                                                       est in the class, or the best on the field, or the
                                                             smoothest with the opposite sex. Forgive yourself for
   Forgive yourself for needing others who don't             not knowing all the answers.
need you. If someone you want to be close with does
not respond, don’t blame yourself for not being some-           Forgive yourself for the bad things that happen
one you were not meant to be. On the other hand, for-        around you over which you have little or no control. It
give yourself for pulling away from others because           is nice to think we have the power to control all situa-
they need you more than you can handle. When oth-            tions but in reality we are pretty limited in terms of
ers’ demands made you feel cornered, you may have            what we can influence.
pushed them away, unable to respond to their needi-
ness. Forgive yourself for the times you have resented                         ************
those you love. Resentment is an ugly feeling, as is
the guilt that often accompanies it.                            Most of all, forgive yourself for having a hard
                                                             time forgiving. Forgiveness is participating in the
     Forgive yourself for being too scared to be vul-        work of God, and God’s work is not easy. Ease up. Ac-
nerable, too afraid to let others into your inner world.     cept yourself as God accepts you, even while keeping
It is an enormous task to tear down the walls we all         your goals in your sights. We have no business with-
build around ourselves Most of us have to do it brick        holding forgiveness from ourselves when God Himself
by brick, and that takes time.                               forgives us. Or do we think we have done something
                                                             even God cannot forgive? Many carry with them the
  Forgive yourself for your laxity, for failing to always    burden of something from the past which haunts
lead the good life, for not always fighting the good         them- an “unforgivable sin?” Dig it up; name it; and
fight. There will be other days. Forgive yourself for        confess it. Give it up for lent.
your scruples, for expecting perfection every minute.
That is a heavy burden to bear and no one should be
expected to carry it. Not even you.

   Forgive yourself for the hurts you have inflicted                                                            JFH
on others. Most have probably forgiven you by now,
or would in a minute if you ask them. Don’t punish
yourself more than you need to. Life provides us with
enough punishment without our heaping it upon our-

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