11 Things I’ve Finally Forgiven Myself For
Recently I came across a post by Me & Orla that really caused me to stop and reflect. Titled 10 Things I’ve Finally Forgiven Myself For, this post is a proclamation of personal power, self-acceptance, and taking ownership of our full selves – flaws included.
I was so inspired I decided to create my own list. What follows is some incredibly vulnerable and unflattering self-love in action. One part unapologetic self-acceptance, one part absolving myself of my self-perceived past sins, this list was surprisingly cathartic to create.
So, here we go.
1. Being opinionated
I share my opinions and perspectives freely and sometimes even a bit forcefully. This is something I’ve had trouble accepting about myself for awhile, but am now finally beginning to embrace it. I’m an Aries. I am stubborn, straight forward, and passionate. Sometimes my opinions are misguided and emotional. Sometimes they are the result of careful research and introspection. Either way, I am going to share it with you. That’s me.
2. Being irresponsible
I have done a lot of stupid shit in my life. And while irresponsibility has certainly gotten me into a lot of precarious situations (including putting strain on those closest to me), it has also taught me to be resilient and resourceful. I have an unshakeable faith in myself to pull through the bleakest situations, because I have done so countless times before. I’ve also had to think creatively to solve problems and step outside of my comfort zone on numerous occasions.
But more than being appreciative of the lessons I’ve learned from messes I’ve made, I embrace my irresponsibility streak as an immutable part of who I am. It is the expression of my rebellious nature. It is the manifestation of my impulsive artist self. And I don’t think it is going to be changing any time soon. So instead of being ashamed and self-flagellatory, I’m choosing to embrace it.
3. Being ungrateful
Okay, being ungrateful or unappreciative is not a trait that I want to perpetuate or embrace. However, I have carried around a lot of guilt about it – to the extent that I have felt undeserving and unworthy of the good things that happen to me. Because of this, I do feel the need to forgive myself for ungrateful behavior in the past.
I will admit it openly – yes, I have been ungrateful. I have even been an ungrateful, spoiled brat at times. Who hasn’t? Does this make me a bad person? Does it mean I am not deserving? No. It just means that I’m a human person, and I can do my best to do better each day by being conscious, present, and appreciative.
4. Leaving my former career
Speaking of doing stupid things, last year I abruptly left my job of five years. This choice had immediate and serious impacts on my life that I am still reconciling. In the months that followed, a carried around great deal of guilt and hated the uncertainty I felt about my future. But now, today, I can confidently say that I’ve not only forgiven myself for this choice, but I am so incredibly thankful for it. I am now right where I want and need to be.
5. Ever-changing interests
At my center I am innately curious. I love to learn, experiment, and go all-in on passing interests. I also become bored rather quickly, moving on to the next thing as soon as my curiosity is satiated. This is something I have held against myself for years, perceiving it as a critical flaw. But, I now know and accept (and embrace) that this is part of what makes me who I am. I have a wide range of knowledge and experience in a diverse set of topics that I otherwise wouldn’t (ranging from astronomy to zookeeping). And what’s so bad about that?
6. Being sensitive
I am incredibly sensitive. Overly sensitive. This has been a chief complaint lobbed against me by others my entire life. As such, it is something I have felt shame and embarrassment over. However, I’m at the point now in my life where I truly believe my sensitivity is something to be cherished.
I care, deeply. I take things to heart. I feel things intensely. It is part of who I am, and makes me passionate, creative, empathetic, and driven.
Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. – Anthon St. Maarten
7. Preferring solitude
I’ve always been a lone wolf. And frankly, I’m tired of making excuses for it or apologizing about it. I don’t like socializing, or conversation, or most things interpersonal. I prefer solitude, and I’m not sorry for savoring my independence.
I don’t live my entire life in isolation and at times I do enjoy the energy of a crowd. But usually, if given the choice, these days I will almost always choose time to myself. I’m no longer interested in making myself uncomfortable in order to make others happy, and I’m also done feeling guilty for making choices that respect and honor my personal preferences.
8. Being rebellious
As an unabashed rebel, I have always needed to form my own path. I never do as I’m asked, I don’t listen to advice, and I insist on learning things the hard way. One sure way to get me to do something is to tell me not to do it. The reverse is true as well. Like a few other items on this list, being a rebel has gotten me into some tight spots on a few occasions. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
9. Being gullible
Experience has taught me to be a bit more discerning, but I’ve generally always been pretty gullible. I’m easily manipulated, take people literally, and liberally trust others. This has gotten me into some trouble in the past, and because of that, I used to really beat myself up for this trait. However, I’ve since learned to reframe it and come to peace with it.
10. Never embracing minimalism
I tried to the minimalism thing. I really tried. I read the books and followed the blogs and even had a capsule wardrobe for close to a year.
While trying to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle I have been successful at changing some of my habits regarding spending and accumulating. I try to research items thoroughly before purchasing, and I make earnest attempts to reuse and repurpose. I’m more mindful of the items I buy, choosing higher quality, ethically sourced materials. Getting rid of things is easier, too.
But in the end, it just isn’t for me. And that’s okay.
11. Enjoying TV
I’ll admit it, I enjoy TV. A lot. Sometimes it’s a welcome distraction or comforting salve at the end of a bad day. Other times it is an immensely engaging pastime that I simply and thoroughly enjoy. Whether it is Game of Thrones, Top Chef, Gravity Falls or House Hunters, I love TV and I’m not ashamed of it. And I swear it isn’t rotting my brain.
So, what did you think? Can you relate to any of this? I’d like to know what characteristics or actions you can forgive yourself for, as well.