Posted by: Judy | October 26, 2017

Self Care 3 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I’m not good at self care, but I am learning.

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3. Forgiving myself….I find it much too easy to forgive others and yet I struggle to show myself the same compassion and understanding. I find myself berating myself over and over for even small things that I would overlook or forgive easily in others. It seems I’ve taken on punishing myself from where my childhood abusers left off.

My response:

If only I were smarter. If only I’d were prettier. If I weren’t so stupid, I would have figured out how to escape the mess I created. I’m not blaming others because there’s no one to blame but me. My lousy choices. My stupid decisions. It’s my fault.

How do you forgive yourself with that kind of drivel running through your brain?

I was shocked when it dawned on me that my poor eating habits are my first method of choice for abusing myself. I didn’t deserve to be treated with kindness. The insane part was that I both punished and rewarded myself with food. Messed up. I wore clothes that were years old, with holes; I hadn’t purchased anything new in several years. I wasn’t pretty enough. When I lost the excess weight I’d buy clothes. I hated this about myself, once I recognized what I was doing. I honestly didn’t recognize what I was doing to myself, for decade.

It is never too late to change. If you’re still here; it isn’t over.

How did I learn to forgive myself?

First I had to learn what forgiveness really was. I’d always thought of it as forgetting and going on like nothing happened. Yes, I set myself up to fail. The abusers taught me how to do that. I excelled.

Forgiveness is giving over the bitterness and the need for revenge to Jesus. He suffered and died for it already, anyway. Me hanging onto it is like wrapping my fingers around barbed wire and refusing to let go. THAT is stupid. Giving it all to Him freed me, releasing me from the chains that held me.

It was also important for me to learn that abusers don’t really want forgiveness, which requires change on their part. What they want is absolution, for me to pretend like nothing happened so they can continue on as they always have. It’s still difficult for me to wrap my mind around the fact that allowing them to continue to sin is not kind. I was frequently told that I needed to forgive and forget. I was finally able to reply, “I have forgiven. They want absolution. I don’t have that kind of power.”

Healing is always a multifaceted endeavor.

I tried focusing on one area. Other areas would crowd in. I’m learning to work a little on a lot of different things. Examples: Going to bed a few minutes earlier. Eating one less piece of chocolate. Walking a few more steps. On the days I don’t do well, I remind myself I’m given a new day every 24 hours to try again. I’m learning to celebrate the little success and forgive myself for the little failures. The little things bleed into the big things.

In the last few months, I’m eating better, sleeping better, working out six days a week. I’ve purchased some pretty new clothes, many of them simply new to me. Thrift stores are great!

Here’s the important lesson: As long as I refuse to forgive myself, it is difficult for me to be generous with others. It isn’t that I’m stingy. When you refuse to forgive yourself, you fail to see how much to have to offer. It’s difficult to give when you believe you’re worthless.

How did I fail to see that Jesus loved me so much and considered my worth so high He willingly died for me? I’m not allowed to discount what He did. I don’t have that kind of power.

If I am precious enough for the Savior of the world to give His life as a ransom for mine, then I need to be brave enough to give all the unforgiveness to Him. He knows what to do with it. He’s already done it.


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