On The Merits Of Forgiving Myself

Hello, friends!

At first I was going to write more about eating (specifically overeating) and weight loss, but I figured that that would lead to no end of self sabotaging thoughts, so I decided to write about something both harder and easier to write about – forgiving myself. Does this include forgiving myself for overeating? Yes. It’s hard, but it’s going to be worth it.

I say “going to be” because I am still a beginner in this journey. I still beat myself up for things I did 6 months – no, six years ago, and possibly longer ago than that. My dad always said that holding a resentment against someone else was like holding onto a hot coal and blowing on it continuously as it burns through the holder’s hand. But what about holding a resentment against oneself?

I’d say it’s like taking that same hot coal and swallowing it, expecting it to cool off as it burns through you. It’s equally as harmful, if not more so. I’m learning this so much as I discover how badly holding grudges against myself harms me as much as the grudges I hold against others do. I have spent so much time afraid to fail because my inner critic has yelled at me for things I had done wrong in the past. An example of this would be when I tell myself I’m a terrible person because I upset my husband one day or two days in a row. This way of thinking discounts all of the good things I do both for him and for the world at large. Couple that with calling myself a failure and it’s as damaging as it would be had someone else called me that.

Consider the cumulative effect of calling yourself a failure.

If you say or hear something enough, you start to accept it as truth. I started to fall into that “coming up short” mindset when I was about 15. I felt I didn’t meet my church’s standards of a good girl because I experienced “impure thoughts”. Somehow that made me less of a good person! I internalized that fear and it became a part of my being until I left the Church when I was 20. I was also told I was selfish a lot growing up, and I internalized that, too. To this day, my inner critic takes on the voice and tone of people who have criticized me in the past. There are times when I can’t remember the voices of the people themselves until my inner critic is coming at me. I viewed myself as a failure for many years, even believing that God saw me as such. After all, what all-knowing God could love a human who thought such impure thoughts and was so selfish? In other words, I took what I had heard and told myself and didn’t believe it even if I was presented with evidence to counter these thoughts.

I must have glossed over the sermons where God loves me despite my flaws and the fact that I do come up short all the time. That is the Great Constant, and I didn’t realize it was there until I was 21. It was then that I started to learn that failure wasn’t defeat because that love is constant and unwavering. Backed with that new knowledge, I began to see myself in a different light, and I began to learn that forgiving myself isn’t just an aspect of self care. It is essential for me to progress.

Remember that description of swallowing that hot coal? Imagine what that would do! You would be severely injured and it is likely you would die. But what if you buried that hot coal?

This is the hard part, at least for me, and there are plenty of days where I can’t do what I’m about to describe. A person’s experiences are valid, and ours are no exception. Sometimes this takes time.

On an ideal day, the first step is recognizing that what I did was a mistake. I may have done something really bad, but the first thing I try to do is realize that nine times out of ten I haven’t done something so wrong that I can’t come back from it. Second, I make amends if it is a person I have harmed or wronged. If I find myself beating myself up over my mistake a few hours afterward after having done this, it usually means I haven’t done step three, planning how I can do better the next time I come across an opportunity to do the same thing. Step three may be the most comforting in many situations because it helps me realize that this isn’t the end and I shouldn’t beat the shit out of myself if I have a plan for the future. Odds are, this is a small mistake that the other person won’t remember the next day unless they are reminded of it.

It’s normal to have crap days. It’s normal to be clumsy. It’s normal to mess up. It’s how you choose to handle it that determines how you’ll progress in my experience.

It can be very hard for some to forgive themselves, and I don’t want you to take this as another opportunity to kick the shit out of yourself if this is something you experience. This takes time and will not happen overnight. With small moves it will get better, though. It takes work and I’m still working on it.

Before I leave you, I have promised myself that I will write down ten things I am thankful for today.

Here they are:

  1. My husband and his patience
  2. This laptop where I can write
  3. This blog and the outlet it provides
  4. Alex, Berri, Stephen, Athena, and Esme, my instruments
  5. This quiet basement
  6. “Take On Me” by A-ha, which I am writing to
  7. That I am awake right now
  8. That we actually have bagels with cream cheese at this moment in time
  9. That I know how to write and have had this gift fostered my whole life
  10. My hair, which is growing
  11. Chadwick, my lizard baby
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The Universe I’m Helpless In

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Hello, all! This song is in my ears as I write this post. I love this song and it fits the vibe I’m going for perfectly. It’s called “Venus” and it’s by Sleeping At Last. One of the commenters on this video put it perfectly:

Everyone else [is] talking about how they want somebody to sing this song to them, but I want to find the person who I will want to sing this to.

CuriousAuthor, Youtube

I discovered it after having a dream about a prince.

This dream took place in October of 2017, nearly a year to the day before I married my husband. In this dream, I was a noblewoman trapped in my room at the hands of my evil guardian. I was given an assistant, an imp named Rose Red, for company, and she was important.

There was a prince who was determined to court me, and I cruelly rebuffed him every time he climbed up to my window. Finally, Rose Red grew fed up with my stubbornness and insisted that I gave him a chance. I caved in and listened, and we fell in love.

I woke the following day to find that I couldn’t shake the dream from my mind, and I thought about it all day. I went to an Al-Anon meeting (more about Al-Anon here) and sat in the car in my yard after it, pondering the dream deeply.

My thoughts were answered in a profound way. A thought that didn’t come from me whispered, “He is out there. Keep working on yourself and he will find you.” It hit me like a tidal wave. I became deeply involved in my spirituality for a time, and that was when I discovered “Venus”, which struck me as a thing my prince would sing to me. In November, my prince appeared. I didn’t know it yet, but come December, I received a follow up impression as I was juggling five crushes at once, confused as hell, referring to them all as Players 1-5. “THE FINAL PLAYER HAS ENTERED THE GAME,” the impression said in a very caps-lock-esque tone. It was like I had placed a phone call and someone picked up on the other line or activated a glow stick. I knew then that the prince was close. It turned out to be my husband. He swept me off my feet, and we were married the following October.

It’s strange how the universe brings me what I need exactly when I need it. It’s a testament to how deeply I am loved. I also find that loving my husband is like the commenter said, not being sung to, but trying to sing to my beloved. And the best songs are when we sing together.

It’s stranger how I knew he was coming, in way. This is an important detail because I was deeply connected at that time and listened. It takes a hefty dose of caffeine to get that much in tune, and I’m fairly certain I had at least 2 shots of espresso and a cold brew AND an Earl Grey lemonade in me at that point. I was vibrating and about to teleport, basically. The caffeine is important to me because it gets my mind tuned to the right frequency, so to speak. I’m thankful for that.

A question remains – how do I remain in tune?

I know part of it is having faith in myself and faith that I am not given more than I can handle (more about that in this post). I find that worry, anger, and fear cloud my spiritual senses. As Frank Herbert wrote in Dune, fear is the mind killer. I think that’s important. I was talking to my friend about starting projects and she asked if I knew why I was hesitant about my projects. We arrived at the same conclusion – I am afraid to start. What would I do if I weren’t afraid of failure? I know I would make a lot of messes, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t be afraid of cleaning them up. I would not lack fear, I would cope with it and manage it, asking it what it needed. I would trust in God and the universe more. I would trust people who matter more. I would not fear making mistakes or failure as much as I do. Failure isn’t a permanent defeat. This thought has kept me going since I thought it; I don’t dwell on death anymore. I don’t fear life anymore and I actually enjoy living nowadays even though it hurts sometimes. I would not shy away from my own worthiness and good destiny. I must remember that I am helpless in the universe in the best way and I trust it.

We are given only what we can handle because God and the universe love us with an infinite love. We are given what we can handle to stimulate us and help us grow, but they don’t leave us stranded. We are also given what we need in the time we need it! I’ve said this before, but my husband is an example of this and so is my lizard baby, Chadwick. We are given a seat at the universe’s table.

I have been doing a lot of reading about affirmations and intentions, so I will leave you with both an affirmation and an intention.

Affirmation: I am a being of great spiritual power. I am capable of doing great things.

Intention: Opportunities to do good are heading my way. The universe is kind and sending me what I need. What I seek is also seeking me.

Love,

MJ

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I Win Or I Learn

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Hello, all!

Sometimes the universe grants me joy in providing me something or someone to care for. I was given one such opportunity two days ago.

This is Chadwick.

He’s our itty bitty bearded dragon baby.

He is the most inquisitive baby I have ever seen and he is so precious while he is at it! My husband and I have wanted a bearded dragon of our very own for awhile now, and so we got Chadwick on 1 June after I pulled the birthday gift card. My birthday is on 16 June, so it’s a bit early, but he is my second best birthday gift.

My actual best birthday gift was given to me last year on 16 June proper. My husband proposed to me on my birthday and I said yes! Because of that choice, we are where we are today and I think we’re both better for it.

This is a special time for me as I look back on my 21st year and what all I have learned and done from last year to this one. It is becoming apparent that I am probably the luckiest human I know. I am living my dream here in Alaska, with the man of my dreams (more on that next post), a beautiful reptile baby, doing what I love. I am a happy human.

If I’m honest, I’ve kicked and screamed my way here. I’m a fighter who fights the wrong things. I’m stubborn and reckless and impatient. I am blessed and grateful beyond measure by and for a patient husband and patient friends and family who refuse to give up on me. I continually seem to be surrounded by those more patient than I am. It’s been a winding path getting here and I have waged many useless wars on myself and on others. And as I have said before, the universe and God have placed things in my path to care for and learn from.

I was talking to a friend of mine about this very thing and she said that we aren’t given anything we can’t handle. It was interesting to hear it from the mouth of a friend, for I had read about it before. It was a good confirmation for me, and we talked about it for a bit. To me, this is proof that I am known and loved by the divine. I have seen enough of it in my life to believe it for myself. If we weren’t loved, trials and lessons would be sent to us to destroy us, not help us grow. I imagine it like being a rock put in a tumbler with a bunch of other rocks and tumbled over and over for weeks. This rock would start off ragged and raw and come out smooth due to contact with other rocks. Without contact with these other “rocks”, hardships, experiences both good and bad, mistakes made, I would not be where I am today.

I see all over Pinterest the phrase “I win or I learn.” It pops up in a lot of the motivational quotes in my feed, and I think it’s a thing I need to learn, think, and write on. I see life in terms of winning and losing most of the time, and that’s not where my head should be at. I have written here before that failure isn’t a permanent defeat, it only is if you give up. The fruit of failure is experience, oftentimes valuable experience. I take my experiences with failure and try to apply them properly, but sometimes one failure can make me afraid to try again. Here’s a story of when I took my experiences a little too far.

I was in Idaho school. I had trust issues and enough baggage to fill an entire apartment complex, and the lesson I had to learn at the time was trust. I was afraid to try again after a series of failed relationships and friendships, leaving me with the sour taste of “people always leave” in my mouth. My friends went about trying to change that way of thinking. I remember talking to one of my friends about predicting the end of a situation before anything had happened with it based entirely off of past experience and my friend shot that down quickly. “Meg,” he said, “You can’t assume everyone is like the people who hurt you. Quit using the precedent set by the past to assume the outcome of the future.”

That struck me. Perhaps I had learned the lesson of distrust a bit too much. My friends continued to prove their trustworthiness, and a year and some later, I found someone whom I can trust for the rest of my life, and I married him. I had been seeking him for years without knowing it, and we found each other again. What I sought was also seeking me, and we found each other when both of us were able to be vulnerable with each other. When we both were ready, we found each other. Overcoming experience can be just as important as gaining it. When I stopped assuming that he was inevitably going to hurt me, things changed.

I learned, and in the process I won. So perhaps I would alter that statement – I win because I learn. It’s rare for raw talent to get me to any kind of finish line, and without any kind of learning, drive, or innovation, I stagnate. I win because I learn to adapt, because I learn to overcome challenges, because I learn to persevere. The list goes on. All of these are wins.

These lessons are placed in my path by a loving God and universe. Chadwick will surely present lessons, just as marriage has. Marriage is a lesson I would not trade for anything. So even though I have come here kicking and screaming, I am here. I am alive. I am a student of the universe and of life. I am thankful for all of you!

Love,

MJ

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