Forgiveness is a strange thing, an untouchable, invisible idea. And yet, it is something that we all seek out at least once in our lives.
The things we seek forgiveness for can vary, and the source from which we seek it can be vary just as much. Whether it be forgiveness from family, forgiveness from God(I've had some personal experience with that), or forgiveness from that kid we pushed on the ground at recess during the third grade.
I am not writing to talk about gaining forgiveness from others, however. That's easy. You just go up and say you're sorry and it's over with, whether they forgive you or not is up to them. No, I'm writing about something much deeper and harder to achieve.
When we make a mistake, we all do, there is no bother denying it, our immediate reaction is usually one of two things. The first being to confess to whoever we have wronged(if necessary) and face the consequences of our actions as a result. Or there's option two, which is to cover the whole thing up, run a mile away and pretend like nothing ever happened.
Now I have had experience with both scenarios, some serious, others not so much. And in both cases, there is one similarity that I have discovered. And that is, whether we decide to face the music or not, is that at some point you must forgive yourself. Even if the other party will not forgive you or you decide to hide, and your crimes remain in a dark corner and never see the light of day.
Whichever you choose, be it honesty or otherwise, there comes a point where you must leave the past in the past and move on.
Well, what if in the case of addiction (another thing I've had experience with)? You may ask. When the past won't stay in the past but continues to follow you to the present and haunt you there. In that case, I can only advise you to keep going and try to be better next time, seeking help from your friends and family to help you overcome it if you can.
But I digress, there's still the whole reason I wrote this essay.
Not forgiveness from others, but forgiveness for yourself and yourself alone. The kind of forgiveness that, if you think about it, is the only kind of forgiveness you need. Honestly, you need that forgiveness to live, both literally and figuratively. Because if you don't forgive yourself it will drag you down so far you'll start to question whether life is worth living anymore.
I can testify to this personally; I've been through it myself. There was a time I made mistakes, mistakes that affected only myself. I had made decisions I wished I hadn't made, done things I would've taken back in an instant. Outwardly, I had a smile on my face, I appeared happy to other but on the inside I was dead. Being ripped and torn apart because I simply couldn't find it in me to forgive myself for what I had done.
As I write this I still struggle with the after effects of my poor decisions. The difference between then and now is different, because I've gone down the road of trying to forgive myself. I haven't gotten there just yet, but I'm getting there. As a result, I'm lighter in heart and soul, I feel joy again. All because I decided to make a single, simple choice.
To forgive myself.
I still have struggles; I still have times when I'm down and I drift back into that dark place. We all have those times, but it is so much easier when one forgives their own mistakes.
Hobbies, friends, family, the key to finding joy is in the simple things of life. These help and ar what make life worth living, and the feeling of joy possible. So remember to go out, try to have fun and keep going even when you fall.
Most of all, remember to forgive. Forgive your friends, your family, even your enemies. And of course, remember to forgive yourself. Because that's the most important kind of forgiveness you'll ever need.