Friday 18 February 2011

To forgive oneself . . .

“The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect he becomes an adolescent. The day he forgives them he becomes an adult. The day he forgives himself he becomes wise.” ~ unknown

I came across this quote the other day and I immediately thought to myself, Wow! This is really thought provoking. I have struggled with self forgiveness most of my adult life. The intellectual part of me knows that there is nothing I can do about the past but the heart part of me still wants to kick myself for whatever misdeeds I feel I have done.

I think most of us are like that. I can forgive others of pretty much everything they have done to me in life, (forgetting is a little bit harder, but then again, that’s a whole nother subject) but when it comes to forgiving myself. I am a much harsher judge on me than anyone else could ever be, and as far as forgetting, well . . . I’m afraid that those things that we’d like to be able to forget, they stick with you in your mind forever.

The saddest part of not being able to forgive one’s self is that it gets in the way of our being able to live the best life possible. We can either be miserable for the rest of our lives and wallow in that misery, or we can give ourselves permission to heal, and I’m afraid it’s an on-going process and won’t happen overnight, or at least it hasn’t for me.

Forgiveness is something we have to decide to do for ourselves. Nobody else can make that decision for us. When we don’t forgive it’s like we are cloaking our eyes in a mask which distorts everything that we see and wanting everyone else around us to look through that same mask. Forgiveness is taking off the mask. Not forgiving is like carrying an anchor around our necks and trying to walk through life wearing it and allowing it to drag us down. Forgiveness is like taking the anchor off and leaving it behind, striding forward in confidence and walking away from it, lightening up and being able to enjoy your life again. It has nothing to do with worthiness, yours or anyone else’s. When it comes right down to it, we are all worthy.

We must choose to love ourselves, and I don’t mean that in the self centred, selfish “I am the be all and end all” type of way. I mean just quietly and simply accepting ourselves for who and what we are and allowing others to do the same. If we can’t love ourselves, howcan anyone else love us? If we can’t love ourselves, how can we heal? Guilt is something we use to cover up everything negative and bad. When we feel overly guilty we commit the ultimate betrayal of abandoning ourselves. Yes, we should be sorry for the things we have done, but we should learn to let it go once we have acknowledged our sorrow, or we will never be able to heal ourselves.

Part of being able to forgive yourself is understanding that we don’t have to be punished, and giving ourselves permission to let go of the pain that our misdeeds have caused us. We need to be more realistic about ourselves and the expectations we hold for ourselves. Why should we be harder on ourselves than we are on others? Ask yourself if you would be able to forgive someone else had they done the same thing, and then . . . Forgive yourself. Let it go. We cannot change the past, it’s dead and gone. We can only change the future and we do that by learning from our mistakes and taking what good we can from the past and moving forward in faith, leaving the things we know we can‘t change behind.

Forgiving yourself doesn’t mean that you should forget what you did or said that might have injured another or caused yourself distress. To forgive yourself doesn't mean you aren't responsible for what you did or said. To forgive yourself simply means you realize that you might have done something differently if you had known how. Forgiving yourself means you recognize that you didn't know how to do something differently, and to realize and accept that you have learned by your mistake. As someone once said, experience is what we get right after we need it. When we know better . . . we do better.

I’m not sure where I got this recipe from, but I do know it’s quite old. Sometimes I think these old recipes are the best ones of all. Pure and simple ingredients, easy to put together and long on flavour . . .

*Potato Pudding*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Tasty, old fashioned and it uses ingredients most people have in their larders. This is a real people pleaser.

2 cups peeled and coarsely shredded potato
1 cup peeled and coarsely shredded carrot
1 cup peeled and coarsely shredded swede (rutabaga)
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp summer savoury or marjoram
2 TBS cream
2 TBS softened butter

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Generously butter a square baking pan and set aside.

Mix the vegetables, salt, pepper, summer savoury and cream together in a bowl, mixing all together well. Spoon into the prepared baking dish and press down a bit to smooth it out. Dot the butter evenly over top.

Cover and bake in the heated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer or until golden and crusty on top. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

There's more potatoes cooking in The English Kitchen today, Baked Potato Wedges. Scrummy!

Note - If you think you have read this post before, you would be correct. It is a repost from several years ago. Some things just bear repeating though, don't you think?


  1. Marie as usual your wisdom and words are a balm to my soul. You are so astute. Thank you for your soothing words.

    Today has been quite sad and my Pip has figured that Grandad's behaviour is Alzheimer's based and not his true self. Quite a step for a 14 year old.

    God Bless.

  2. Well said! I do hope your Friday is a fantastic one!

  3. Hi, Dear Marie... How much you always inspire here! Like you, I'm one that's always been able to forgive others more easily than myself... But I'm learning. ;o) Does no good to punish one's self for long and become stagnant. Lovely potato dish today. We've got family coming over tomorrow so I've been in the kitchen a lot today! Sorry slow to visit this week--pc issues...ggrrr... but TJ will fix them this weekend. Any chance of a chat next week? Hope you, Todd & Mitzie have a wonderful weekend now--LOVE YOU LOTS ((BIG HUGS))

  4. WHat a great read today..or to be acurate last night !! as usual you are spot on in your thoughts.
    I am going to Bournemouth today Sat. till Wed. with friends from Guild on a cheap coach trip.
    Keep well till I get back. claps for our wee one and a hug to Todd.
    Love Sybil x


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