I don’t know about you, but I am not good at giving myself a break. I’ve had very demanding people in my life. Teachers, coaches, and even more personal influences. I have let people down at times. I have made mistakes. But the hardest person to win over has always been myself.
I absolutely cannot deal with letting people down. Don’t misunderstand. I came to grips years ago that you can’t please everyone. And that’s okay. Not everyone’s opinions matter. But throughout my life, there have been people who have held a more significant role, and whose approval has been very important to me.
I found myself recently in a circumstance where I really felt like I let someone down. On the surface, it wasn’t anything big. But the circumstance caused someone important to me to think back on difficulties from their past that were unpleasant, to say the least. Though it was completely accidental, I felt so horrible. It wasn’t long before I was being assured that it wasn’t my fault, and that all was well. However, I absolutely can’t stand even inadvertently letting loved ones down.
I know it’s good to hold yourself to a higher standard. It keeps me humble. It keeps me driven to good things. But I also know that I sometimes can be unfair to myself. When I asked for forgiveness, I was repeatedly and lovingly told it was unnecessary. But I still needed to be released through their forgiveness. I was.
However, I still hadn’t released myself.
I’m so thankful for having people in my life who are mature, patient and encouraging. Earlier in life, I had been in situations in which any mistake, any “failure” was met with zero tolerance. To some degree, a pretty significant degree, I think, I still fear living with that monkey on my back. But I’m blessed to have a more positive influence in my life that is trying to help me live in grace. I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to get past that paralyzing fear of losing what is most dear to me when I come up short. I still have to learn that by simply not giving up, by pressing on, my greatest fears don’t have to happen just because I’m imperfect.
Wow, you have no idea how huge it is for me to even write these words. I’m pretty sure by even doing so, I’ll probably find myself in need of reminding myself of these very words in very short order. But that’s okay. Accountability is a good thing when you have people in your life who love you despite your imperfections.
Forgiving others is easy. Forgiving myself, a challenge.