• The Hopefulist

Time to forgive yourself

When we think about toxicity we typically think of things that are outside or us. Toxic people, toxic situations, things we invite into our lives like social media. But what about your own thoughts everyday? Are the things you saying to yourself on a daily basis toxic as well?

We have all done some things we aren't proud of at one time or another but have we let ourselves off the hook for it as yet? Is there something that you are punishing yourself over because you haven't been able to forgive yourself? Do you think of yourself as a horrible person because of this thing?

It's time to let yourself off the hook. It's time to realize that when you know better you do better as state by Maya Angelou. We have ALL done things we wish we hadn't at some point. But beating yourself up over for years at a time is helping no one. It's not going to change the situation or what happened. It's not helping the person you may have wronged. It's certainly not helping yourself to move on to do better and live a life that you truly deserve.

I have done things that I'm not proud of in my life. I have been forgiven by those I transgressed against but I won't let myself off the hook. I have this guilty conscious that stays with me forever. I still think about little things that happened to decades ago and it's completely ridiculous. I used to work at an ice cream shop at a mall. One time a man came up at two minutes after our closing time and asked if it was too late to get an ice cream cone. I said; 'yes, it is. Sorry.' He said okay and walked away. I thought to myself...you bitch. You totally could have served him a cone. He looked so disappointed and I still think about this 30-some years later. How many times do you think he's thought about that moment again? Never is my guess. Yet, I'm still beating myself up over it because as soon as I did it I felt like I let someone down when I didn't have to. I'm still holding myself accountable for something I did when I was 20 years old! This is sort of a ridiculous example but is there something similar that you keep coming back to that you are berating yourself over? Whatever it is it's time to let it go. You did what you did and you can't change it. All you can do is better next time.

Even if it's something that you consider major. It's time to learn from it and forgive yourself. Maybe you cheated on a test. Or you lied to get a job. Or you had a crush on your best friends spouse. Remember that you are human and we all make mistakes. All of us. Every single person on earth has made mistakes and done things we aren't proud of. Vow to learn from it and do better going forward but let yourself off the hook. It's okay. You are allowed to make mistakes. You are supposed to make mistakes. Stop beating yourself up.

Or maybe it's something you are doing over and over again. Maybe you are trying to lose weight yet you can't stick to the eating regimen you have set up. So every time you eat something you shouldn't you shame yourself, berate yourself and call yourself names like loser, failure, fatty or anything that keeps you mired in self doubt and misery.

So here's the thing. We all have habits and patterns that we have been stuck in for decades and it's extremely difficult to break these cycles that we all tend to get stuck in. If you have been using food for comfort for the last 40 years you won't be able to suddenly stop one day and never fall back into that pattern. It's about baby steps. Making constant small steps that change your behavior over time. One of my favorite examples is when I was a kid and a snowstorm was coming we would go to the store and stock up on junk. We got chips, ice cream, donuts...you name it we grabbed it. And we literally ate our way through the storm. Keeping in mind that I grew up in a diet household. My mom was always on a diet. There was never any junk food in the house. So these storms were literal food fests and we all looked forward to them.

Jump ahead 20 years when I'm living on my own and see a storm is on the way I automatically want to go stock up on junk food. And I did at first. Then I told myself that it was ridiculous. This was a pattern that needed to be broken. So I stopped stocking up. Those first couple of snowstorms I'm sure I went through my house and ate anything I could get my hands on just because that is what I'm used to but over time I calmed down and it became just like any other day. Don't get me wrong. I still love a steaming cup of hot chocolate while watching the snow fall. Or making sure I have a good hearty soup or maybe a stick to your ribs comfort food like meatloaf for dinner. But what I don't do anymore is run to the store and buy bags of chip, boxes of cookies and gallons of ice cream. But it took time to change and it didn't happen overnight. Mostly you have to become aware of your patterns in order to change them. And that is usually the hard part.

You can change anything in your life but you have to have reasonable expectations. Nothing will change overnight without some sort of yearning or falling back into old patterns at some point. That's all okay. There were many storms I sat through where I craved the chips and ice cream and raided my pantry to eat every cracker or went through bowls and bowls of cereal. But it was still better than the chips, donuts and ice cream. And eventually I stopped wanted to eat my way through storms. It became just another day. But it took a long time and I had to fight off a lot of urges for many years because snowstorms = junk food was ingrained in my brain for so many years.

So stop being so darn hard on yourself. You are doing the best you can. And if you don't think you are, then step things up. Examine the patterns that may be holding you back and see how you can start to change them. How to lessen them and then eliminate them. But be patient. All good things take time. I'll go back to my new favorite saying...don't rush things you want to last forever. It's time to forgive yourself. You are only human.

If you liked today's episode please leave me a review. Even if you already have please leave another one. It really helps get the podcast out to more people. And like or follow this podcast if you haven't already.

Now go on out there this week and be badass. I know you can do it. And I'm always here cheering you on.

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