Love Yourself, Accept Yourself, Forgive Yourself.

Love Yourself, Accept Yourself, Forgive Yourself.

Give yourself the gift of forgiveness by acknowledging that you, too, are human.
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Forgiveness is one of the most difficult tasks in the world. It takes a great deal of strength to willingly let go of the pain when someone has hurt you for a second chance at something better. You let go of the pain in the hopes that something better will arise from another try. I've spent years trying to forgive others.

I forgive the individuals who tried to put me down in life.

I forgive the people who set me back on purpose with the intent to further their success.

I forgive those who have broken my heart.

Those who have made me cry,

Made me angry.

Left me behind.

I forgive others for the things that have done to me in the hopes of expelling negativity from my life, with the understanding that they are humans and humans make mistakes.

Forgiving others gave me strength and taught me resilience. Forgiving others fostered a sense of compassion and kindness within my soul. Yet no matter how much I forgave the people around me, I was left with an inexplicable feeling of injustice and frustration. I felt confused, angry, lost, and stuck. Then, one day, it hit me. I forgave others for the mistakes they made towards me, but I was unable to comprehend how I let their mistakes impact me.

They hurt me, but I should have been stronger. I should have been more careful, more assertive, less sensitive, less impacted by their actions. I controlled the way that I felt and reacted, so how did I allow other people to have the ability to hurt me? I learned to forgive others all while harboring feelings of guilt and resentment towards myself.

I forgave others, but I never forgave myself for letting them hurt me.

We tell our friends and family to not be so hard on themselves when they face difficult situations, yet struggle with personalizing that advice towards our own situations. Why do we torture ourselves with the notion that we are not deserving of forgiveness?

Forgiving yourself doesn't free you from the consequences of your decisions. Rather than blaming yourself for a situation and falling into a cycle of self-loathing and guilt, you accept your failure and work resourcefully to improve your situation. Everyone fails. Yet we become so blinded by our fear of failure that we forget that success arises from the lessons learned through failure. We must embrace our failures as opportunities for growth and future success.

Accept your reality. Accept yourself. Recognize your current situation and accept who you are in that moment. Self-acceptance is the first and most crucial step of forgiving yourself. Stop blaming yourself. Not everything in life has a reason; not every situation is in your control. Life isn't fair. Sometimes there is no one to blame for a situation; that doesn't mean you should blame yourself.

Liberate yourself from the bonds of blame by understanding that sometimes things aren't O.K. and that itself is okay. Be good to yourself. Value yourself and recognize the worth that you possess. Love yourself--even the broken and damaged pieces of the person you are. The most important thing at the end of the day is how you treat yourself.

I forgave myself. I let go of the mistakes of my past with the recognition that they taught me lessons on how to be a better person today.

I forgive myself for my mistakes.

I forgive myself for the hurt I have caused others.

I forgive myself for letting other people influence the way I felt about myself.

I forgive myself for believing everything was in my control.

I forgive myself for not being perfect.

Forgiveness is the greatest gift I have ever given myself. We all deserve the forgiveness we are so willing to bestow on others. Give yourself the gift of acknowledging that you, too, are human.

We're all successes in progress.

Cover Image Credit: MariaShriver.com

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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If Your Shorts From Last Summer Don't Fit This Spring, Don't Panic Just Yet

Sometimes sucking it in doesn't even cut it.

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We've all been there — you put on a pair of shorts that fit you like a glove last year and they just don't fit the way you remembered. This feeling sucks, but there are plenty of solutions for when your favorite pieces can't quite fit over the love handles.

First off, there's nothing to be ashamed of! It's normal for people to pack on a few extra pounds during the cold months due to lack of outdoor activity, holidays, and overall laziness. Usually, people lose a little extra weight in the summer months by being outside and sweating and eating fresher and healthier foods. So who knows, by the time summer is in full swing, they may fit again!

The obvious answer would be to work out, but I understand that's not for everyone. For those who are looking into getting back into shape for bikini season, a good mix of cardio and lifting three to five days a week will help tone and slim that body down in no time! Make sure that if you start exercising, eat enough nutrients! Some people tend to think if they eat less and work out, it'll help you lose more weight, and yes this is true, but you'll also be losing muscle mass in the long run and this can be detrimental to your health. Getting sufficient nutrients is vital to making sure your body is functioning properly!

For those of you who don't necessarily want to do any formal exercise, eat healthier and go on walks! It's amazing what adding a walk into your day will do for your body! Not only will it help your heart health, but it will tone your legs and help shed some extra pounds. Eating healthy is also pivotal to getting rid of unwanted fat. Diet fads are definitely no way to go. It's not about eating less necessarily but eating what's good for you. Everyone's bodies are different and it will take some figuring out to find what works for you. There are plenty of yummy fruits and veggies in season in the summer, and there's plenty of opportunities to grill out and make some healthy options! Take advantage of this! Whether you're grilling low carb meats and fish or throwing on some veggies for a side dish, grilling is a great way to make healthy meals for you and your family!

For those of you who are fine with the little extra weight you've gained, buy new clothes! Picking out and trying on new clothes can be very fun, but also expensive. If it's not in the budget to head to your favorite retailer and pick out a new pair, head to a thrift store! There are plenty of second-hand options that are not only affordable and cute but environmentally sustainable as well! The fashion industry creates so much unnecessary waste year after year, and you can help cut down by buying second-hand.

With all of this being said, love your body! There are so many different shapes and sizes in the world, and not one person is the same as another, so be proud of what you look like! Whether you're a size XS or a size XXL, everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin. If you're not comfortable with what you look like and wish you could change it, do it! The great thing about our bodies is they're so easy to make changes to. Whatever the case, the weather is warming up and it's almost time to trade those sweats for some shorts and bathing suits!

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