Hard Time Forgiving and Damaged Self Esteem

>> Thursday, August 19, 2010

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness
(1 John 1:9)

I'm not perfect.  Lord KNOWS I'm not perfect.  I made a lot of mistakes in my life.  Big, HUGE mistakes that have hurt and disappointed people that I love.

Those people have forgiven me and still love me.  And according to John 1:9, even God has forgiven me.  But here's the problem.....

I can't forgive myself.

I have such a hard time knowing that I've disappointed my parents, my husband, and my friends with my mistakes and that I hurt them so deeply.  I've been carrying this with me for so, so long.

And I think that ties in to my quest for perfection and the need I have to keep going and going and going.  I'm in this never-ending race to achieve perfection so that they will see that I am worth something, that I'm not worthless and unloveable.  (When in reality, they really don't see me that way, but it's the way I perceive myself and their thoughts.)  But the quest never ends because it doesn't matter whether I do something great, I still see failure in it.  It's not good enough, I need to try harder.  The bar keeps getting set higher and higher and it's a goal that will NEVER be achieved.

I can't accept forgiveness from myself just like I can't accept compliments -- from anyone.  I'm so uncomfortable with it.  Someone says - "Oh you're so incredibly talented with your crafts, you should sell them" and I'll give a negative response.  Or "Oh, you're such a good mom" and I tell myself that I've got everyone fooled.  It's a deep need within me to please - if I do something right then you'll love me, then you'll forgive me.

My good friend, Cindy came over and spent some time with me last night.  Our husbands are in the same unit and were gone last night, so we got together, shared a bottle of wine, cheese, and some really good girlfriend therapy.

We shared a lot with each other last night and I think she was very surprised to know that I have these deep dark issues.  I joked with her that I should make an appointment to see her sister (who is a psychiatrist) and she laughed and said, "Honey, you don't need drugs -- you need a good shot of some positive self-esteem."  She encouraged me to start my gratitude journal again and to start and end my day with one positive affirmation about myself.  She initially suggested five, but I laughed and told her that I have a hard time coming up with five things and that one was probably all I could handle for now.  (I always hated those stupid questionnaires -- list five positive things about yourself.  I could never do it.....)

I've read the Bible verses and know that God loves and forgives, no matter what.  But I cannot wrap my little warped brain around that fact and accept that I AM worthy of God's love and forgiveness.

But after last night, I got online this morning and saw the verse above along with this on my Facebook page -
"God does not hold grudges. He loves you, as He is your Heavenly Father, He will not turn His back on you."

Talk about getting a sign when I needed it the most..............

Now I'm off to go look in the mirror and tell my reflection that I forgive myself.......


the thrifty ba August 19, 2010 at 8:21 AM  

been there.
forgive yourself, you will feel a million times better!

Erin August 19, 2010 at 9:08 AM  

I've been there, too. During a particularly "perfection" oriented time in my life, I was talking this over with a friend. She shared something that someone had once told her: "If you don't forgive yourself, you aren't trusting in Christ. If you can't let go of your past after you've done all you can, you're not believing him." And of course, that's the hard part. But that's the great part. What we are capable of doesn't matter. It's how we tried to do the right things, make amends, and the fact that we turned to Him and we trust that he makes up the difference. That thought always gets my mind working in the right direction. Thanks for sharing. :)

Sara August 19, 2010 at 11:57 AM  

Jen - I have been exactly where you are and I'll I can offer are a few things - first I went up for a prayer a few months ago at my bible study because I was having huge anxiety attacks (basically from taking on WAY too much). One thing they said during prayer over me was to have God help me carry only my yoke and to recognize what those tasks are and are not. It really hit me deep - I have the hardest time saying no and like most moms we all want to give the world and more to our children - we say yes to everything and then attempt to throw more and more on until our heads are spinning and our purpose not easily defined. I still have to ask for guidance on my way - but it has helped to really sit down and ask Him - what is mine and what is not mine to carry? Ask for help of Him too - I was trying to fix everything myself - which got me nowhere other than being a hamster spinning endlessly in a wheel - give it over, trust in that! (I will whole-heartedly admit I still am working through this what is mine / what is not conversation). :-)

As far as forgiveness - this has been a HUGE struggle as well. All I can say is that for me personally I never really forgave myself until I let myself feel the things I held onto from my past and actually say them out loud. I carried them, but I carried them deep and never let them come up - to face them and let them go. The night I did that I cried SO hard - but honestly after that I felt relief and the mending of forgiveness and love.

Sorry this is so long - hopefully it helps a bit.

Bree August 19, 2010 at 3:54 PM  

Good reminder to claim that awesomeness created within...God doesn't like it when we talk bad about His kids, ourselves :).. We can't change yesterday but only the now in which we live. Hang in there--we all go and can grow thru it!

Jessica @ Barefoot by the Sea August 19, 2010 at 6:06 PM  

Thinking of you, stay positive and love how you open up via your blog - it's a tough thing to do!


Design It Chic August 20, 2010 at 2:01 AM  

I am following you thanks to Friendly Friday!It would be nice if you could share the love back on my blog!
Also we have the coolest blog-hop there is... no rules just fun and would love you to join in:) Oh and if you need any blog help or easy HTML tips, you know where to come! Happy Friday!

Jeanette August 20, 2010 at 7:47 AM  

Following you now from http://whatifedmyfamilytoday.blogspot.com/
Hope you'll follow me back :)


Daisygirl August 20, 2010 at 8:54 AM  

beautiful post girl! Seriously needed to read this today!

Happy Friday I am now following you back from Chickadee follow.

Kerri August 20, 2010 at 12:34 PM  

I am following you! I found you through Fun Follow Friday!! I hope you follow me back! :)

Melanie August 20, 2010 at 5:10 PM  

Forgiveness is a very difficult topic. What a blessing to have a wonderful friend to be truthful and supportive.

Followed you from FFF. Would love to have you follow back. I have 2 giveaways going now with low entries. Would love to have you enter!


Erica K August 20, 2010 at 8:00 PM  

thanks for stopping by my blog AND for this post!!! It's open and honest and has me looking at my own life. I will be saying a prayer for you tonight, peace be with you.

Tiffany August 20, 2010 at 8:19 PM  

Thank you for visiting my blog through Friday Follow. I can relate to this post in some ways. It is hard to accept compliments when you don't feel like yo deserve them. I went through that and still struggle with it. I still think of myself as that same person who did wrongs but who am I kidding but myself.
Glad to see that you're overcoming this and putting this is God's hands. He knows our heart and he is the ultimate one that we are pleasing.

Helene August 21, 2010 at 12:11 AM  

You know, your deep posts always seem to strike a chord with me. We are so alike in so many ways and I'm glad that you share your innermost thoughts with us, your readers, because it makes me realize I'm normal.

I never felt good enough either...still don't. That's why I'm such a type-A perfectionist who strives to make everyone happy, but herself, of course. If someone's happy, I feel it says something horrible about me. That somehow I caused them to be unhappy just by being in their life.

It's so hard to describe but I know you know what I'm talking about. Now, we just need to learn love ourselves the way everyone else does!

Sometimes it's hard (and uncomfortable) to let go of what comes natural to us but God does love us, no matter what.

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