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On self-forgiveness

Thursday, March 08, 2012

It's always been easy for me to fall into the trap of beating myself up over mistakes or perceived failures.

This past week, I could certainly have had a field day on that front: while cleaning out a file folder, I discovered a written order from my family doctor dated *early 2009* for me to have a Fasting Blood Glucose Test.

At that point, I was deep in a depression, and self-care is the first thing that disintegrates when my brain chemistry is messed up. So I didn't get around to doing the test. Eventually it slipped my mind completely.

And then what with one thing and another, I haven't been back to see my family doc since then. I see a couple of specialists, including a GP psychotherapist every 2 weeks, so it's not as if I haven't had medical care. Just not an annual physical (or any other reason to see her).

When I looked at that requisition form and realized that if I'd done the test then, I'd probably have been diagnosed (at least with pre-diabetes) 3 years ago--and therefore would have been able to do something about it sooner, which could only have been a Good Thing--my knee-jerk reaction was to be mad at myself.


Then I remembered hearing a profound quote on a TV talk show not long ago: "Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having a better past."

And it occurred to me that I could adapt it thusly: "SELF-forgiveness is giving up all hope of having DONE better in the past." I did what I did. In fact, I did what I could with the energy I had at the time, given the ghastly months-long depression I was in the middle of. I can't go back and undo it.

A far more productive use of my energy is to focus on what I can do differently *now* and in the future, and to set about doing it, one baby step at a time.

Or, in the words of another favourite quote: "Bloom where I'm planted."

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Maybe the lesson here is to make a list or something so that when you come out of a depressive episode, you don't let things like this just slip away...
    3274 days ago
    I'm in love with that quote! Thanks for posting this!
    3275 days ago
    Sounds wise to me! We can LEARN FROM our past failures, but no sense wallowing in regret & self-blame.

    3275 days ago
    I think that is one of the hardest things to do is to forgive oneself!
    3275 days ago
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