Forgive Yourself

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Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.

-Maya Angelou

 

It’s that time of year again…Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, when Jews all over the world fast and atone for their sins. They spend all day at Synagogue, asking God for forgiveness and go to their friends and loved ones, asking for their forgiveness.

 

While I think it is important and necessary to acknowledge how we may have hurt others, I think we far too often think about how we have hurt ourselves with negative and shaming self-talk. Somehow we think we are supposed to know things before we know them, or have wisdom without experiencing the things that give us wisdom.

 

I’m convinced that most of us are doing the best we can. We’re human. We make mistakes. And life is our greatest teacher, showing us how to be more loving, more open, better listeners, more sensitive. But only life can teach us these things.

 

So, maybe—whether you are like me and spending a full day dedicated to atonement or you are not Jewish and you find yourself often asking others for forgiveness—you can direct some of that “atonement energy” toward forgiving yourself for being so hard on yourself, for expecting perfection, for not giving yourself a break.

 

And maybe, instead, fill your heart with love and light and goodness—that will enable you not only to forgive yourself, but also to forgive others.

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