I came across a quote from the “bossladiesmindset” on Instagram that read, “to the girl I was then: I forgive you.” The quote hit me like a ton of bricks and I just stared at it for several minutes. It literally felt like a gut punch because I realized that I never really forgave my old self.
You see, I have worked relentlessly to create the person I am now. The person I have BUILT over the past decade is someone that puts love first, ignores negative and judgmental opinions, holds strong to her values, serves the world with open arms and takes care of those closest to her. This person keeps a growth mindset, is able to get out of her head and make a difference for others, and is comfortable in her own skin. The old me was not who I ever want to be again. I was extremely insecure, fearful and hated myself. Literally, I hated everything about myself. I never let anyone get too close to me and fell apart every time something bad happened. I never felt worthy or deserving of anything. As I write this, I can only shake my head, because I barely remember that girl. And here’s the deal ya’ll: I never ever wanted to go back to that person so I just shut her down completely.
Some people would say that this was the right thing to do. After all, that’s how we grow. We let go of the past and treat ourselves like the future self we want to be. All the self-help books will tell you, if we keep thinking about that past self then we are never able to grow into our best self. I 100% believe that’s true. However, I think that I went so hard into the person I wanted to become, I never dealt with my old self.
Here’s what I discovered from reflecting on this quote, in order to truly become our best self we have to forgive the person that we were before. So how do we actually forgive ourselves? While, I am not there yet, I’ve done some research and here are the things I learned and hope that they serve as a starting point for you as well.
- Write yourself an apology letter – I am going to do this TODAY. I don’t know if I will ever share it with another soul, but I know it will help me work through all of that “stuff” that I never dealt with.
- Practice gratitude of your old self – I think scars are what make people strong. The happiest people I know have had some of the toughest tests in their lives. We need to thank our old selves for getting us to where we are now and making us so stronger. What’s that Kelly Clarkson quote….. “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller…..” We RISE because we once fell and we should be grateful for that old self that taught us how to rise.
- Apologize to others. I think that I’ve done this for all parties involved, but I’m going to try do it again because I’m in a much stronger headspace now and my apology will be filled with so much more purpose and meaning now.
- Take ownership of your past. I thought I had done this, but the truth is that I just avoided it. Now, I am going to start sharing more of my story with the world in hopes that I can help others that may be on the destructive and terrifying path that I was once on.
- Talk to someone. It can be a loved one, a therapist, your journal, but make sure that you’ve worked through your old self so you really can be completely free. And, once you are free, you can achieve ANYTHING!
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Even if I didn’t see it at the time, my younger self had a reason and a purpose. She is the reason that I am so damn strong today and the reason that I know there is nothing that I can’t handle. She is still a part of me and she is the reason that I love and appreciate life with every ounce of my being.
To the girl I was then- thank you. I haven’t completely forgiven you yet, but I am grateful for the person you helped me become and I am ready for forgiveness to begin.
Join me please y’all, and start forgiving your old self so that your new self can be free to light up the world.
Now, let’s go make some lemonade out of all those lemons from our past!