Learn to Forgive Yourself


Beata Abramek, Staff Writer

Many of us have been told that we are not supposed to put the blame for our own shortcomings or failures on someone else. Although making excuses to others is not the solution, why are we not thinking honestly about why we may have failed at something? Today’s culture is so focused on getting work done that it can be hard to take pause and reflect on the actual circumstances in our lives. I refute the statement that we must put all of the blame on ourselves for our failures, and instead welcome the fact that we need to be aware of our circumstances and feelings regarding those failures.

Current issues should be a call for attention that something is deeply wrong at the root of our society. In the past few years, the suicide rate has increased, anxiety rates have increased, and the pressures of the digital age are running rampant. Today, it is difficult not to think of all that we are responsible for. Many of us are in college with at least some financial support from parents, but even if we are independent, the amount of money we invest into education itself increases the pressure to do well academically. We are tricked into thinking that success is more important than our well-being. If you have a moment, please take this time to remind yourself that your lifeline and your mental health is the priority.

You may be asking, “But what if I don’t do as well on my exam or get a great job after I am done with college? What will my parents and friends think of me?” Instead, ask yourself the question, “If I constantly feel under pressure, am I enjoying the day as it is in the present?” Pressures tend to continue throughout our whole lives, but if we do not identify and try to deal with those emotions in a healthy way early on, we may set ourselves up for a constant chase towards happiness that only ever briefly gets met. We may chase things, thinking that they can fix problems. These can include more money, more fame, and more relationships; but if we use those means to gain happiness, we are like a pitcher of water with a leak on the bottom.

Of course, it is good to budget and try to plan for our futures, but obsessing over it can hinder you from truly living a life you enjoy. All of the external and internal pressures can increase tension, but stuffing that tension down will not help. In order to release some things that may be affecting your joy now, I would just like to list some things that may have affected your past or present: genetics, trauma, bullying, a toxic family environment or toxic relationship, abuse, the wrong crowd, etc. If you realize that you need help dealing with such problems, try to find some support. Whether it is a family member, friend, counselor, online hotline, or elsewhere, it is good to get help. No one is meant to go through life alone. If you cannot find that support, keep trying. If it is difficult for you to find anyone that can help at the moment, try to look for credible sources online and start a journal for reflection if you do not have one already.

Once we are able to heal and forgive, we will not need to chase as much. We can be positive in the circumstances we are in, and actually have the capacity and strength to persevere when life throws curveballs. Friendships, relationships, and loving memories with others will make sense again. At the end of the day, how we feel about ourselves matters. If we are unable to forgive ourselves or the circumstances and people around us, then it will cause our thoughts to be stuck in the past or on the future, rather than freely living in the present. We can overcome anything that has happened, so do not lose hope. Your life can get better, and your past does not define you. No feeling lasts forever and better is yet to come.