30 days of self love – forgive yourself

Posted: September 22, 2010 at 9:03 am

During the worst of my binging, I had entered into a vicious cycle of binge, guilt, punishment by restriction, starve and binge again. Even before the binging began, I had picked up pretty brutal treatment of my body in putting too much stress on it during workouts and not allowing for rest. I claimed to use it as a stress relief, but in reality I felt poorly about myself and took out those frustrations by spending hours in the gym. Even now, those days where I feel like I’m not being a good enough mom/wife/friend/writer/supporter of my family, I start to unravel at the seams and turn to fat talk and putting myself down.

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None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. Sometimes, we let those mistakes control us and hinder caring for ourselves. My senior year of college I got involved in some pretty bad behavior. I lost respect for myself. Even though I knew in my heart my actions weren’t fruitful, I continued down that path because I didn’t believe I could change and never forgave myself. At the very start of Peter & I dating, I almost sabotaged everything by believing he couldn’t love me for my past. My lack of forgiveness almost put up my old walls and boundaries to shut him out. When I shared my past, I took a defensive stance. I likely even said "now you know this about me, so go ahead and leave me”. His response took the tune of “God forgives you for all of that. I don’t care about any of it. It’s not you now and you should forgive yourself too.”

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I don’t know why I had never thought of forgiving myself before then. Perhaps because I had spent so much energy trying to forgive and get past what others had done to me? Who knows. Yet, having the power to tell myself that “it’s okay…it’s in the past…you can move forward and change for the better now” changed everything. We have no reason to punish ourselves. Consequences for our actions and decisions will always exist, but we are not the ones to determine them and harm ourselves. If something screws up one day, don’t feel the need to drown yourself in negativity. Recognize what could change and work to do your best to improve the situation from that moment forward, without punishment. Dwelling on the past and our weaknesses does absolutely nothing for our lives.

Is there anything you have trouble letting go? Are there any ways you try to “punish” yourself? Restricting food, avoiding relationships, and constantly feeding myself a poor self image are the three I have used and still feel drawn to using when I don’t allow myself to move past disappointing moments.

Check out the following posts from bloggers sharing their personal 30 DSLR messages.

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49 Comments to “30 days of self love – forgive yourself”
  1. Sometimes I still have to remind myself that carbs aren’t the bad guy. I know this, and eat a lot of carbs now, but on “fat days” I feel like carbs are to blame. Guess it’s all that time I spent believing Atkins & South Beach were the way to go :P …now I’m learning to let go of that mentality. Oh…college… ;)

    Happy Wednesday!

  2. I love how in sync we are! Great minds think alike I suppose. ;)

    “Recognize what could change and work to do your best to improve the situation from that moment forward, WITHOUT PUNISHMENT.” That line really struck me.

  3. Tina I just read Katie’s post about forgiveness– I love when that happens, when I get a similar message on another blog, it just shows that this is important!

    I need to forgive myself when I “screw up”. I tend to have that all-or-nothing, and I need to forgive myself and “hop back on the horse” instead of just giving in and wallowing in myself. I have punished myself with too much exercise, too little food, too MUCH food, talking badly to myself, etc.

    I need to treat myself like my own best friend and give myself a break sometimes!

  4. You know, I’m not a mean person. I’m not a cruel person. I don’t punish others, I don’t hold grudges. I forgive those in my life with ease because of my belief in them.

    But I can sure can be cruel to myself! That little voice in my head can be full of negativity. That voice in my head is where my thoughts of restriction and bingeing originated. It took me realizing that I deserved kindness. That I deserved for that voice to be positive. That I deserved forgiveness for all the years I thought I had wasted through living in my world of restriction and bingeing.

    So yes, forgiveness of yourself is just as important as forgiveness of others. Without forgiving yourself, we get stuck. We don’t move forward. We don’t enjoy.

    Thank you again for a wonderful post!

    • Tina says:

      I’ve always been very nice to others too but had a hard time being nice to myself too. I think when I began to think of myself as a person too and try to treat myself like I would a friend helped too. Great point!

      • How crazy is that Tina? We can be the kindest of friends to everyone in our life but refuse to be good to ourselves. How backwards we can be!!!! :)

        But the point is not how we’ve been acting but that we want to change and be a better friend to our own selves. And I think from that we can be an even more authentic and real friend to the people in our life.

  5. Lisa says:

    This really spoke to me Tina. Like you, before I started binging and feeling guilty all the time, I put my body through physical exhaustion. I would work out twice a day for a total of about 2.5 hours and I did pretty intense exercise. When I would get hungry, I would become angry at myself, not understanding that obviously expending all those calories required extra nutrition. This occured mainly my freshman and sophomore years of college. Two years of this burnt out my thyroid and caused me hypothyroidism, which caused me to put on weight.

    These days I dont struggle with compulsive exercising. But I still struggle with the binging and I know its from a lot of pain and anger I have towards myself and others. I am angry towards all those people in the past who hurt me and I’m angry at myself because of the yo-yoing I’ve put my body through. Lots of times I just want to throw my hands up and binge. Sometimes my binging is a way out of still having to struggle with the obsessive thoughts. When I binge it distracts me and prevents me from being anxious and taken over my these thoughts. I am working hard every day to forgive myself and love who I am and realize that I am capable of change and I don’t have to live my life with a battle with the scale.

    • Tina says:

      I have felt many of the same things as you. To a tee. I used binging to distract myself from further issues…which is actually a topic coming up soon. I think the biggest thing is to never forget your successes. When you’re feeling down on yourself remember a time you did get past a binge and avoid one. Or something else positive. That has helped me before. You’re strong! You can face what you’re feeling instead of eating what you’re feeling. ;)

  6. Becca says:

    I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one who struggles with punshing herself. It’s nice to know you’re not alone.
    I hold grudges against myself. I’ve often said that if “love keeps no record of wrongs” then I must not love myself very much.
    I don’t go to the extreme of EDs or anything, but there have been times where I’ve punished myself for something little (forgetting to tell someone something kind of important, etc) by skipping lunch or something. I’ll pass it off as “Oh, I’m not really hungry” when really it’s “I messed up and now I have to pay for it.”
    Something else about this post struck me. You said “fruitful.” That’s what today’s chapter of One Month To Live is about! How Christ is the Vine, and we are the branches. How God is constantly pruning us to make us bear more fruit.
    I love His timing!
    And I feel like sharing a quick soundbite from the book: “We’re all works in progress. We fail and succumb in weak moments to temptation, but we don’t need to dwell on them and certainly not wallow in them. … When you mess up, when you make a mistake, when you sin, just own it and tell Him about it.” (OMTL, pg 30)
    Thanks for the reminder! =)

  7. Beautiful post, Tina. Thank you. Keep your head up, remember that God wants you to need Him and turn to Him.

  8. [...] Um, today’s OMTL chapter fit in really well with Tina’s 30Days post. [...]

  9. This post came at perfect timing. Last night I was thinking about a job I used to hold in college. While I was passionate about it (working with kids), I had some really bad days back then. Everything the kids did would irritate me to no end and I’d become too strict. I thought that this is what my supervisor had wanted from me, but in fact, it was not. Looking back, I hate seeing myself then. Really, it was a period of depression that caused me to be so un-optimistic during that time and I took out my frustrations on others. I have a hard time forgiving myself for this – and it still haunts me. But last night, I simply said to myself, “That was not really you. You made some bad choices, but you have to forgive yourself, stop thinking about it and move on”. I pepped talked myself and immediately felt better afterwards.

  10. Steph says:

    This was an awesome post – by far one of my favorites from the series! I think the hardest part of forgivness is putting the emotion to rest – what happened in the past happened, and it is a stone that should be utilized for growth and not remorse. We can watch the ripples when we cast the stone into the water, but eventually the ripples fade and you have to move on, otherwise you leave yourself idle dwelling on the “what if” – life is better spent living.

  11. Jess says:

    Again – thank you for sharing such personal insights into your past. It’s incredible to read as it’s definitely shaped you into the fine person you are today, I must say. And to your point – I think we all sort of forget that we DO need to forgive ourselves – even just for the little things too. Like OMG I ate a chocolate chip cookie – I must torture myself for it now. No – enjoy the darn cookie and move on. Even those little things we forgive ourselves for will add up.

    • Tina says:

      I always feel compelled to share openly about everything. I think there is power in being able to relate to each other. At least people can always know I don’t sugar coat things. ;)

  12. there were so many days like this for me, but the day that i actually truly forgave myself my entire life changed. it’s been quite the journey, but there’s no more punishment for me…God already took all of it from me!

  13. I have been struggling with this one lately. I was injured from March–>July (and still somewhat recovering) and so I was unable to workout as much as I was accustomed to. Over the course of those months I have now noticed a 2 lb weight gain. WHERE did I go wrong I ask? What did I do? I can’t seem to forgive myself. In my HEAD I know it’s ONLY 2 lbs but in my inner mind I am freaking out that 2 will turn in to 4 will turn in to 6 etc. Ug. I need to forgive myself!!

  14. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for writing this.

    I went through a similar stupid time in college, when I partied hard and did things that weren’t respectful to myself. Obviously, I’ve also been through the ED and overexercise routine, and that has really messed with my head.

    But what I find interesting is the difference in our husbands’ (then, boyfriends’) reactions. I love the grace with which yours responded to you. My husband berated me for my bad choices, and made me admit that I was basically the scum of hte earth to make them. That’s all in the past now, but it was a bad, bad time for both of us. So, please give your husband a hug and a kiss tonight and tell him that he’s been a major help to you in exemplifying how to forgive.

    • Tina says:

      I have already thanked him today. I feel so incredibly lucky to have him. I told him that he doesn’t even realize how much he played a part in turning my life around for the better. I’m glad that you and your husband got past that time too. And I hope you know that you are not bad for that part of your past either. :)

      • Jennifer says:

        Thank you…I have forgiven myself and reconciled my past, and my husband has done the same. So, all is happy in Pleasantville (as it clearly is for you and your hubs). :)

  15. I really liked this post! I think that forgiving yourself is the ultimate act of compassion and self-love. I think you need to do it before you can ever truly move forward.

  16. Maren says:

    I never thought about my past as needing forgiveness, but it does. I do need to do some reflection and forgive myself for what I did, then maybe I can quit the bad practices that still happen from time to time. I need to completely move on.

  17. Kelly says:

    Girl, you are right on with these posts. It’s so easy for me to forgive other people and I often forget what they did in the first place. But when it comes to me I have a memory like an elephant and constantly try to punish myself for whatever it is that I think I did wrong. I’m trying to get much better about this.

  18. Holly says:

    This is so important – thank you for posting about this, Tina! I think so many people have an incredibly difficult time forgiving themselves when they’ve done something wrong or made a mistake. And you beat yourself up for it, which does us no good. I know after my DUI I did this, and it took me a long, long time to come to terms with what I did. And realize that it does NOT make me a bad person, and in fact it’s made me who I am and definitely more understanding/compassionate. I think this goes for all of us. We have to forgive ourselves in order to truly love ourselves!

  19. Leah says:

    Thanks for this post… I still struggle with forgiving myself… but over the past year, it has transformed, now I need to remember its ok to take a day of rest – that I don’t need to exercise everyday and OK to skip a run. It doesn’t make me bad or wrong to skip a workout. I am getting better…

  20. Can I just say that I love how this post and Katie’s (health for the whole self) posts are very similiar today. Just goes to show you that God had both of you ladies write about this for a reason today. There has to be somebody out there that was meant to read both of your blogs for some reinforcement that you have to forgive yourself and LOVE yourself.

    • Tina says:

      I know! I felt the same thing. It was pretty surreal to click over to Katie’s post in my reader within 10 minutes after scheduling this post. LOL

  21. I agree w/ Lisa for sure! I read Kate’s then I read yours. It is the message of the day!! :)

  22. I tend to do the same three things to myself.. it seems that you and I are a lot alike in this regard. It’s really hard to get past it. I know they say that you forgive others more for yourself than for them. And that’s true. But I also think that sometimes we DO forget about forgiving ourselves. Once you get into a pattern, even a self-destructive one… even when you KNOW it’s self-destructive, it’s hard to get out.

  23. Kristy R says:

    Thank you for this post. Unexplained anxiety and random cases of the blues have been plaguing me lately and I have been spending alot of time inside my own head trying to figure out where it is all coming from. The only answers I was getting were feelings of guilt for my past: guilt for having accrued so much debt before I was married; guilt for not being the wife/daughter/friend I should have always been, etc. This post helps so much. The idea of forgiveness is so much more positive than everything I had been doling out to myself.

  24. Oh man I have a lot I need to forgive myself for. I think punishment is really easy. Guilt is something I let weigh me down. I

  25. Lori Lynn says:

    I have always had a hard time with the whole “self-love” thing. I forgive others so very easily, though I have the hardest time forgiving myself. It took having to go to Christian counseling for almost 3 years to work through it, and even then I still struggle with guilt a lot, if I’m not careful to squash it. Those thoughts can be so unbelievably dangerous and really easy to get out of control if you let them.

  26. homecookedem says:

    You have such a gift for writing about these important and inspirational topics and I want to thank you for all of the hard work and passion you’ve put into these posts!!

    I’ve been there with the whole binging/restricting thing too. I absolutely hated myself afterwards and would punish myself for weeks by working out like a mad woman and eating very little only to eat up the entire kitchen one day and then start the whole thing over again. Forgiving ourselves is so important and I wish I’d know that back then. Oh well, we learn from those past experiences and I should be glad I got all of that out of the way before bringing a child into this world!!

    • Tina says:

      I know! I was so happy that I had already started recovering before getting pregnant with M. Then the pregnancy just solidified my new approach to eating.

      Thanks for letting me know your appreciation, Em. You are such a good friend to me! I can’t wait to see you again!

  27. Ela says:

    Thanks for this beautiful and inspiring post.

    Here’s my brief response to it:

    http://ulteriorharmony.blogspot.com/2010/09/reflections-on-self-love-forgiving.html

    love and gratitude,
    Ela

  28. [...] 22, 2010 Today’s prompt for 30 Days of Self Love is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I know this is a long post, but I [...]

  29. Eliza says:

    Thank you, Tina, for some great inspiration after a less-than-inspiring day of spilled coffee, acne, and upset tummy. I feel rejuvenated after reflecting on and writing down everything that I just did.

    http://daysonebyone.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/forgiveness-a-story-of-acceptance-and-celebration/

  30. Penny Lane says:

    I get down on myself for things that really don’t matter. For things that happened when I was in grade/highschool or at the height of my partying days. Then I get down on myself for drudging up my behavior from a time when I was acting out on my then current situation. ITs like this horrible circle that I know is ridiculous.
    Forgiving myself is impossible. I will forgive family friends co-workers for everything and won’t forgive myself for anything.

  31. Jennifer says:

    You are so right. All this “self-improvement” in all areas (work, body, health, relationships) makes it so easy to get hard on ourselves when we falter or screw up. We wouldn’t DREAM of saying to anyone else the things we say to ourselves when things don’t go as planned.

    I never realized the need to forgive myself until I really started looking at the reasons for my binges. I still have my troubles, but I’ve found it so helpful to say, “It’s okay that you did that, let’s move on from here.”

    I truly wish I would have examined these things years ago because maybe I wouldn’t have thrown away one of the best things in my life, but even that requires my forgiveness. Thank you for reminding me that we can move forward no matter what happened in the past.

    • Tina says:

      Isn’t it crazy how we can be so cruel to ourselves and not even realize it? Or not even realize WHY? At least we have the opportunity to learn, grow, and change along the way.

  32. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tina Reale, Tina Reale. Tina Reale said: 30 days of self love – forgive yourself: During the worst of my binging, I had entered into a vicious cycle of bin… http://bit.ly/diPYr2 [...]

  33. [...] Tuesday’s topic, forgiving yourself, is a tough one for me, because I can’t let go of whatever the problem is until I find out later that it will work out anyway. That’s why it’s so easy to give up after one setback. For the bigger stuff, and on the other end of the spectrum, the tiny stuff, I don’t really have a choice but to forgive myself, because I have to humble myself and ask God for forgiveness. That’s when I think, “God only has to be asked to forgive once and everything is okay. Why shouldn’t I be able to forgive myself and move on?” [...]

  34. [...] A recent post (I’m playing catch-up) was on forgiving yourself. [...]

  35. I use the same three punishments as you. Exactly the same. The good thing is that now I can recognize them and try to stop them, whereas, before, I did not know what was happening.

  36. [...] future” message I’ve been thinking has really helped my mood. You should give it a shot! And check out today's 30 Days post if you haven't [...]

  37. [...] 30 days: Day 22 – Forgive yourself It’s day 22 of this ’30 days of self-love’ blogging challenge already. This time next week it will all be over and I’ll have to devise my own blog post topics again. But not yet…. Someone else is still setting the agenda this week and today’s theme is: Forgiving yourself. [...]

  38. Deborah Cook says:

    I have to say I’ve probably enjoyed these last 3 blogging challenge topics more than most of the others. They’ve really gotten me thinking. Today’s particularly.

    I started by thinking about how angry I am at myself for letting myself become like THIS… but then mulled over the fact that I keep barking on about how slim and athletic I once was. Sure I was. I was anorexic and my life was F*CKED! Why do I look back at those times as if everything since has been wasted and pointless. It wasn’t as if I could sustain the life I had then. I was so unhappy. Sure I didn’t think I would gain 80-90kg, but I know I didn’t think I would remain 45kg forever.

    Writing on this topic made me wonder if one of the reasons I can’t move forward is because I am living in the past and clinging to a former life rather than planning for a better one now. OMFG, it’s all too much for a Monday.

    http://dietschmiet.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/30-days-day-22-forgive-yourself/

    Deb

  39. [...] terrible teaching style if you want someone to make progress – why focus on the failures? Tina asks, “Is there anything you have trouble letting go? Are there any ways you try to [...]

  40. Xandria says:

    I have trouble letting my ex boyfriend go. I loved him, but he didn’t love me. And I sometimes get to thinking I did everything wrong and start fat talking myself. It’s just hard getting over a broken heart, but I’m getting there slowly and surely. That break up is the reason I started reading this challenge.

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