Self-Love Reflection: Forgive Yourself

Posted: June 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm

During the worst of my binge eating, 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, blogger, or supporter of my family, I start to unravel at the seams and turn to fat talk and putting myself down. Stress does that to me as well.

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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. If I had never forgiven myself, I doubt my life would have near as much hope and happiness as it does now.

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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.

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31 Comments to “Self-Love Reflection: Forgive Yourself”
  1. Gina says:

    Your posts have really been so inspiring lately! Thank you so much for your posts on this. It really hits home and is so wonderful to hear you shed light on a topic kept under wraps :)

  2. Michelle says:

    This is such an inspiring post! I just recently (as in today) found your blog, and I’m really enjoying reading! I can relate so much to this post, as I struggle with negative self-talk/fat talk. I’ve been in a wonderful relationship for a little over 2 years now, and I struggle very often with the problems from my past creeping up, and expecting him to judge me/leave me because of them. I find this post truly refreshing, and it’s a reminder to myself that the past is the past, that I should love and accept who I am today, and that every moment is a blessing. So thank you! And I look forward to reading more! :)

    • Tina says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for your kind words on my blog. I’m so glad you stumbled across it and I can’t wait to share more with you. Don’t be a stranger! :)

  3. Wow. I have never even though to forgive myself for everything I have put it through. But it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Thanks for the wake up call. You always make me think – that’s why I <3 you!

  4. Amanda says:

    I have been enjoying your blog for about a month or more now and really appreciate this series on Self-Love Reflection. I am struggling now with having fallen completely back into old destructive habits and trying to find my way out of this pit again. This particular post is a powerful one and the concepts are what I need for my next steps – my punishment normally comes in the form of 1) not allowing myself to exercise, 2) “death by donuts” (or any other junk type food) and 3) withdrawing from relationships and feeling connected to others. None of which serve to head me OUT of the pit but rather deeper in to the darkness.
    Thanks for the reminders of how to start getting out!

    • Tina says:

      Isn’t it funny how we punish ourselves and it only makes the situation worse? It’s definitely hard to brush things off, forgive ourselves, and move on…but so worth it. Stay strong and thanks for the support of the blog. :)

  5. vivoir says:

    it’s taken a long, long time but i’m finally at a stage where 65% of the time i don’t beat myself up about things that go wrong, if i lose touch with friends etc. i’ve decided that so long as i can put my head on my pillow and like who i am, nothing i do is a ‘failure’ but is merely a contribution to who i am. the person who is lying there, content with who they are. i reassure myself with the knowledge that i’d rather be someone who feels that they ‘slip up’ a couple of times than be somebody who doesn’t care and is malicious or self-centred

  6. Priyanka says:

    I struggle with the problem of brooding sometimes. I am a forgiving person by nature but sometimes I cannot get over things, even time cannot cure it. And although I may say that it does not impact me, it does. I actually tried to come terms with this bad quality and made amends to step in the right direction with one of my relationship this weekend.

    This post just validates that everyone goes through same chain of events and we must learn to adjust! It is the good things you can do for yourself. As usual great post!

  7. This concept of self-forgiveness is so powerful and emotionally for many people (myself included). Thank you for writing this.

  8. Lori Lynn says:

    Your posts lately, have really been fitting me a lot. This particular post spoke to me, b/c I struggle a lot with guilt, and forgiving myself. I still have trouble with over-eating, and then feeling the need to kill myself working out to compensate for it. I haven’t quite figured out that I wouldn’t have to exercise so hard if I was able to have peace with myself. I still seem to be relying on myself when it comes to the thoughts of “do I actually need this?”, Rather than actually relying on God in that moment. Each minute is a new minute, and I just have to forget about the previous ones, ask for forgiveness, and not be so thick-headed to take the forgiveness! :-)

  9. Loved loved lovedd this post, as usual :)
    I enjoy exercising, but I have felt compelled to do it for so many years now. I have lost the joy of running I once had because I been forcing myself to go and run on too many occasions. Fitness is amazing for you, but if you don’t allow your body to rest, than of course it is going to get run down.
    Thank you for this post and the reminder to treat yourself much better

  10. I love that picture of your sweet family! :)

  11. I really needed this today. I need to forgive myself for a lot of things and see each day as something new – without assuming that my old behaviors are going to come back. Lately I’ve been struggling a little with food and guilt, and I’m not quite sure what to do about it. I tried something and I think it just made it worse, so I think now I need to start from scratch and think about what it was that got me out of the bad pattern in the first place. I need to forgive myself for all of the wrong turns I’ve made and think about the person I want to be (and am) today, not the person I was.

    • Tina says:

      Great reflection. Stay strong, Corey. I know how challenging a relationship with food can be, but continue trying to figure out what works for you, fulfills you, and doesn’t give food the control. We ALL have slip-ups and challenges.

  12. Jess says:

    Beautiful post. Without forgiveness, we would all be stuck in a cycle of GUILT, which is NOT the way to live, at alllll.
    PRAISE THE LORD for mercy and grace :)

  13. I feel like I could have written the first paragraph! I used to fall into the same vicious over exercising, binge cycles.

    You are such an inspiration and wonderful/ beautiful person inside and out. You can see how much you love your family and care for others. I am glad you are able to move past the old destructive behaviors.

    Miss you…wish I had more time these days to read blogs but I am catching up more and more as time goes on ;-)

    • Tina says:

      I feel ya! I have been SO busy too!!!! You’re doing a great job. And already on top of so much with your healthy eating. That’s awesome because I know after M when I was sleep deprived and nursing, I craved sugar so badly and couldn’t stay away for the life of me.

  14. Lindsay says:

    I don’t even know what to say other than thank-you so much for writing this, you really have a way of putting things into perspective for me. I’ve never really thought of forgiving myself and I think it’s something that might be holding me back in a few different ways. Something to think about for sure :) BTW AMAZING job on your 10K, that’s a killer time!

  15. Anna says:

    Such an amazing post, Tina. I think something I am still working on is forgiving myself for my eating disorder, which I overcame over a year ago. I was so malnourished I honestly cannot remember a lot of high school…and that is something that is really upsetting to me, because it was like I was dead for three years. And I did that to myself. I think I “punish” myself by holding back my personality…which is weird, but it’s what I definitely struggle with. So thank you for this post..you are truly an inspiration!! <3

    • Tina says:

      I can understand its hard to forgive when you still feel like those actions are affecting your current life. I just try to remember that holding on to that guilt affect my current life more negatively…and I don’t want to be another 5 years in the future angry with myself over not forgiving myself and just continue the cycle. Stay strong!

  16. Stacy says:

    Great post, Tina! I have definitely struggled with punishing myself through binge eating or not feeling “good enough” for a relationship. I am at a point in my life now where I am beyond happy and I have very little struggle anymore. Thanks for always sharing inspiring stories and reminding us of forgiveness.

  17. Thanks for another inspiring post. I don’t think I have completely forgiven myself for my own actions years ago, but every day I forgive myself a little bit more and that’s what matters.

  18. I tend to want to run away and not face my problems when things get tough. So my challenge has been learning to deal with problems and actually deal with feeling emotions, even when it’s hard. I can’t always run or avoid things.

    In the past, I would turn to food instead of dealing. The more I actually face tough situations, the less I turn to other ways of dealing (like dieting). Those days are definitely diminishing and are rare, but I always need to be mindful of how I am feeling.

  19. Lovely post :-) I went through a few rough years and sometimes still feel sadness about how troubled I was. Once in awhile I do have the urge to go back to my ED tendencies for one reason or another. I have to continually remind myself that I am healthier now and I don’t want to go back to that.

  20. GMR says:

    Thanks for this post–I really needed to be reminded of how important it is to show myself forgiveness. Your honesty is inspiring!

  21. Loved this post Tina, just the reminder I needed! I’d like to think I’m a very forgiving person. At the same time I’ve realized that I will forgive people easily, but it still eats up at me inside. I need to learn to deal with the emotions and get over things instead of holding them in. I know that’s a recipe for binge eating too.

  22. Karolina says:

    Spectacular post! Forgiveness and grace with self is so crucial to health and wellbeing. When we guilt beat ourselves (here’s a spin on this idea i put on my blog: http://counselormusings.blogspot.com/2011/04/stop-guilt-beatings.html), it tends to make the problem worse instead of better! Thanks for being so honest:)

  23. I appreciate the honesty. I still feel guilty about things, but it is a healthy level of guilt. (Really… there’s no reason why I should be totally okay with letting myself engulf some amazing marble slab ice cream for lunch yesterday.) I try not to beat myself up about it though, which is a major improvement.

  24. Kristi says:

    I think forgiving myself is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do and is something I still struggle with.

  25. [...] a certain post that really gets me thinking. Yesterday, Tina over at Faith, Fitness, Fun wrote an amazing post that did just that. When I read her post yesterday, something just “clicked” in my head [...]

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