By Raylyn Bowers
At some point in our lives, we all have felt insignificant. We all have failed or felt like a failure. We all have disappointed people as well as ourselves, and we all will do it again before our lives are over.
All of us have our faults; some of ours are just more obvious than others. 43.8 million, or 19 percent of all adults, in the United States smoke cigarettes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 24 million people of all ages and genders in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. About 17.6 million, or one in 12, adults suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc.
Whether you smoke, drink, are depressed, suffer from an eating disorder, are overweight, are underweight or all of the above, you still are valuable. Your faults, mistakes or addictions do not have to define who you are.
Amy Bloom said, “You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”
If you want to change to make yourself better, you have to accept that you are not perfect and never will be. You must forgive yourself for your faults and learn to love who you are in spite of your shortcomings.
“Self-acceptance is a way of viewing oneself compassionately, without condemnation or justification,” said Don Richard Riso, author of Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery. “It is a starting point in life, which makes other things possible. It celebrates the fullness of joy of being alive and of being who we are; accepting ourselves, however, does not mean embracing our neuroses or bad habits and celebrating them as if they were virtues. On the contrary, self-acceptance involves loving ourselves enough to accept painful truths about ourselves . . . Self-acceptance is, at its simplest, the experience of one’s self, here and now, as a complete human being, with all the glories and problems that condition entails.”
Personally, I believe self-forgiveness is one of the most important things to learn in life. We must learn to forgive ourselves for the circumstances that are out of our control.
Some of us grew up in a single-parent household, did not have the luxury of money, were abused or had some combination of the above. None of those were the child’s fault, yet as that child grows up, he or she has to learn how to cope with the problems that may arise because of the situations. No matter what your situation is or was, you must learn to cope and forgive yourself and others for the unfairness in life.
As adults, we have to realize we are only human. We all have faults, we have all made mistakes, and we must rise from the ashes. Being able to forgive others makes you a strong person, but being able to recognize your flaws and forgive yourself will make you invincible against society’s criticisms. Self-forgiveness is the key to acceptance, and accepting and embracing yourself for who you are, despite your flaws, will allow you to love who you are.