One of the influential teachers I was blessed with in junior high once said to a defeated, deflated me: “you have to learn to forgive yourself.” At the time, it only seemed to apply to her observation that I was unhealthily obsessed with grades and percentages and making top 3 in the class. Nowadays, a fair few stations down the railroad, I’m starting to wonder what self-forgiveness really encompasses and releases.
We ask for forgiveness all the time. From our parents. From our teachers (mostly pre-clinic supervisors really…). And of course from God. It’s easy to assume that nothing has changed when the trespass is small. When we’ve made a major oopsie – that’s a whole different story altogether, and that’s where the anxiety creeps in. A definite amount of self-confidence is lost permanently. It becomes harder to look at ourselves squarely in the eye.
I bring this up because I often wonder how far I’ve come in overcoming my social anxiety. Occasionally I still feel like pulling a blanket over my head, so self-conscious I feel. But the self-pity I drowned myself in is no longer. Instead of ruminating upon the fact that I’m the shittiest sister to my siblings and crying in my bed, I can now try and think of ways to change and let the atoning take its slow natural course.