I forgive myself…a little bit.

Regular readers (thank you!!) know that I’m on a journey of self-forgiveness at the moment. It’s not an easy path to choose, and there are times I really want the whole feeling of uncomfortablness to go away. Have you ever noticed when you blow up a balloon, then let it deflate you can never quite empty it completely? This is exactly why self-forgiveness has to encompass all areas of guilt/shame, not just selective areas. For example, I forgive myself for snapping at the waiter today, but I will never forgive myself for not going to the gym (and therefore showing my lack of willpower yet again). Sooner or later you have to address it all. I was heading out to participate in a discussion (a TV show in fact) about failure this week and I could feel the angst building in my body. It was clear evidence that my guilt/shame is like the remaining air in a balloon – it still shows up in pockets of the latex.

I spent a lot of time processing my thoughts around failure and self-love, but when my physiology has unmissable reactions to visiting deep painful regrets that’s when I realise there’s more work to be done. Haven’t I done enough? Haven’t I turned a corner? Haven’t I forgiven myself enough already? Just like you can’t be half pregnant, you can’t half forgive youself either. Here’s why…

For some of us, our beliefs and subsequent thoughts fill a balloon that becomes part of our life. We’re constantly processing and judging ourselves, inflating the balloon.It is full of our self doubt;inner criticism; self-talk; inner judgement; worry about what others think of us. Initially, the balloon is easy to handle and therefore rather than release it, we carry it with us unpurterbed.

forgiveness comes after we fill ourselves with thoughts and actions.

Problems happen if we let the ballon reach its capacity. When it is stretched to its limits.

We need forgiveness when the balloon is at its capacity.There are ways to let the air out – to manage our self-care. Habits like meditation; talking to others about our problems; exercise; eating well; and connecting with others helps to deflate the balloon.  Some of us do this so well, we don’t need to carry a balloon – as soon as problems occur, they are dealt with and forgotten. For others though, complete lack of self care bursts the balloon and this may look like depression, anxiety, alcoholism, overeating, and physical ailments.

I’ve come to realise that although I have let most of the air out of my balloon, it is still something that needs my attention. It is still full, just not to breaking point (thankfully!). A little bit of self forgiveness is not enough to empty the balloon. Even though I have done a lot to release the pressure, and am feeling good as a result, my balloon has not yet expelled all the air inside.The pockets remain. For the last year or so I have made a decision to carry it, after all, I’m still able to function – right? I know though that if I don’t deflate it completely I risk a total blow out because I’m still holding it. Especially when I am feeling under pressure.

forgiveness means deflating the balloon completely.

I can’t forgive myself “a little bit”, or, truth be told, just for the stuff that is easy to forgive. I have to be able to pop the remaining bubbles. To love myself without conditions.  The minute I forgive myself only a little bit, I am acknowledging that I am still faulty, and I risk allowing the balloon to inflate again. I’d much prefer to see it popped and discarded at this time in my life.

I’ve spoken to many people this past year who have inflated and deflated their balloons, but i don’t know of too many who have managed to destroy them completely with total self love and forgiveness. How about you?

Leanne Faulkner
An Australian entrepreneur, I share my experience building a business from my kitchen to the world retail stage, and all the lessons I learnt about myself along the way. This is not a start-up guide or business blog, but rather reflections on my personal insights as an entrepreneur and more importantly, as myself. I built a successful skin care company, but realised the gift was never about the soap...the gift was about me. I hope my experience and reflections will benefit others on their life journey. Welcome x
Leanne Faulkner

Leanne Faulkner

Leanne Faulkner

2 Comments on I forgive myself…a little bit.

  1. Julie
    March 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm (8 months ago)

    Hi Leanne,

    I have been struggling with this myself. I’ve about narrowed it down to being able to stop feeling that others are holding me to the same measure as I am holding myself. Reality is, they don’t care that I failed – well, for the moments where it is the topic of gossip and making themselves feel better by vilifying my demise “they” get joy – but really, who cares? If they need that in order to feel better about themselves then, who cares? Why do I care?

    I think – no, I WAS raised to not do anything that would upset someone else, especially my mother. If I had an original, unique way of putting the dishes away, she would come behind me and do it “correctly” and probably verbally admonish me for not “knowing better”. This has led to a lifetime of trying to please others – especially when I am vulnerable (which is just about always living with a teenager). When I am vulnerable, I tend to overcompensate for my shortcoming that I am sure the whole world saw and judges me by… Terrible conditioning from my parents!

    As I raise my daughter, I struggle with it even more as I see the “me” in her that is demanding to be treated fairly. My three Mantra words given to me by my relationship with dear Anton are: SUPPORTIVE – UNCONDITIONAL – HONEST To myself FIRST and then to others…

    By the way, it’s not called a “mistake”, its just life :) xoxoxo

    • Leanne Faulkner
      March 15, 2014 at 9:14 am (8 months ago)

      Thanks for your thoughts Julie.Your words could probably be true for many of us out there, with similar earlier experiences. I love your three mantra words – especially for yourself first. It’s interesting to stop and reflect on this for ourselves because I know for me, too often I can practise this for others, but I rarely remember to give myself the same actions.


Leave a Reply