Every month or so I have the good fortune to catch up with some dear gal pals of mine to spend a few hours together at a breakfast catch up. I love these meetings because it’s a safe place to laugh, question, share and cry. We all seem to have turns at this for various reasons, and this week, quite unexpectedly, I found myself in tears…We were discussing my years at Billie Goat Soap, and the lessons learned along the way. As I recounted my final twelve months there, I could feel the tears rising, and old feelings returning. What was going on? What feelings had I revisited that did not sit well with me? I have done a lot of work on myself mentally since selling Billie Goat, and I am feeling stronger now than ever before. Why was I crying? I realised I still have work to do. Yes, I’ve come a long way, but I am clearly a work in progress. Aren’t we all?
I wear a Brene Brown t-shirt when I work out with my trainer. Blazened on the front are two key words – Daring Greatly. Initially it was a bit of a tongue in cheek dig at the fact that I was even standing in a gym, let alone about to work out. However, it means more than that. It’s about being brave enough to put myself out there. Being brave enough to be authentic. Just as a chronic drinker goes to an AA meeting and shares they are an alcoholic, I have to be able to share with others that I have failed (in my opinion) and be ok with that admission. I need to be brave enough to tell my stories and acknowledge that they form the fabric of my very being…forever.
I’m able to do that now, tell my story. The reason I cry is because I am still unable to forgive myself for them. I don’t think I’m there yet. This lack of forgiveness manifests itself as tears. It really doesn’t matter if my personal shame is valid or not in the eyes of others – this is about what I believe to be true, and how I deal with it in my own mind. I am so grateful for the tears…so grateful for the awareness. Sometimes, if we are unable to forgive ourselves our pain is covered up. It drowns in alcohol, is fed by food, is forgotten in gambling. Sometimes lack of forgiveness leaves us lonely, unable to feel a real connection with others, feeling like a solitary person in a crowded room. For me it is tears.
My breakfast last week with my friends lead to an epiphany for me. There is no doubting I have come a long way since feeling so depressed a few years ago. I am a different person, and loving it. My tears over a cuppa however highlighted a missing piece of my puzzle. In order to truly move forward, I must not only love myself, but forgive myself. I have to be brave enough to revisit my difficult life experiences without feeling a sense of shame. If I cannot do this, I cannot move on. I’m simply kidding myself. Yes, I can wax philosphical about being a better person for having the experience, but if I still have tears (for others it may be drink, gamble, isolate yourself) about the story then clearly I am not totally a better person. I am still a recovering failure-holic.
I am going to spend the next month or so figuring out how to do that in a way that is genuine and believable to me. I have no idea what that is going to look like, but I’m open to working on it, one day at a time. We all have things in our past that we’re not particularly proud of, that’s part of life. Have you forgiven yourself for them? If so, what did you do? I welcome your thoughts to help with my own journey. Have a wonderful week everyone xx