Birthday Celebration: Forgive

forgive_0Every day this week, we’re celebrating CareGiving.com’s 17th birthday with activities and prizes, including a grand prize of $300. We’re mingling our birthday celebration with our ability to disrupt.

Today, we’re breaking to disrupt our life with forgiveness.

I think we all carry a regret or a shame. Maybe it’s not something we think about every day or every week, but once in awhile, the memory comes up. And, we can feel that memory begin to control who we are. The memory haunts, belittles, controls. It’s awful.

So, today, let’s forgive ourselves for what we we wish we would have done differently or better or not at all. Let’s disrupt our lives by being to kind to ourselves, by realizing we’re doing the best we can and by letting a second chance, rather than a past regret, rule our day.

Here’s mine: I’m going to forgive myself for the path of my life, which I’m doing the best to follow but sometimes wonder how I got to where I am. And, often, where I am seems to simply be revisiting where I was. So, I want to forgive myself for what hasn’t worked in my life, for having to make difficult adjustments in order to be able to keep going, and for the hopes I have which have yet to materialize. Because I forgive myself, I can be in myself in the world and, most important, I can be in my life without apologies.

Then, share how you had fun in our comments section, below. When you post a comment here, you’ll be entered into a chance to win one of our daily prizes and one of our grand prizes. To win a daily prize and/or a grand prize, you must be a family caregiver, a member of CareGiving.com and participate in one of our daily disrupt activities. Not a member of CareGiving.com? It’s easy and free to join; just go here.

Today, let’s let forgiveness change our life.

Congrats to the winners of yesterday’s daily prizes:
@donna won a copy of @ejourney’s eBook, Caregiving in Five Lines;
@thpurplejacket won copy of our eBook, An Anthology: Help, Comedy, Forgiveness, Gifts, which features the stories of family caregivers;
@trish won Take Comfort and Take Comfort, Too, the MP3s, audio versions (in my voice) of my books, Take Comfort and Take Comfort, Too.

Look for an email this afternoon with your win.

Resources
Learn about our week-long birthday celebration, including our eligibility requirements to win the daily and grand prizes, here.

Reminders
Be sure to share what caregiving is like for you in our annual family caregiver survey. Take our survey here. Please ask other family caregivers you know to complete the survey, too. (Thank you!!)

Profile photo of Denise

About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

14 thoughts on “Birthday Celebration: Forgive

  1. Profile photo of JaneJane

    I have a forgiveness like Denise’s. I tend to harbor a lot of unforgiveness toward myself. I am not where I thought I would be in my life… I don’t know exactly where I thought I would be but I just know I am not there. I don’t feel that my hopes and the goals that I have are being fruitful. I don’t seem to have peace, contentment or what feels like gratitude (because I am never happy with what I have). I will try to forgive myself for choices that I have made recently with our finances that were mistakes that I hope I will be able to compensate for by tightening our belts because I am always looking for something that will make me feel better about myself which I know I have to find within myself and not what someone else has done. I can’t seem to forgive myself for not doing what I need to do so I can have all the things that I so deserve in my life because I don’t do what needs to be done to get them. Some of this may be from not believing that even if I do I won’t have them.

    I hope by forgiving myself and by not waiting for motivation or when…this happens (I lose 20 pounds, Nicole is healthy, etc.) and just doing what I know needs to be done I will start to feel better about myself and my life and that will help with how I feel about myself for all the stupid choices I make.

    Hugs:o)
    Jane

    Reply
  2. Profile photo of RichardRichard

    How can one forgive themselves when one is unable to be the father or mother, the husband or wife, the friend, or the family member that they should be or were ment to be when they are unable to do the things that is needed to be honored with those titles. How, is by forgiving myselve and acknowledging that it was not my fault to begin with and that even though I am limited in various areas of being a father and husband that to this point I have done my best with the abilities I have and I have done every bit of it with as much love, honor, respect and honesty I can. I apologize to my family and hope they will forgive my as I have to forgive myself for the anger, hostility, pain and stress and the other hard times I have put them through. This was never the life I wanted for them none the less for myself. Richard I am truly sorry.

    Reply
  3. Profile photo of ChrisChris

    Shame is a feeling that should be removed from our pshyce, easier said than done. I’ve learned over the past year that the shame I feel at times is often related to something that was said, or done to me that was out of my control. I can’t control what others say or do, but I can control how I feel about what others say or do to me. Feeling shame is unhealthy, but sometimes unavoidable. Today, I am going to forgive those who have made me feel shame and forgive myself for dwelling on things that I cannot control. For it is in the forgiveness where we through shame to the wayside

    Reply
  4. Profile photo of BridgetBridget

    For a long time I have wondered if I did the right thing when my mother in law was in hospice. When she started to get anxiety and jump out of the bed they decided she needed something for the anxiety. I thought that it really worked however when it wore off we would have to orally give it to her again after she would try to flee the bed again. I decided that they need to add it to her pump so that she would not hurt herself. After they did that all she did was sleep and never really had any meaningful conversations. Her long lost son decided to come and make peace with her 2 weeks after that and she was not awake to talk with him. I blamed myself for this and still try to continue to let this go. I pray that I did not cause her to miss this blessing because I honestly thought that I was doing what was best for her at the time. So today I will again lay this at the foot of Jesus so that I can be happier and healthier.

    Reply
  5. Profile photo of TrishTrish

    Like others here, I need to forgive myself. I become impatient when I’m stresssed or tired or doing too much and then snap or act in a way I regret. Then I feel terrible which stresses me out – a terrible, circle!

    Reply
  6. Profile photo of CasandraCasandra

    I am echoing the voice of others when I say myself. I think that by most of these posts, everyone is harder on themselves than they are on others.

    My forgiveness of myself stems from the day before my Father passed away. I had no transportation at the time. But I knew/felt he was in trouble as he described his symptoms and even told him, you’re having heart failure and he assured me the doctor had checked his heart that same day via a stethoscope which I advised was not sufficient. I urged him to go to the hospital and he was his normal passive self. So, I said, okay, whatever with one last attempt at convincing him to do the right thing.

    I often say to myself, had I just called my brother or a friend to take me and make him go to the hospital that night maybe he would still be alive. But what I am realizing with Marc is that you can’t make someone do anything. You can only do as much as you can and hope they care enough about themselves and their situation to push themselves the rest of the way.

    With my Dad it was an old routine I’d let myself become a victim of. He always downplayed everything because he just didn’t care. And yes, I could have done more but would it have changed anything? I will never know. Ultimately, I couldn’t make him do anything and I have to forgive myself what I believe I did not do.

    Reply
  7. Profile photo of EllysGdaughterEllysGdaughter

    I find I have to work at forgiving myself over and over for being so frustrated! Slipping into that pattern of being frustrated is a habit which isn’t productive for anyone Trying to live as if there was no dementia or confusion is just so irrational once I step back and look at the situation. My Grandma is crossing over the line from no concrete Dementia symptoms to a subtle awareness and confusion by it. I know I live in the Forgiveness of my Heavenly Father and need to pass along that forgiveness to myself and others. It can be a daily thing for me. Our “sermon” on Sunday was about Forgiveness and I marvel at the way I get reminded about this even throughout my week!! Thank You Denise.

    Reply
  8. Profile photo of SueSue

    Wow – this is a tough one for me. I carry around so much guilt, I don’t even know what exists there until it wells up at some inappropriate time and triggered by something unrelated to the true cause and I’m all of a sudden in total mopey mode or total crazy stress mode.

    Like Jane, I need to forgive myself for the financial disarray that seems to follow me around (couldn’t be that I am creating it, right). I need to forgive myself for not doing a better job keeping my house and family in order…I feel like I am just “putting out fires” all the time instead of actually relaxing and enjoying our home and our time together. I need to forgive myself for not having a healthy child…perhaps it was my fault in some way…I still don’t know. I need to forgive myself for not being a better friend. I don’t visit people or hang out with people. I am a total flake when it comes to socializing. All of these things probably hurt me as much as they do anyone else…but, I still feel guilty.
    So, tonight, I attempt to forgive myself. As I read all of your other comments it made me realize how ridiculous some of our views of ourselves can be when we let them be ridiculous. I want to stop doing that and start loving myself.
    Thanks Denise!

    Reply
  9. Profile photo of donnadonna

    I’m fairly certain that I’ll never know exactly what events led to my husband’s brain injury. After being awake for two days straight, I’d finally passed out in the ICU waiting room. I was fast asleep at 3am, and didn’t hear the code blue ring out through the hospital. Even after speaking with the doctor on call and reviewing the nurse’s notes from that night, I don’t have a precise answer. However, I heard various accounts of mistakes being made. Those working had been very strictly instructed by the pulmonary doctor not to touch my husband’s ventilator tube. Since it was breathing 100% for him by this time, the force of air going through was extremely high. I’ve heard that a respiratory therapist tried to reposition his tube because they felt it was leaking air. I believe it was at this time that part of his tube popped inside, causing him to lose his airway. The next several minutes while the nurses performed CPR and an ER doctor arrived to insert a new tube changed life as we knew it for our family. Concerned friends and family suggested at the time that we should take legal action against the hospital. I simply didn’t have room inside for any feelings besides relief that he had survived. As I sat beside his bed for the next two weeks while he lingered in a coma, I wasn’t able to let bitterness crowd my dwindling hope. The next five months were a blur as he recovered in three different hospitals. Shortly after he returned home, and I took over his care, I started looking for someone to blame for the drastic changes in my husband. I once again contacted the doctor on call and asked for a more specific explanation. While she was patient and kind, I still felt as though I wasn’t getting the whole picture. I finally decided that I needed to forgive whomever was responsible in order to move forward. Since then, I no longer dwell on what happened that night. I try to be grateful for the years I’ve had with my husband since then.

    Reply
  10. Profile photo of TamiTami

    Forgiveness. I feel that the person that I have been continuously forgiving is my ex-husband. We have been divorced for over 13 years, however about a year ago he made the decision not be in my children’s lives. This has caused me to be so very angry that I have to bare the burden of caring for my newly diagnosed 12 year old son with Type 1 Diabetes. The scheduling of appointments, the midnight bg checks, the math ohhhhh the math and helping my son through the anger.

    After attempting to find him and have a conversion with him, he would not meet me. Once this happened, I felt sadness for him.

    Even though I have to take care of appointments, phone calls to insurance companies, prescriptions and everyday care for my son. The rewards I receive are tremendous. I have such a close relationship with my son and so much respect for him as my hero.

    Forgiving him has helped me to not be so angry and release an emotion that I have been spending way too much time on. I would like to say that the forgiveness is done for him, but some days I have to forgive him again. It is a process.

    Reply
  11. Profile photo of atisMOMatisMOM

    I too, like everyone else here think it’s harder to forgive myself. For the most part, it is out of anger and frustration majority of the time. Some days the self pity of “Why me?”, is just unbearable. Then I think to myself, “If not me for them…. Then who?”

    So from this day forward I’ll do my absolute best to forgive myself and my negative thoughts:

    -Gosh I’m tired of changing and cleaning you and your things, every single day.
    -Stop calling me, there are other people in the home.
    -Did you have to do the things that I do now when you were my age?
    -I didn’t plan or want to make caregiving my career/profession.
    -It just sucks to be me.
    -You’re such a jerk!
    -You think you have it bad, come and walk in my shoes anytime.
    -You think you’re tired…. Believe me when I say, I’M TIRED!

    These are just some of the things that go through my mind almost on a daily basis. I know it’s just the frustration getting the best of me, but still…. It makes me feel like such a horrible person. I’m also constantly praying daily for forgiveness, because it’s hard to keep these thoughts under control. They’re the main people responsible for bringing me into to this world and who I am today, how can I think this way?!?! People say that I will be blessed for all that I do, I didn’t wish these things upon them in order to have blessings bestowed upon me!

    So today, I forgive myself….

    Reply
  12. Profile photo of PegiPegi

    I’m right there with most others. Forgiving myself is not easy. I also carry alot of guilt. Mostly for time wasted that should have been with my family. I feel a lot of guilt for all the hours I worked, putting career above my family. On one occasion my son, than around middle school age, asked me if I couldn’t just go back and work in an office so I would be around more. A few years later, after changing from a tech environment back to office I told my husband “I’ll see you around 5:30″, he said “why do you keep lying to me?”. Surprised I answered “what do you mean?” to which he replied “you never get home from work before 7″. What a waste of so many years. Too many events and activities missed with my son especially. Now so many years later, I want that time back with my son, with my husband. My son is grown and my husband’s activities are limited. The guilt continues as I try to forgive.

    Reply

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