At night I come upstairs to a particular book on my night stand. It is called Forgiving Ourselves: Getting Back Up When We Let Ourselves Down by Wendy Ulrich. It is usually calling to me by the end of the day because I carry guilt so well and rarely let myself off the hook.
Maybe you’re like me, or maybe you are not, yet I find that women tend to be the hardest and least forgiving to themselves after all they do and try to do and set out to do. It is a shame that it happens, and yet, it happens and regularly. Lately, I’ve been taking some baby steps to get out of the rut. One thing I’ve started is a peace journal.
At the close of each day, I take a few moments and recall the moments where I felt real peace. Peace in who I am, peace in the life I’ve been given, peace about a question or struggle, and so on.
Can I tell you how healing it has become?
It used to be I enjoyed the time sitting at the close of the day pondering and recalling, but now I try to be open and aware during the day of the truly peaceful moments. I savor them so much more while keeping my mind clear and open to keep the peace.
Why write about the daily peace?
Moments of peace wash away any guilt, pain, doubt, or struggle. For those brief moments, we can see clearly and don’t need to know all of the answers. We can simply enjoy the moment.
Peace Journal entry May 7th 2012:
I felt peace today when I stopped myself from analyzing the rough afternoon and evening with the girls. I decided not be severe, dramatic, fatalistic, and “all-defining” as the book describes. I worked to talk myself into changing my thoughts and self-talk and finally let myself begin to believe Bobby’s text from his hotel that night: “You are an amazing mother”. I realized I am trying my best with my hands very full…”
There is a list from Forgiving Ourselves that has been doing magical things for me lately:
More realistic goals for the habitually self-blaming might be:
- that our self-recrimination become less severe, less easily triggered, less all-defining, and less- relenting.
- that we access more hope in the midst of our discouragement, more reassurance of our real worth despite periodic feelings of worthlessness
- that our trust in God’s gentle mercy becomes a brighter beacon in the recurring darkness of the mortal journey
- that we see the temptation to despair about ourselves as just that, a temptation, rather than as a realistic response to who we truly are
- that we respond to that temptation with clear thinking, honest prayers, bids for support, realistic efforts to learn and grow, courageous acceptance of our limitations, and deeper trust in God’s will and power to save us.
Some of those points are more applicable to me than others. How about you? What stands out to you? I am now accepting that when I feel the despair it is really only a temptation to feel it and believe it. I can control what to believe about myself, what is hard in life, and what really matters. The more control, the more peace. The more peace, the more to write each night…
Indeed it is magical and I am quite grateful.
the sleepy time gal