Forgiveness. Striving for Wellness, Not Perfection.
This guest contribution is authored by Rachael Brooks
“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.”
Nobody is harder on me, than me. Sure, we have our parents, teachers, bosses, spouses, friends, children, and countless others who have these expectations and needs of you. But at the end of the day, it is me, myself, and I…and hell, I can be brutal.
Thinking about forgiveness cannot come at a better time. For instance, my oldest just began virtual kindergarten. Enough said. But let me lay out the first day in more detail.
I only cried three times, so that must count for something, right? I felt my blood starting to boil at approximately 10:03AM, not even an hour into the school day. We got kicked out of our Google meet, couldn’t get back in, finally got back in, got refocused, paying attention, I walked away, only to be called back two milliseconds later to assist with something else. And round and round we went, until I was in such a tizzy that I walked away again to cry.
Trying my hardest not to clue my little guy into my quiet meltdown, I fought through the tears and we made it through his first lesson. Naturally, my mind began its typical downward spiral, as it often does following an event such as this.
How am I going to do this until December? I want to quit. What if my kid falls behind? How am I supposed to be an assistant teacher and a parent? Why won’t he just sit still and listen? I sound like a broken record, yelling to pay attention. I feel so guilty. I can’t do this.
The day got a bit worse before it slowly got better. I talked about it, rather than suppressing my urge to crawl out of my skin. I called in reinforcements, in the form of my husband, to take over my son’s math lesson. We figured out times during the day when we could tag on and off, depending on when my husband had breaks between conference calls. Rather than drowning my sorrows in food at the end of the day, I went for a rainy run instead. And while I don’t have all the answers to my swirling questions, I acknowledge that this is new, and I have to give myself time to adapt.
Now yes, this all happened over the course of ONE day. It drained me. I felt defeated. It wasn’t perfect. But I’ll tell you one thing that was close to perfect. My recognition of the imperfection and my ability to focus on wellness and forgiveness instead. For a Type A personality and someone who is constantly chasing perfection, this is huge. I looked at the day for what it was: a really hard day. And I allowed myself to have and feel it.
In doing this, I let the perfection go, and I let the forgiveness in. Not just forgiveness of myself, but forgiveness of my five-year-old as well. These unprecedented times affect his little brain, too. At the end of the day, it is okay to not be okay. Forgive yourself for the guilt of feeling otherwise. I have a few new goals each day to equip myself with forgiveness and wellness, all while actually forgiving myself if I do not carry these out perfectly. See what I did there.
First up, I am going to be more intentional about how I spend my morning time before my kids wake up. Rather than rolling out of bed at the last possible minute before the chaos begins, I will strive to wake up 30 minutes earlier. I might even try to get a workout in, but I won’t get ahead of myself.
Second, I will ask for help. We cannot do this life alone. Help may be hard to come by. So, if someone is not physically available, calling someone can also make a world of difference.
Lastly, give yourself some space and grace throughout your days. Take breaks. Breathe. Forgive.
Referring back to Tony Robbins’ words, forgiveness is truly a gift you give yourself. With a little forgiveness comes other gifts. The gift of peace. The gift of calm. The gift of acceptance. The gift of believing in yourself. The gift of kindness. And slowly but surely, it becomes a part of our overall wellness. I will never say we won’t have days like day one of virtual kindergarten. Because we absolutely will. I will say, though, that when we do come across these days, forgiveness will get us through it. Can’t really ask for a better gift than that.
Rachael Brooks is a writer and public speaker in the sexual violence prevention and mental wellness sectors, located in Raleigh, NC. She currently speaks with and serves on the board of InterAct of Wake County, a North Carolina area nonprofit focusing on giving sexual assault survivors a voice. Rachael is the author of Beads (Koehler Books), an award-winning memoir detailing her journey from sexual assault victim to survivor. Beads speaks to the challenges that sexual assault victims face and the range of emotions they experience throughout the recovery process. Her story takes place immediately following her graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill and describes the many injustices she experienced within the justice system, which are still very pertinent today. Strolling the Target aisles with her youngest, having impromptu cul-de-sac parties, watching college basketball, and frequenting the many different local coffee shops are among her favorite activities.
You can follow Rachael on Instagram (@rbrookswriter). Be sure to subscribe to Intentional Ten to see Rachael's interview next season. You can get your copy of Beads here, I highly recommend this read!
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please know that I only affiliate with products I believe in and highly recommend.