“Forgive yourself for not knowing better at the time. Forgive yourself for giving away your power. Forgive yourself for past behaviors. Forgive yourself for the survival patterns and traits you picked up while enduring trauma. Forgive yourself for being who you needed to be.”-Audrey Kitching
Over the last couple of years, I have truly understood the importance of finding a circle or a group of women who love, support, and encourage other women in their own journeys. Having these beautiful, powerful, and kind human beings, inspire us all to do and be more in this life. Connections are made, friendships are born, and relationships are strengthened when we surround ourselves with empowered women.
As a result of finding strong women, I have been inspired myself to do the same for others, to empower and encourage. I will support wholeheartedly, and I promise you, I can and will be your biggest cheerleader!
But let me be honest. It has not always been this way. While it’s hard to admit, I can tell you I have also been the unkind and mean girl. But why? At that time in my life, I believed that was who I needed to be in order to be accepted. But oh boy, I was wrong.
Thinking back to when I was younger, I often felt like I did not belong, I just did not fit in. I was either too much or not enough for certain “friends.” I was different and felt left out. I came up with many stories of why I wasn’t cool or popular: Was it my broken English? Perhaps my thrifty clothes? Was I too boring? Blah, Blah, Blah… I had plenty of stories I told myself about why I wasn’t accepted.
Having girls sticking gum in my hair, being made fun of because of my accent, or simply being left out, truly hurt me. I felt betrayed and alone many times, but somehow, I could not share this with others. If I opened up about feeling a certain way, I would perhaps seem weak and why would I want to give another reason to not be wanted? Instead, I believed that the only way to get rid or hide my hurt was to pass it on to someone else. If I said hurtful things to other girls, maybe just maybe, I would feel better about myself. And hey, maybe other girls would approve of me. What a lie!
I was young and stupid at times. If I was seen as the tough girl, for sure no one would mess with me. But you know what? That did nothing for me, nothing. It left me feeling lonelier and emptier inside. And now, talk about the shame when I think back to this kind of behavior. Sure, no one got hurt physically, but perhaps my unkind words made others feel what I had felt and that is not okay. I can only move forward, learn and be better.
Throughout time I have learned and continue to learn. I’m not perfect, nor do I pretend to be. I am a flawed human being, but I know that despite my mistakes, I am not a bad person. These mistakes and failures help me improve on a daily basis. I accept who I am, and what I’ve done or not done as part of my growth journey, and I will always be a work in progress.
I can’t change any part of my past, none of it. And I forgive myself for not knowing better or being better. Acting tough and being unkind is never the answer and it will never get anyone closer to what we want in life. I acknowledge my mistakes but instead of allowing them to hold me back, live in shame and guilt, I choose to learn from them. I choose to not be the hurt girl who also hurt other girls, and I choose to heal while helping others to heal as well. We’re in this together.
Today, I encourage you to find your circle of sisters, women who will strengthen and uplift you every step of the way. These women will help you heal, grow, connect, and empower you in your journey.