‘I’m sorry,‘ he said one too many times. ‘It’s okay.’ She said (and meant) just as many.
Apologies are something she finds easy to accept from others, easy to say to others just the same, but they’re something she rarely gives to herself, if ever.
She’s been let down by people before, so much so that she’s learned to make it on her own. Independence is something she prides herself on, and embodies by default, but perfection is the opposing force that somehow sneaks its way in to ruin everything.
It’s okay for other people to mess up, people she cares about, people she doesn’t. They can make mistakes, and she’ll tell them it’s okay, that their mistakes don’t define them, among other clichés she’s read before on the internet. But when it comes to her own mistakes, her own slip-ups, those are unforgivable. Clichés only apply to the world surrounding her.
Because the girl who forgives others easily is notoriously hard on herself, and when she messes up she questions everything that’s wrong with her. She thinks her mess ups are flaws in her character, flaws in who she is as a person, forgetful, stupid, misguided, lost.
The girl who forgives others easily can’t forgive herself for not living up to her own standards.
She thinks her mistakes represent everything in her that is lacking, not talented enough, not smart enough, not poised enough, everything about her she views as insufficient. She doesn’t realize that the things she wishes she was more of, fool her into thinking she is nothing, that she’s worth nothing.
And part of this is because she’s spent too much time with people who’ve tried convincing her it’s true, that she’s not enough, not necessarily through their words, but their actions. Because it’s one thing for her to constantly doubt herself, but it’s another when the people she thinks who love her reinforce those doubts. And it’s not always what they say that makes her feel insufficient, it’s what they do (or don’t). And she forgives them, she forgives all of the people who made her feel that way.
She forgives them for making her feel small, for making her feel like she had to accentuate her weaknesses to make their strengths look stronger.
She forgives them for breaking promises. For twisting the truth when it worked in their favor and for not owning up to it afterwards.
She forgives them for their manipulation. For making her believe they’d never hurt her, and when they did, for making her feel like it wasn’t okay to feel hurt at all.
She accepts the ‘I’m sorrys’ from the people who have made her feel like she’s not enough, because she thinks it makes up for every ‘I’m sorry’ she can’t seem to give back to herself. But forgiveness isn’t some balanced math equation. Whatever causes the pain that results in apologies, it doesn’t have to meet a certain criteria to deserve forgiveness.
She thinks whatever she did, whatever mistake she made is worse than all the mistakes combined of those who hurt her, and that’s why she can’t forgive herself. Her mistakes will always be worse than anyone else’s, and they’ll often feel more painful.
And it’s easy for others to tell her she needs to stop being so hard on herself, but she’ll always be hard on herself. She’ll always hold herself to extremely high standards and constantly strive to be more, and maybe there’s nothing wrong with that, but she needs to learn that (for lack of a better word) the shit that happens along the way, is not because she’s not enough, it’s because she can’t do and be everything for everyone.
She can only be herself, and she deserves forgiveness when she tries to be anything else. So she’ll continue to accept apologies, to forgive others easily, especially those who’ve hurt her, but hopefully one day she’ll realize she deserves the same kind of forgiveness in return from the person who really matters, herself.