I am my own worst critic. I have been my entire life and am constantly working on improving my self-esteem and self-worth. Before hitting “publish” on a journal, social media post or video (the absolute worst for me to create!), my “insecurity monster” living inside me immediately chastises me that I could have done better and how dare I put such incomplete work out into the universe. After this admonishment is over, I take a moment to tell the monster to shut up, get back in her cage and then hold my breath as I click the publish button.
While I am not quite sure where my lack of self-esteem originates from, as when I was growing up, my mother always told me that I was smart, strong, funny, kind, generous, beautiful, along with many other positive attributes, I would prefer not to turn this journal into a full-blown therapy session. Years ago, I realized that my low self-esteem was one of the driving factors behind many of the poor choices that I had made. Immaturity also lent a hand in these poor choices, along with a slew of other factors. Many of these poor choices, unfortunately, resulted in me sinning.
Even though I have confessed these sins in the Sacrament of Confession, the monster, who feeds off my low self-esteem, still rears its ugly head and likes to remind me of the transgressions that I have made in my past—be it years, months, weeks or even moments ago. I am fully aware that this is the evil one at work. I read a post on Instagram that stated, “the devil won’t bother you while you’re living in sin, he’ll bother you when you are trying to get out.”
It is almost as if the evil one is saying to me “Look at how you’ve sinned in the past. You hypocrite! How can you call yourself a Catholic Christian? Just give up, it’s too hard and boring to be “good”, plus you keep sinning each day.”
With that I respond with another Instagram post which read, “Satan says look at your sin. God says look at my son.”
As Christians, we understand that we are not perfect and regardless of what sin we have committed, God will love us and forgive us. All we should do is make amends, confess, ask for God’s assistance and perhaps that of a family member, friend, Priest, etcetera to move forward. While the goal is to try to sin as least as possible, it is important for me not to get hung up on any of my sins but on the improvements that I can make in my life. Going to the Sacrament of Confession has helped me forgive myself. I do believe that all my sins have been and will continue to be forgiven the very moment that the Priest absolves me in Persona Christi.
"I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins: return to me; for I have redeemed thee. Isaiah 44:22
I have expressed in a previous journal that there is nothing that my child could do that would make me stop loving him. What I am also trying to instill in my son is the concept of forgiving himself. Although he may misbehave at times, I will forgive all that he does and will help him to forgive himself (even if they are currently small disturbances, given that he is a cute yet unruly toddler.) Right now, he probably doesn’t even care half the time he does something “wrong”, nor would he feel the need to forgive himself—like when he tries to use his body as a canvas and use bobby (his word for peanut butter) as paint. However, I’d like to start as early as possible.
The best way that I can show my son the importance of self-esteem, self-worth and self-forgiveness is to practice what I preach. With that, I try to remember Proverbs 4:23 “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”
When I am having an especially difficult time in forgiving myself and getting over my past transgressions, I look to Saints who sinned much worse than I ever have. A partial list of Saints with “sinful pasts” is St. Augustine, a former hedonistic/party animal; St. Mary of Egypt, a former prostitute; St. Angela of Foligno, a vain, materialistic, adulteress and St. Dismas, a thief who was one of the two men crucified with Jesus who asked him, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)” To read more ‘sinful saints’, click here.
How have you found inspiration to forgive yourself? Please share on Facebook.
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
Bowes, Peggy. “5 Catholic Saints With a Sinful Past.” Beliefnet, Inc. www.beliefnet.com