Arts Listings

Forgive Yourself By William Warren Smith

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Christmas is a time of emotional reckoning: wanted or unwanted. 

My greatest Christmas wish is that we all take the time to forgive ourselves, especially those of us who not only think we do not deserve self-penance but the ones among us who don’t even realize our right to own our weaknesses.  

Many of us believe others would never see our weaknesses, our bad habits, our “sins” or our sufferings as deserving of attention or forgiveness. 

We cry tears of encouragement for the most devastated among us: those who are suffering painfully as life-ending illnesses waste them away, parents who have experienced the death of their child, children who begin life molested, poor and/or severely challenged, mentally or physically.  

We draw encouragement from the bravery of these and others, the bravery of people who have conquered severe alcohol abuse, who have overcome drug addiction, daily winners against a struggle to act out in all the insidious ways seemingly born within them. The highs we climb when we use alcohol or drugs, engage in gambling and/or habitual unspeakable behaviour towards others, all in effort to escape or more accurately mask pain, the pain that is supposedly necessary to balance the condition called life. 

My wish every Christmas is that we all continue to fight and forgive our public and private hells but my special wish is for you, the one who believes she’s not doing enough to overcome what may seem a small problem to others but to her feels just as horrible as some global tragedy but she dare not admit it or speak it, the one who believes what he is struggling to overcome is just as difficult for him to overcome as any headline-worthy catastrophic event, but he believes there’s no comparison worth mentioning.  

Just as the smallest goodwill deserves the largest thank you, the most invisible suffering, the tiniest weakness that may never be overcome and will never be understood, deserves forgiveness.  

This Christmas and every Christmas, whatever it does to or for you, let it always be the time you thank yourself and forgive yourself.