Forgiving Yourself

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:

Baggage CarouselWe all screw up sometimes.  No matter how hard we try, plan, or manipulate, circumstances may alter “the best laid plans of mice and men.”  There’s another wonderful saying in that vein:  “Man plans and God laughs.”

Awhile ago, my son was entrusted with an artistic piece made by a family member who had expended many hours of labor in its creation.  My son was to bring the object back home to be a centerpiece in his family’s household.  He carefully carried and stowed the coveted, bulky item in the airplane overhead compartment.  Upon landing and disembarking, he then hand-carried it to the baggage claim area where he set it down briefly so he could retrieve his suitcase from the carousel.  That’s when God let out a full belly laugh.

Upon returning, the wrapped object was nowhere to be found.  Panicky, my son searched and searched to no avail.  He filed a claim with lost and found, but it never turned up.  He was devastated and felt he had betrayed a confidence.

This is just a small example of when forgiveness should enter the equation.  Sometimes, the hardest form of forgiveness is to forgive yourself.  Why do we hold ourselves to such high standards, fearing to admit that we’re only human?  I’m sure you can contribute such a war story of your own.   We’ve all been there-done that, and it’s usually painful and racks us with guilt.

If an offender committed an act against you which caused you pain, discomfort, inconvenience, or upset, look at his/her motive. Was the act done without guile?  If so, and he is contrite and usually trustworthy, you must forgive him.  If the act was done deliberately, and that is his usual modus operandi, then he must live with such a flawed character trait and suffer the ramifications: frequent loss of friendships and relationships, ongoing conflict and tumult, others always on guard around him, and eventual disappointment and loneliness as all close contacts distance themselves or bail out altogether

If you are an example of the deliberate, conniving, the-end-justifies-the-means type, then be prepared to live with the consequences and stop being so surprised when they finally happen.  If your act was committed without such duplicity, you must forgive yourself.  One final saying to make the point: “To err is human, to forgive divine,” and that includes forgiving yourself.


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Photo credit: bradleygee on Visual Hunt / CC BY


Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging, wellness

2 responses to “Forgiving Yourself

  1. Sheila Sauber

    Hi Lee Gale, I arrived in Atlanta yesterday and did just what Darryl did! I thought someone could take our carry, but still stepped away….. I got lucky. I wouldn’t have done that in Italy…for sure it would disappear. It takes a long time to forgive ourselves, but eventually when senility sets in, we do forget/forgive. Hope you’re doing well! I just go from dr To dr. But basically I’m good! Looking forward to seeing you in June. 👍Sheila

    Sent from my iPhone


    • That’s funny. I agree that the forgiving part as we age is more a function of forgetting. That’s okay, too. Glad you’re basically good even though you visit your friendly doctors more than you’d like. June will be fun!

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