Forgiveness Is a Great Act of Kindness

In this winter, this time of pause, I am learning to be easy on myself.

This post comes from our friend, Anna Flynn.

For years I had the idea that I did not like winter, did not like the short days, did not like the cold. So I spent a few years traveling to warmer climates, places where I felt I was escaping winter. This year I decided to pause, to sit still in one place for more than a few months. In that place, which is my home, it is very much winter. But I have started to realize it has always been something else, not discontent with the season but with myself.

I’ve come to understand that forgiveness is a great act of kindness. I have experienced this firsthand, the way most people have in relationships with others, but it’s often difficult to forgive ourselves.

Though it’s easy for me to admit I am far from perfect I remain my harshest, most judgmental critic.

Besides run-of-the-mill self-loathing and body shaming we all experience (right?), I judge myself for being vulnerable, or not vulnerable enough, for missing opportunities, for being indecisive, for not setting good boundaries. Sometimes these thoughts play over and over until I don’t even notice them anymore. But I am learning to notice.

So in this winter, this time of pause, I am learning to be easy on myself.

I boil water, breathe in the steam from a cup of tea. The leaves grown in summer, dried through the fall. I walk on snow and ice up an old carriage trail that looks down on the lake, beginning to freeze over. Sometimes the kindest thing I know how to do for myself is to walk all day, even in the cold.

It’s been a distracting couple of months. I feel that we live in an alarmingly unjust world, and the thoughts that come along with that often make my life and my problems seem trivial. But I know better. I know that the first, and most important, thing that any of us can do to help others, let alone the world, is to help ourselves. So I am starting at the beginning, I am allowing myself to feel the way I need to feel, and I am being kind.

The solstice is near, the darkest time of the year, and I have been away from home for far too long. But for that, I can forgive myself.

Check out more of Anna’s words here.


  1. My words exactly. You couldn’t have wrote that any better. Everything you said word for word is my every day thinking, and for that thank you.

  2. oh man, I identify with you so much….my resolution for the new year is to keep the self loathing to a minimum and just let go.

    beautiful words! wishing you all the best and hope your spring comes soon…

  3. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been having trouble accepting winter for as long as I can remember. Hate how it affects and hurts my body when it’s cold, how the darkness makes me feel less energetic and outgoing and how I struggle to reach my goals. Last year I escaped to the southern hemisphere, now I’m in my hometown, hiding at home for the glazed frost and icy wind. I haven’t gotten used to this season and it feels like #firstworldproblems when I think about that. But I try to accept it, lower my expectations about what I’m able to do on a daily basis and I even go for a walk with my neighbors’ dog regularly. The way she embraces life and lives in the moment regardless the circumstances makes me grateful to be part of those happy moments. It’s a start.

  4. Sharing is not as difficult as forgiving oneself for what one thinks you should have or could have done but one must realise that there is a finite amount possible for any one person to achieve in their lifetime and for,that we must be grateful. If you have done what you can for all meant at all times that is plenty.

  5. This is so accurate!

    Sometimes I find it can be hard to forgive others but it’s not worth it to stay angry the whole time and carry around all that baggage.

    I can really identify with this and I’ll make sure to keep in mind during any future relationship issues I run into.

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