I looked up at the clock. It was 3:02 AM. “How did it get so late?” I muttered.
“You really should get to bed.”
Startled, I look up. I thought I was sitting at my desk all alone, but someone else was in the room with me.
“Where did you come from?” I asked.
The person I saw looked vaguely familiar. It almost looked like my reflection, but something was odd about it. I began wondering if I had a twin I didn’t know about.
“I’ve always been here. And I’m not your twin.”
“Wha–” I started. “How do you know what I was thinking?”
“Don’t you recognize me?”
He had a lazy eye in the same place just like me, but I still refused to believe. “But you’re backwards!”
“Actually, no… Your just not seeing me as a reflection.”
“I’m you. That’s how I know what you’re thinking. But you’re used to seeing me as a reflection.”
“Oh. I get it. I think.” I’m sure he didn’t believe me with the puzzled look I still had on my face.
“So, why am I here?” he asked.
“I was about to ask you the same thing.” I turned back to the computer. With a wave of my hand, I said, “I’m busy right now. Go away.”
“I know. That’s what I came to help you with.” My other self came and stood behind me. “What are you working on?”
“A post for my friend Holly.”
“You should have written that two weeks ago.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“What are you going to write about?”
That was a good question, but I didn’t have an answer. I knew I needed to do something, but I couldn’t think of what I should do.
“When are you going to finish that novel?” my other self asked. I looked up to see him pointing at the binder stuffed with paper on the top shelf of the desk.
“Not right now,” I replied, gritting my teeth. “I need to work on this post.”
“Hey, I’m just asking!” my other self said, hands going up defensively. “You’re the one who keeps putting it off.”
“I know,” I said. “I’m just busy doing other things.”
My other self looked back to the pile of dishes in the sink. “I can see that.”
“Great,” I said when I saw where he was looking. “Just another thing I have to do.”
“You could have done those earlier today, you know.”
I thought back to how late I had slept the night before and to the hours spent watching Netflix and Hulu that afternoon. “You’re right. But I was busy watching the kids.”
“Were you, now.”
I sighed. I knew the other me was right. I had not spending the time with them that I should have. I hadn’t spent the time to do many of the things that I said I would do. Or needed to do.
I leaned into the computer. I moved the mouse cursor over and clicked on the start button. I moved the cursor up and hovered over the games for a moment.
“Wasting time again, I see,” the other me said with a tsk.
I wanted to yell, but since everyone else in the house was asleep, I just took a deep breath. I clicked on the icon to open the word processor. A little too harshly, I said, “No.”
“Did you figure out what you are going to write about?”
I thought about what I had been listening to for the last week. Just an hour or so before, I wrote a post on forgiveness for my own site. “Maybe I’ll write about why I should forgive myself.”
“What do you mean?” my other self seemed intrigued. He turned the recliner behind me around and sat down.
“Well, over the last week, I’ve been studying forgiveness.” I felt guilty as I said this because I knew I had been studying that lesson for more than a week. I had intended to write the post I had just written the week before but put it off.
“That’s a great topic,” he said with a wave of his hand. “What is forgiveness?”
I started to answer right away, but then I closed my mouth. I looked up to the left as I thought about the question. While I thought, I stroked the beard on my chin. “I think to forgive someone is to no longer hold them accountable for something they’ve done wrong.”
“So they should get a free pass?”
That was just the type of question my other self would ask. It was keeping me from doing the very thing I wanted to do. Or was it?
“Not necessarily. There may still be some consequences of what they did wrong that they may have to face. But for me to forgive someone, I need to let go of the hurt that was caused to me.”
My other self leaned forward in the chair. He rested his elbows on his knees. “Why do you need to forgive yourself? You’re just going to mess up again.”
“I know. But I need to start forgiving myself.”
“To get rid of this insomnia, for one thing,” I said under my breath and turning back to the computer.
“What was that?” he asked, lifting a hand to his ear.
“Nothing.” I began typing away.
“Interesting,” my other self said. Apparently, he was reading what I was typing. “Do you think that will work?”
I stopped typing and swiveled around in my office chair. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Sinking back into the chair, he asked, “Do you think you’ll be able to forgive yourself?”
“I… I don’t know.”
“What do you think it will accomplish?”
I hadn’t thought of that. “I’ve been getting angry a lot lately.”
For a second, my other self stroke a pose that reminded me of pictures I’d seen of Sigmund Freud. “At other people?”
I nodded. “Some. But also at myself.”
“Because I know I can do better.” I swiveled back around and started typing again. “I don’t want to become one of those people who becomes so angry at themselves that they start doing things that eventually keep themselves from achieving their goals.”
“Like you’ve been doing?”
I started to object, but then I realized that my other self was right. I had been avoiding facing the things I needed to do by wasting my time away watching TV and playing games. I had been using procrastination to avoid doing things that I knew I needed to do. I knew that I had to forgive myself for my own procrastination. “Yes.”
“What do you think could happen if you don’t forgive yourself?”
I paused in my typing to look back at my other self in the recliner. “Same as if I didn’t forgive other people, I guess. If I held on to anger at myself, I’d start seeing myself as worthless and maybe even try to kill myself.”
“You’re not suicidal yet.”
I turned back around and kept typing. I had never really contemplated suicide, and I felt this line of reasoning was a little morbid. “No, and I’d like to keep it that way. I’d also like to keep my mental sanity. I want to become a better person.”
A chuckle made me look back again. “That’s a noble goal.”
“I know you mean well when you bring up all my failures. You just want to remind me of all the things I’ve promised myself and others that I want to achieve. You’re just trying to help me. So I forgive you for nagging me all the time.”
“I don’t nag,” my other self said.
“Yes, you do.”
My other self smiled. “Well, I forgive you, too.”
I smiled back. I turned back to my typing and finishing my next goal. I never noticed when my other self turned the recliner back around and left.
Do you have an experience with needing to forgive yourself? Have you ever wondered, “Why should I forgive myself?” Share your thoughts in the comments below!