It’s Time to Forgive Yourself and Move Forward


Forgive Yourself and Move Forward; Lisa Friedman, Removing the Stumbling Block

If you read a lot of blogs, particularly those focused on disability inclusion, it may seem like there are a lot of “shoulds”. This is how you should treat people with disabilities, this is how you should speak about people with disabilities, this is how you should teach and include people with disabilities.


Maybe you read these “shoulds” and they spark within you an idea of a possibility and you are inspired to make a change. Or maybe you read them and find yourself feeling guilty. When I write, my goal is to get you thinking. I hope I lead you to think about what is possible

In this month of Elul (Elul is the 12th month on the Hebrew calendar and a traditional time for reflection) you have the beautiful opportunity to reflect on what you are already doing and what challenges still lie ahead of you. This month we make teshuvah (literally returning to one’s self, repentance) and it is a chance to grow, to change, and to do more. I hope that rather than feel guilt, you think about what can be. Elul brings with it an opportunity for forgiveness. This is the time to forgive yourself and, as you move forward, find ways to add new elements of inclusion into your daily practice.

Maybe you haven’t yet found a way to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities in your congregation. Forgive yourself, and move forward.
Maybe you haven’t yet found a way to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities in your school. Forgive yourself, and move forward.

Maybe you have not yet integrated the strategies of teaching a child with more complex disabilities in your classroom. Forgive yourself, and move forward.

Maybe you are not yet consistently using inclusive language.  Forgive yourself, and move forward.

Maybe you shy away from people with disabilities for fear of saying the wrong thing. Forgive yourself, and move forward.

And, as you forgive, know that you can do more. Give yourself the space to change, to grow, and to become who you hope to be. It’s ok if you are not there yet.

Forgive yourself, and move forward.

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