This is a topic that comes up a LOT in my field. How do I forgive myself? Why should I forgive myself? HOW do I forgive myself? No one else would forgive me, so why should I?
Just as when you forgive another for a transgression, forgiveness of yourself opens a doorway to peace and tranquility. Forgiving your own past actions allows you space to grow and heal, rather than staying stagnant with anger, self hatred and/or shame. In order to learn how to forgive anyone (including yourself), you must first understand the benefits.
Forgiveness really is the ultimate freedom. It is not to approve of the situation, rather to make a conscious choice not to be ruled by the anger you carry. Forgiveness is a choice to free yourself from hostility, anger, and irritability as they are all secondary consequences of resentment. Holding onto anger aimed at your own actions or traits will lead you down a spiral of shame, into a pit of despair. Can you imagine the freedom and peace you would feel if you WHOLEY let go of the anger you carry towards the actions of your past self? Can you imagine being able to look yourself in the eye and NOT feeling any negativity? Imagine no longer spending ANY time remembering how angry you are at that person or yourself. There is an action required in order to forgive. The action is internal and only you will know it has been taken initially; others will become aware as they notice the change in your walk. The lightness of each step. The playfulness of each moment. The freedom with which you greet each day.
Just as you learn to strengthen any muscle in your body with weightlifting or to improve your stamina with cardio workouts, you must start small and work your way up to the “big things”.
- Start with forgiving yourself for not getting to bed on time which led to your fatigue today.
- Start with forgiving your child self for falling of your bike and scarring your knee.
- Start with forgiving yourself for yelling at the other drivers in traffic on your commute again this morning.
- Start with forgiving yourself for not keeping in better touch with your family
- Start with forgiving yourself for the negative self talk that you fall into
- Start with forgiving yourself for eating too much candy or too few vegetables (or both)
- Start with forgiving yourself for the “stupid things” you did in high school
- Start by forgiving yourself for falling into the gossip trap again
Forgiveness requires you to state OUT LOUD and preferably looking at yourself in the mirror “I forgive your for _____________”. “I know you are doing the best you can”. “I love you”. “I care about you”. “I wish you well”.
Please remember how stubborn you are (I say this with love) because forgiveness will not be a one time deal. It will require you to look at yourself every day…multiple times per day…even per hour. It will require you to make eye contact with yourself and reminding yourself that you are worth it. You deserve the freedom associated with making peace with the past.
I wish you well. You are worth it. Please forgive yourself and make room for all of the wonderful changes that will flood into your life as a result.
Consider the following quote before you resume your day:
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong” – Mahatma Gandhi