Sometimes forgiving ourselves is more difficult than forgiving others but there is nothing more crucial to our overall well-being than making peace with ourselves. If we do not forgive ourselves, we continue to use our past to beat ourselves up and we sabotage our biggest dreams.
In my second book, I explain “It is easy for us to dwell on our regrets, the things we lack, the things we missed out on and the things we could have done differently. (Forgiving ourselves) means letting go of blaming (judging or disliking) ourselves; none of us deserves blame. It means being sensitive to our own suffering and coming to understand why we are the way we are, why we have certain beliefs, why we feel the way we do and being okay with all of it. It is only when we can accept our stories (whatever happened to us in the past) and forgive ourselves entirely that we can obtain the wisdom that our stories hold for us.”
Each of us is good at our core. You might insist that someone you know is truly BAD at their core but you could never convince me that this is the truth. Even if you told me that you had murdered twenty people, I would simply know that you were in ridiculous pain. I would look at you with eyes filled with love, just as I did before you told me of the horrible crimes you had committed.
You see, as I said in my prior blog, we each have this internal gauge of what’s right and what’s wrong. For obvious reasons, we need that gauge. What we don’t need is the constant punishment we inflict upon ourselves. But society makes us think that it’s not okay to make “mistakes” and that when we do, we deserve to be punished. Society does not see us as normal, unless we are continually aware of what we did wrong and perpetually beat ourselves up for it. I will say it again – each of us is good at our core. WE ARE MEANT TO LEARN FROM OUR “MISTAKES”, NOT PUNISH OURSELVES CONTINUOUSLY. Religions and their talk of our daily sins do not help us understand this concept. “Mistakes” are simply learning ground; they provide us with feedback as to what works and what doesn’t work.
In addition to understanding the above, something else is required in order to forgive ourselves. If applicable, we need to take responsibility for the times in which we under-performed, behaved without integrity or failed to be grateful for the people or things in our lives (or that were once in our lives and are no longer). We take responsibility by apologizing to those we hurt by our “mistakes”. Making things right, in this way, helps us make peace with our stories and subsequently feel better about ourselves. Lastly, after we apologize, we need to begin treating others with love and respect and living our lives with integrity. The more we forgive ourselves for our past, the easier time we will have of this.
I invite you to make a list of the “mistakes” you have made for which you have not forgiven yourself. I invite you to make a list of the lessons each “mistake” taught you; take your time with this. Then, make a list of the ways in which you are punishing yourself for your past “mistakes”. Finally, write down one unhealthy pattern you are going to let go of i.e. lack of exercise, smoking, excessive shopping etc starting this week. This is how we slowly begin the process of forgiving ourselves. And this is how we slowly begin living the lives we are all meant to live.
For two decades now, any time something hasn’t gone well for me in my life and I turn it around, I think to myself “How will I use this to teach others?” I encourage you to share your insights, as a result of reading this blog, so that others might learn from YOU.
And watch for Easter Sunday’s blog describing rebirth and exactly what that feels like!
Pleeease tell me you are enjoying your Easter Egg Hunt, making your personal discoveries!