Forgiving another is without doubt a challenge, especially when you take into consideration the reasons we might benefit from holding onto emotional pain. However, we often reach that point where we’re tired of feeling the way we do and so we find it within our hearts to move past the pain and to forgive. Sometimes this is because we don’t want to lose the other person from our life, or we don’t want to live in a constant state of drama and anxiety. The desire to live in a state of peace becomes more important than what was said or done.
When it comes to forgiving ourselves though, we are more blocked and resistant. There is a part of us that wants to punish ourselves repeatedly for what we said and did and again we seem to gain something from reliving the choices we made or the action we took.
Much of this is subconscious and it’s certainly not something that comes up in normal conversation. Probably because most people feel a great deal of shame when it comes to their past decisions and choices. These are not things that you can talk about with just any one, we would need to feel very safe with the other person to admit what we had done and how we felt. Even discussing the concept of shame now, you may find that old emotions and memories are coming to the surface for you. Don’t judge the emotions, memories or your choices, just pay attention to what they are telling you. Within this you’ll gain huge insights for the healing and forgiveness work that you need to do.
As we did for forgiving others, let’s now look at some of the reasons you are not prepared or willing to forgive yourself:
You may have decided that the decisions you made, or the actions you took do not deserve forgiveness. If this is you, then you need to let this go because we all make mistakes. You deserve a second chance and an opportunity to choose differently next time, determining who you want to be from this moment on and without the baggage from the past.
You may have spent your whole life living by certain rules and when you feel as if you’ve broken your own rules and not lived up to your own standards, you can struggle to forgive yourself. There is a sense that you’ve betrayed yourself and everything you stand for. In these moments you’re judging the choices and decisions you’ve made in the past and you’re coming up short.
When there is a huge amount of shameconnected with our action or decisions, it’s difficult to admit this to ourselves or even explore how we really feel about it. Shining light on the shame by admitting how you feel and exploring this with another is very therapeutic and can lead to self-forgiveness. Just ensure you choose the other person wisely, and trust that they will offer you unconditional acceptance and complete non-judgement.
Life is not going the way that you’d hoped and you don’t want to take responsibility for decisions and choices you’ve made and how you’ve contributed to certain situations.Instead you may choose to ignore what is right in front of you and you couldchoose to blame others. With this outward attack on others, you take the attention off yourself, because you’re using them as a distraction and an excuse. Taking responsibility for the part you played and admitting you got it wrong, is just too painful and too hard for you to accept. People with low self esteem often attach a great deal of negative meaning to admitting they were wrong. They fear that taking responsibility makes them weak, they can feel controlled, vulnerable and as if they’re not enough.
Decide that today is the day that you’re going to forgive yourself and move on. You are not serving yourself or anyone else by being stuck in this trap and refusing to let go of these emotions. Being able to move past this in an amazing thing to be able to demonstrate to others, especially if you have children, or have a position of influence or authority. Be the inspiration that someone else needs.
To help move on from this, try the self-forgiveness meditation and the EFT script. Both resources will help you to get clarity on exactly what you need to forgive within yourself and to let go of. They will also support you in the healing process.
Here are some questions to consider:
Where do you need to forgive yourself? Perhaps it’s connected to things you said or did, or choices that you’ve made.
Why have you been unable or unwilling to forgive yourself before?
Are you holding onto guilt and shame?
Think about the people you’re currently blaming for things in your life, is it time to take your power back, forgive yourself and move on?
Ask yourself whose forgiveness you’re really after, especially when it comes to broken rules or unmet expectations? Were these ever your rules and values, or have they been handed down to you from parents, your community or a religion?
Is there anything else that needs to happen before you‘ll forgive yourself?