4 steps on how to forgive yourself.
As far back as I can remember, forgiving others has come easily. Even when I wished I could stay angry at them, I always forgave, the minute they spoke to me again, whether they said sorry or not. But when the time came to forgive myself, it was more difficult than I had expected. The anger I felt for making the wrong choices, was too deep and intense to allow myself forgiveness, forgiveness with which I had always graced others.
Forgiveness is a painful topic that seems to bring to the surface hurtful experiences, still alive deep inside our being. But without forgiveness we are stuck in a place of hurt, uncertainty, resentment, anger, frustration and at times, depression.
But what if the person you are trying to forgive is yourself?
Forgiving yourself might result more difficult because of the closeness. You can distance yourself from other people’s actions, to a certain level. But when you are the victim of your own decisions or actions, forgiveness might be a lot harder to achieve. Having regrets and feeling angry for past decisions or actions, can be soul destroying.
Regrets result from various situations and feelings:
- You did not follow your dreams, your vision.
- You stayed in a painful relationship for too long.
- You did not believe in yourself and your abilities.
- You never felt strong enough to stand up to certain people around you.
- You said ‘yes’ when you meant ‘no’.
- You did things that you didn’t want to do, and
- You gave up on things that you wanted to do.
- You didn’t study what your heart desired.
Whatever happened in the past, you now need to move forward, and allow yourself to feel empowered about your life.
How do you forgive yourself?
You need to be kind to yourself, and remember that you did what you did with the knowledge you had at the time, and the emotions you felt. It is always easier to look back and tell yourself what you should have done. But at the time you were not equipped to do anything differently.
1. Visualise and Forgive
The following exercise can help you start the forgiveness process.
Sit somewhere comfortably, and close your eyes. Visualise the following:
You open the door to a beautiful field. Notice the beauty surrounding you: the flowers, the trees, the sky, the sun, all the colours.
You feel free and run down the hill, freely and happy, and arrive to a beautiful spot by a waterfall and a lake.
There, Your today self, meets Your past self. Tell your Past self why you are angry and resentful of Your Past self decisions. Say whatever you have to say while he / she listens to you. At the end, you feel so much better for saying what you have to say, because you were listened to. No excuses, no justifications. Just listened to.
Give your Past self a big hug, and with love, say you forgive him / her.
Walk into the water, and immerse your whole body. As you surface again, you feel free and happy. You feel free from those situations and bad feelings.
Do this more than once, until you feel the anger has gone away.
2. Be Happy and Positive in the NOW
Start looking at the wonderful things you have Now. Today is today, appreciate what is here Now. Look at your achievements and the positive in your life.
Look at all the positive you have TODAY. It is easier to focus on nice things that are general rather than trying to find specific things, which may then take you down the path of disappointment for not being quite accomplished yet.
Appreciate the wonderful sun, your warm and comfortable house, your friends, your family. Go outside and appreciate Nature. Just start by being happy for Today and what you have Now.
As the momentum starts, it will take you in a happy place from which you can focus better.
The more you focus on the positive, the more you will notice the good things in your life, NOW.
3. Feel excited about the Future
As you start appreciating the present time more and more, you start a momentum that will prepare you for the future. You start feeling excited about what is coming, and eager for more wonderful developments.
When you start appreciating the Now moments, you can feel excited about how much more there is to come to your life.
Visualise yourself as the person you truly are. Look at what you want to do now, where you want to go, and how you want to live your life.
Feel excited about your Future. Letting go of the past will release you from anger, disappointment and let’s face it, from an impossible task. You simply cannot have that time back, so keeping anger inside is keeping your ‘self’ imprisoned.
4. See yourself through the eyes of Source, God, the Universe
Start looking at yourself as Source sees You. Source, or God, or the Universe, loves you for what and who you are. It can only see the loving You and the wonderful being that you are.
You are perfect in every way, and it doesn’t see any flaws in You. Think about your children, or someone you love deeply, and how you see them. You see them with eyes of love, no matter what.
Source sees you as a perfect extension of itself, and therefore, no matter what, you are loved and adored.
Once you start feeling that love for yourself, it will be easier to start forgiving yourself.
I would like to emphasise that God, Source, the Universe, is not a religion, but a spiritual state. How you see Source, I cannot comment. But reaching out to your inner self in this spiritual manner, will bring you closer to your inner emotions, and will allow you to love your ‘self’.
Time is a vital element for this process to take effect. New habits take time to establish because our brains are wired to keep our routine easy. Our brains go back to same habits, whether these are driving a car, going to familiar places, even our reactions and our emotional habits. Whatever we have established in our lives, our brains help us keep the momentum going.
Trying to bring changes into your life is challenging your brain to install new patterns. But continue, and feel the progress taking place.
You are a magnificent being, and you deserve to live life fully, free from regrets, but focusing on the endless possibilities that life offers.