Forgive Yourself

This strategy seems highly simplistic and yet most people struggle to do this throughout their entire life. This is a very powerful coping strategy when dealing with anxiety, if you use it. People with anxiety think a lot about what they are doing wrong. Frequently berating themselves, many do this all day long. Subconsciously using their own thoughts against themselves for things that they did or didn’t do. Frequently, their intention is to be kinder towards themselves except their thoughts wonder off into this cycle of questioning and doubting themselves. It will be life transforming for those who can learn to start treating themselves with kindness, and recognising that it’s time to start being a supporter of themselves.

Solution: And a way to do this is to forgive yourself.

  • You believe you made a poor decision a moment ago or made mistakes in the past. Accept it now, it’s gone. Forgive yourself.
  • If you didn’t muster up the will to talk in a meeting or feel like you embarrassed yourself in one, embrace the lesson, release the cringe and decide to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for anything and everything and this will give you greater compassion towards yourself, you can’t begin to heal until you do this.

So, what about when it comes to others who have either unintentionally or intentionally hurt you? And all the times this has happened and you have pretended you were ok about it all. Yet frequently you find yourself going over it again in your mind, and even though some of these experiences has happened many days, weeks, or years ago, you still find yourself going over it again, hurting at their reckless actions or words as though it has just happened. 

This can steer up many restless emotions as there are many layers to this, in the end forgiveness is a choice and often not a one-time event, this needs to be conscious and deliberate.

Forgiveness: forgiveness is the act of transforming a grievance into understanding and acceptance. Through this process, you are now able to release the hurt and bitterness towards the offender for their perceived wrong doing. At its core, forgiveness is unconditional love.

Forgiveness is not: Forgetting

The purpose of forgiveness should be to learn from the experience and move forward freely, you should not attempt to forget it or act as though it never happened. Rather, you let go of the pain but retain the memory and its associated wisdom. Otherwise, you are simply losing an opportunity for personal or spiritual growth and ultimate inner joy and fulfilment in your own human experience.

 “I am letting it go of this experience and taking its wisdom with me, because I don’t need to wake up with these heavy feelings every day. What I decide to do with our relationship is another matter.’

 Understanding Forgiveness:

Richard Fitzgibbons, MD, author of ‘Exploring Forgiveness’ talks of 3 types of Forgiveness:

COGNITIVE FORGIVENESS: reflecting and exploring one’s hurt in the situation that brought it about and then making the decision to forgive.

EMOTIONAL FORGIVENESS: seen the incident from the offender’s perspective. Forgiving due to empathy of the offender’s position.

SPIRTUAL FORGIVENESS: we feel we are unable to forgive so we pass on the choice to a higher power, ‘’ it’s not up to me to forgive, only God can do that.’’

 All three can eventually lead to letting go of one’s pain.

  1. Emotional Forgiveness> through compassion and understanding.
  2. Spiritual Forgiveness> through faith and surrender.
  3. Cognitive Forgiveness> through personal growth.

Of the three, it is the cognitive that provides the most benefit due to it also taking into consideration elements of emotional and spiritual forgiveness – (we cannot fully reflect on an issue unless we have spiritual understanding and the offender’s perspective). No matter which comes more naturally to you, it is important to recognise that the key to forgiveness is held by you, whether you are the victim or the offender.

Journal- Getting Curious with Forgiveness

>   How heavy is the burden that you are carrying? Identify and list the people (including yourself) and the associated incidents that require your forgiveness.

>  Choose one person and declare that your intention is to forgive them. Remembering that your intention is to actually do it not to attempt to do it.

>  Understand your purpose for your forgiveness. Some examples: Forgiving to re-establish, continue or heal a relationship. Or it could be, to repair your own inner peace allowing you to go your separate ways. Or another example could be to enhance future relationships to move on in life to experience more inner joy and grow spiritually. Whatever it is for you, write down your purposes for forgiving this person.

> With curiosity and no judgement reflect on and write down what occurred.

> Look up the empty chair process, online or on my website, using this process talk to the offender about how you feel.

> What boundaries were crossed within this incident?

> What was it about the incident that anger or hurt you the most? As much as possible, allow yourself to feel this emotion.

> What was the offender’s intention?

> Can you identify any contributing factors to the offender’s behaviour?

> And lastly, take yourself to a quiet place, without interruptions and sit in meditation. Imagine in your mind the feeling of forgiveness. If forgiveness was a place, what would it look like? Mentally create that place using images, colours and sounds etc. Stay in that space and allow yourself to feel this feeling of forgiveness. When you are ready, visualise the person you want to forgive within the place of forgiveness. Allow your intuition to guide you from here. You might want to talk to the person, hug them, say ‘I forgive you’, or simply sit with them in a comfortable silence. Stay within the space for as long as you require. Repeat the meditative process daily for as long as you need to.

Releasing your Resistance to Forgiveness:

“I choose to not waste my energy focusing on my anger bitterness. I’d sooner live in happiness and harmony. I choose to forgive.”

“An inability to forgive simply causes further pain for both parties and that is not a karmic cycle that I choose to enter into.”

“Life is a gift that I cherish, making it wasteful to live in the past. I’m now choosing to forgive so that I live fully in the present and in doing so, making the most of my life.”

‘’People are perfect and sometimes they do things they regret. I can fully accept that that is part of being human. I’m choosing to not punish someone for being human as I am one too.’