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5 Steps to Self-Forgiveness

There is no action, word or thought that is un-forgivable.

Forgiving yourself can be a tough one because the person who feels angry, and the person you’re angry with is the same person — YOU! We get stuck in self-judgment. We can’t let ourselves off the hook. Maybe we betrayed our own integrity. Maybe we betrayed someone we love. We think we are bad and we don’t know how to get over it.

Steps for self-forgiveness:

1. See your own innocence.

Close your eyes and imagine you are two: one of you is your higher self and the other of you is your childhood self. See how innocent that child is? If she did do something wrong – she didn’t do it on purpose! Her intentions were pure. She is beautiful. Sweet. Lovable. In your higher self, go to her and hug her. Give her some of the love she never had. Drink it in for a while.

2. Understand and accept.

Close your eyes and imagine you are two: one of you is your higher self, and the other of you is the one who did something you’re not proud of. From your higher self, look upon that unforgivable person. Ask yourself, “What motivated the unsavory behavior? Did it come out of a deep wound? Did it come out of loneliness? Depression? Despair? What would have made me behave in this way?” Find a reason. If you can’t find one, make up the most plausible reason for the moment (this will help you get closer). There is ALWAYS a reason we do what we do.

When we behave badly, it is ALWAYS originating from a place of inner confusion, hurt, or despair.


3. Love yourself. Free yourself.

From your higher-self perspective, open your heart. Go to the “bad” part of you and hug her. Imagine love pouring out of your heart and showering her with it. You may imagine that she resists it. That’s ok — stay with it anyway. Shower love. Say, “You made a mistake, but I know that you are good in your core. The mistake can be repaired. Love will show you how to make repairs with those whom you have wronged. I give you the gift now of release. You may start anew here.” Let the love seep into the places that you cannot forgive in yourself. Let it wash you. If you stay with it, it will change these places… you’ll feel and visualize shifts happening right before your inner eyes. Let the sighs come. Let the ease come. Feel the pressure lift.

4. Do this every day until you can see yourself differently.

5. Clean things up with others.

If it’s possible, repair the damage with people you have hurt. Make amends. That’s all that’s required. If you are sincere, they will know, and you will know. Constant and repeated penance is not necessary.

You’ve heard it before — you’re human. You make mistakes like everyone else. The TRUTH is — there is no mistake you could make in all the world that would make you un-lovable. There is no action, word or thought that is un-forgivable. Spiritual growth means we must do the deep work of self-forgiveness. Until this work is complete, we’ll have trouble moving on into healthy relationships with others. The Universe doesn’t make mistakes. Every moment is a brilliant opportunity for spiritual evolution. Self-love is the beginning.

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Paige Bartholomew

Paige Bartholomew is a licensed psychotherapist who holds a Master’s Degree from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas.

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Akiroq Brost
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I find that looking at myself as my inner child or childhood self can really shift my self-dialogue from criticism to support. Realizing that a lack of forgiveness cannot and will not serve us is so important. It just creates more conflict and despair when we hold a grudge against ourselves. Recognizing yourself as a fallible human being, entitled to make mistakes, even expected to make mistakes removes this idealistic expectation of perfection. Knowing you do and have done what you could to make amends, to make things right settles the conscience. It is part of our responsibity to ourselves and our fellow human. Thank you for writing this article. I appreciated your solid and actionable advice.

christineprice
Member

That article was very helpful. I said something to my sister 4 years ago that was no bid deal but she got very angry with me because she knows it is true. I apologised for my comment, but in spite of that she still holds a grudge and keeps acting in a toxic way. After my apology she said ‘you should never have said it in the first place. She thinks she now has to make me suffer and be punished for the rest of my life by her. She is very disturbed. I am a kind and generous person and have many friends. She is the only one I have a problem with. Your article totally describes my situation. Thank you