Forgiving yourself is in many ways more difficult than forgiving others.
All of us yearn for the freedom to live without guilt, shame or sadness. Some people are afraid to forgive themselves because they fear who they would be without the anger, resentment and vulnerability. Many people actually define their entire existence in terms of what they did years, or even decades ago! Is it possible they want their entire life to become a shrine to one painful event? Why? What is the emotional payoff for that? If we let all that go, do we lose a part of ourselves?
When you are in an emotional state of shame, self-hatred and pain you are being ruled by your ego mind.
We can only be in one state at any given moment, either in a state of fear or a state of love. The ego, once developed to protect you as child now runs amok in fear creating stories about what a bad person you are for what you did. It creates a continuing loop, and each time you relive the event in your mind, the neural pathways that were created become deeper and stronger, so it is easier to “fall back” into that thought and feeling. It poisons your mind, your heart, your body, and your life, and often the lives of those around you.
Before long, you view everything through that filter and your vision, your thoughts, and your emotional processes are so poisoned that the only thing you can see, think, or feel is pain, shame, resentment, and disappointment.
When you're carrying around a sense of blame for something that has happened in the past, this bundle of negativity burrowing deep into yourself can cause a never-ending, pervasive sense of unhappiness. You cannot function properly if you resent yourself. Your relationships, your work, your physical health and your emotional well-being are all likely to suffer significantly if you are in a state of unresolved conflict with yourself. Being bitter against your own soul for the mistakes of your past will lead to self-loathing, reduced self-esteem and lack of self-worth.
Forgiving yourself is an important act of moving forward and releasing yourself from the past.
Self-forgiveness is an act of self-love. It's also a way of protecting your health and general well-being and opening your heart. We all affected by perfectionism on some level, whether identified as overt or covert, an unrealistic expectation of oneself, that one should never fail. Self-forgiveness helps the perfectionist within us move from unrealistic expectations to more realistic expectations. Stop punishing yourself. Yes, you made a mistake, but you are human. Accept your vulnerabilities and faults. There is no need to keep replaying the mistake each day in your head. Grieve. It's important to mourn the loss of unmet expectations and the loss the offense has brought.
If you're stuck in a spiral of self-hate and never feeling good enough because of things that were once said to you or you said to hurt someone, self-forgiveness is essential. Let go of other people's expectations for you. You have no control over what other people do and say. Sometimes people do and say things unconsciously that most likely have been motivated by the other person's own shortcomings. Living your life in self-loathing because you don't feel you lived up to someone else's expectations is giving your power away to another, remaining hostage and bound to them. Once you start to forgive yourself and practice self-compassion daily it will bring about a corrected self-image, one in which you feel secure and worthy as you accept your imperfections as well as the imperfections of others.
Withholding forgiveness requires a lot of energy.
Wouldn't you rather use that energy to live in the present instead of staying stuck reliving the past? Wouldn't you prefer to live in the “now,” enabling you to move towards a more vibrant, happy future with a renewed sense of purpose, focusing on change, improvement and self-love? The choice always lies within your grasp, but it's up to YOU to reach out and choose to make the decision to forgive yourself or ask for forgiveness.
Sometimes we hold the erroneous belief that forgiving ourselves too easily removes the consequences of our behaviors or even condones it. Instead however, self-forgiveness assists us in facing the reality and impact of our behavior, which hurt others and ourselves and which urges us to make amends & restitution. Self-forgiveness helps us become responsible and accountable for ourselves.
Asking for forgiveness is a noble act.
It is an acknowledgement that you hurt someone and it makes it easier for the forgiver to forgive. Yes it does take courage to admit your role in the situation, but at the same time it reduces the shame and guilt you carry. It takes a burden away, but this is only the first step. If you really want to be forgiven by the person that you hurt, just apologizing is not enough. You have to try to right the wrong. A little effort can go a long way. While nothing can undo an unfortunate experience, making amends counts. It might help the injured party feel like you are doing something and it can go a long way to helping a person get over the wound, forgive and move on.
Forgiving oneself does not mean we forget what we have done.
It is one of the greatest acts of self-love to learn. Why? Because the ego will not vanish over night. Our past ‘story’ will not vanish over night. And when we feel comfortable, happy and healed, the ego can come sneaking on in so cunningly and throw us right back to where we never wanted to go again. It will happen. It’s inevitable.
We learn from it. The memories will always be there.
When we make the decision to love ourselves by letting go we open the door to healing, allowing our painful feelings to flow through us and to be worked through. It is then the emotional healing aspect of the process of Self-Forgiveness begins. Self-Forgiveness is a must-have in everyone’s toolkit. When you self-forgive, you are self-loving…and this my dear, takes you to the home that resides in your heart.