I’ve often been so intrigued by the act of self-forgiveness. It seems like such a simple concept to embrace. But when I talk to my clients about it, it seems to bring up a wild internal conflict inside some of them. As some of you know, in my book The Five V’s: A Guide to Empowerment & Happiness; Written with Love by A Modern Day Spiritual Warrior, I talk about the importance of combating the Victim / Villain thinking pattern. Self-forgiveness is one of the tools we use to do this.
Client after client shows up to tell me things like, “I can’t seem to stop doing things that sabotage my life,” or “I just can’t seem to find true happiness.” So we start diving in to the thought patterns that they currently employ in their day to day life. Almost always, there is a negative thought pattern or two, or like – a hundred that they can’t seem to stop doing. These thought patterns seem to define some of them to their core. These thought patterns are full of self-rejection, self-deprecation, self-hatred even for some. It breaks my heart as I hear these amazing people sit before me in the lives that they have created for themselves, so desperate to get out of it. So desperate to find that childlike innocence they were born with.
Some of them blame their parents, some blame society, others blame their financial upbringing or the government, a teacher in school, a group of kids when they were growing up, a bully, a sibling, a boss, a lack of schooling, their age (young or old), lost opportunities, an ex lover, a current lover, someone who victimized them violently in the past, a war, themselves… the list goes on and on and on……… but until we stop this blaming and look at the ONE AND ONLY PERSON who is responsible for our happiness, we will forever be lost in the Victim / Villain cycle of thinking and behaving. Who is this “one and only person responsible” you ask? Some of you already have figured it out… it is ourselves.
I’m not sitting here saying that no one else was a part of this, maybe someone did something to you which started the thoughts which continue to sabotage our current experiences, but we have a choice in the matter of how we react in the NOW.
Self-forgiveness is one of the keys to breaking the pattern of the Victim / Villain thoughts and actions. Although we tend to blame others for our life experiences, I usually find that more often than not, there is a place inside ourselves which also is blaming ourselves as well. For example, let’s say a child was told they were being “too needy” or called “a big baby” when they were younger, maybe just asking for some comfort from a parent, and then were denied that simple hug. If denied enough times in this way, this child may grow up in to adulthood and be wary of asking for support, or comfort from others. Deep inside they may grow to reject that part of themselves which is “needy” or “a baby”… they may categorize it as being weak, or pathetic (these are two words I hear often when I ask people why they don’t ask for what they need). This is just one form of self rejection which manifests over time, but there are many other forms of self rejection. These acts of self-rejection can become hardened wounds which keep us stuck in a mindset which is doomed to unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life. This is NOT what we were born to live like. So how do we change it quickly?
In my experience, self-forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools I have been given for myself and so I share it with others.
Before I say this next part, I also want to acknowledge those who feel like they have done something so bad or wrong that they cannot or will not forgive themselves. Those people feel the need to abuse themselves or beat themselves up to “never forget” what they have done. Although I see the point in wanting to acknowledge and take responsibility for the things we have done which may have harmed others or ourselves, I also want to say that staying in this mindset doesn’t serve anyone. Applying self-forgiveness can open you up to creating a new experience for everyone involved, or anyone who will encounter you in the future. Staying in this mindset keeps everything energetically stagnant. Maybe the things you have done or experienced can be set towards a different future if you decide to forgive and make amends in the best way possible. Never do it again, repair the destruction, teach others how to avoid following in your footsteps, offering assistance to those who have been affected by yourself or others actions or words. You can learn from your past mistakes. But continuing to hate yourself and abuse yourself will never create more good in this life so start creating a path towards healing instead.
Self-forgiveness followed by a living amends is a powerful powerful experience.
So, what is something we can do now to start this self-forgiveness process? I’ll give you my favorite one from my book here. It’s simple to do. Take a piece of paper and write the following down big enough for you to read it from about 1-2 feet away.
I forgive you for all past ‘perceived’ wrongs. The truth is, you were doing the best you could at the time and if you could have done better, you would have. I love you, I forgive you and I set you free.
Read it while looking yourself in your eyes. Once you have memorized it, do it whenever you see yourself in a reflection of any kind. Say it out loud. Yes, it will feel very strange in the beginning. My clients report all kinds of emotions when they first begin. Some feel embarrassment, others feel anger, relief, sadness, happiness. But in the end, all of them tell me that they feel it working in all areas of their life. They feel happier and “lighter” than they did before.
If you’ve made it this far in this blog post, I implore you to try it for yourself and share share share this with as many people as you feel it may help.
And yes, I do this often for myself when I feel a negative Visceral reaction to life. I look inside to find out where I am rejecting myself and I forgive that part of myself.
I have been kind of a perfectionist over the years and learning to forgive myself for all ‘perceived’ wrongs has been a freeing experience. I wish you the freedom I have found by doing it as well.
Author: The Five V’s: A Guide to Empowerment and Happiness; Written with Love by A Modern Day Spiritual Warrior