Self-forgiveness

by Dandy

In our quest for peace, healing, and self-esteem finding forgiveness for ourselves is crucial.  When we do not forgive ourselves the result is guilt, shame, and inadequacy. The benefits of forgiving others lifts the burdens we carry.  Resentments, anger, and destructive behaviors are freed when we forgive our trespassers.  We free ourselves from the prison bars we never should have been behind.  Forgiveness allows us to soar out of the role of victim and be more of who we were meant to be.

But what about self-forgiveness?  Maybe you are caring onto a past mistake.  It can be small or very big.  When we carry regret that is a way we fail to forgive ourselves.  Why are we so unwilling to forgive ourselves?  We believe that we deserve happiness, peace, and acceptance, but somewhere back we started to believe that the rules and regulations of society defined who we are supposed to be.  We stopped believing in our inherent worth.  We stopped trusting ourselves.  We received the message that, “we are not good enough”.  Messages such as, “if you would only just”, or “you failed”, or “this isn’t good enough”, became such a never ending litany for us to abuse ourselves with guilt and shame.  It is abuse when it is painful and damaging to our selves, and when we do it to ourselves it is just as scarring as when others do it.  To these perceived offenses, we became judge and jury and found ourselves guilty.  When parents, teachers, and other societal influencers are unable to love and accept themselves unconditionally this “learned attitude” is passed on as shame and guilt in attempt to control behavior. 

Shame and guilt are very different even though both are harmful and soul damaging.  Guilt is about behavior.  Shame is about being.  Shame reaches down deeper in its pervasiveness.  Children who grow up thinking they are “not good enough” become care givers and influencers for the next generation.  I’m not blaming caregivers and parents, for this is how they were parented.  True maturity can only be reached by forgiving our parents and care givers for being human, damaged humans at that.

When we start to believe that we are worthy, that there are no mistakes we begin down the path to self-forgiveness.  We must stop perceiving that the opportunities to learn as mistakes.

So how do we forgive ourselves?  There are many steps.

  • Think of a certain situation in which you carry regret.  Change your perception of it.  Remember that our thoughts create behavior, and it is our perception that creates our interpretations.
  • Accept yourself – perfection is non-existent anyway.
  • When you make an error in judgement, always admit to it, apologize, and let it go.  The lessons that have contributed to our growth and made us who we are need and deserve our appreciation.
  • Think of how you would respond to someone who has made the same “mistakes”.  Would you berate that person the way you’ve berated yourself?  How would you respond if you learned that a loved one was treating themselves in the way you treat yourself?

When we don’t love ourselves we tend to treat others harshly.  When we don’t forgive ourselves we tend not to forgive others.  It is a long and rough path to walk through life on.  Ease up.  Forgive yourself.  Let go.

Dandy

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32 Comments to “Self-forgiveness”

  1. Beautifully said Dandy. Thanks so much sharing the amazing power of self-forgiveness.

    Alex

  2. I like the 2nd point, even though you didn’t bullet point it( lol). There is no perfection. Of perfection is delved within the cracks of our imperfections. Love it…n tweeting…

  3. What you have written is so important. If we feel we must be perfect to have worth and cannot forgive ourselves because we are in fact imperfect we will never become all (or have all) we are meant to be.

    Imperfection has it’s own beauty let us accept and embrace it.

  4. Hi Dandy,

    Failing to forgive ourselves can be akin to carrying a heavy burden on our shoulders, or dragging a ball and chain through life. It takes tremendous effort to press forward because our regrets are holding us back.

    I love how you point out the difference between shame and guilt. I fully agree with you that our societal influences can have a negative impact on us. But as you rightly point out, it is not really their fault. They too have to struggle against the rules and regulations of society. Some have more success in managing this than others do. What is important here is to think for ourselves, to decide how we should live our lives and to disregard any advice or view that causes us to stop believing in or trusting ourselves.

    Haha! Well there is not much I can add for the steps to self-forgiveness. You have pretty much covered all the steps I would use myself. I would add that making mistakes is a part of life because we are human. It is inevitable. But we should never ever stop trying to make ammends if we are truly repentant and remorseful for our actions. Through this continued effort, we will work off the energy we feel with our guilt and shame in a more constructive way and one day earn our own forgiveness.

    Thank you for sharing this article! 🙂

    • Hi the Vizier,
      Thank you so much for your great comment. I’m glad you liked my post! Regret does burden us with a heavy heart. It is very difficult to walk through life carrying around shame and it is worth whatever it takes to shed that. Thanks again, I appreciate your support!

      Dandy

  5. Life is to short to hold onto regrets. When we forgive ourselves we learn. I have found that when I make a mistake, the first thing that I have to do is learn from it, so I don’t make it again. After that move on. When we have low self confidence and realize this is a problem educate yourself and figure out WHY. Once you know that you can move forward to a better life. The guilt stops and most of the time we can then see the humor in our own mistakes.
    Wonder article and thanks for the reminders, Dandy.
    Debbie

    • Hi Debbie,
      I absolutely agree with you. We really do have to examine ourselves to find the root of our problems. The burden of guilt and shame is too much. We must look deep within in order to be fee. The journey can be painful, but it is painful not to take that journey anyway. It takes alot of bravery to be the captain of our soul. Thanks Debbie!!

  6. Enjoyed this article very much. I was estranged from my parents for nearly a decade before reaching a catharsis that it just came down to differences in our core beings and extended forgiveness. It was very freeing.

    http://valleyguyobservations.blogspot.com

  7. Great post Dandy!
    You raise such vital points and important observations. Just the awareness of my thoughts that this post will generate will bring healing. It is so easy to hang on to shame, especially if we had experiences making that a habit as we were growing up!

    But it is so important, and freeing to let it go! I have explored many of these things in my life recently. When you make the CHOICE to become aware, let it go, and forgive yourself the bonus is pure lightness and JOY!
    Thanks Dandy! I enjoyed reading this!
    Jen

    • Hi Jen,
      I’m so pleased you like my blog! I’ve been checking out your blog too & it is fabulous! You are right that it is a choice to be aware and mindfull of our thoughts. It is empowering to choose our thoughts. We can choose to live a life without shame! Thank you for your lovely voice Jen!! Take care!

  8. Hi Dandy,

    Very nice post! It is very crucial that we forgive ourselves. We are human and all humans make mistakes. When we forgive ourselves, we are freeing ourselves from the negative energy. After all, if we can’t forgive ourselves, how can others forgive us? Thanks for sharing

    • Hi Dia!
      You are so right! Others won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive ourselves. We must choose to be worththy of forgivenss, that’s why making amends is so important. It is so very harmful to carry around that negative energy. Thanks for your comment and support Dia!

  9. A big subject Suzie tackled with grace and positivity. Self-forgiveness – ‘a hard subject matter to crack’ but when you have you never look back’, is my mantra but it can remain work in progress. To me I go to the heart of the emotion blocking the forgiveness and do some self-enquiry and inner talk to soothe any hurts. I’m not out of the woods but I can see a clearing as new stuff often arises called ‘life’. We must be kind to ourself and be our own best friend to get to the end. Abundant thanks for your gentle approach to what can be a tough nut topic.

    • Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment. Being gentle with ourselves is really important. No one is perfect. We won’t succeed in forgiving ourselves if we are too harsh with the inner talk. We deserve the tenderness. Thanks John!!

  10. Dandy,
    If we can’t forgive ourselves, we can’t forgive others. This post is needed. It’s the starting point of happiness.

  11. Dandy,
    I never knew the difference between shame and guilt. Thanks for enlightening me! There is so much to reflect upon in this post. I’ve made big strides in forgiveness in recent years ~ it took time. The whole question of worthiness is another avenue to walk. Thank you for encouraging self-examination. I appreciate your explorations so much!

    • Hi Sandra,
      I’m so glad you were able to take away from my post. Forgiveness does indeed take time and yes, worthiness is another huge topic. It affects everything in our lives! Maybe I should write a post on worthiness soon:) Thanks for your comment Sandra!!

  12. Hi Dandy:

    Nice blog you have here, I liked it and it is all about self improvement. That is a cool niche for blogging and every one wants to add more to their personality.

    I like your current post about forgiving ourselves. It is crucial at times to do so. But time heals it even if we can not do it. But it leaves marks in your self image too.

    I loved your site, it is a great place to find personal healing and improvement.

    Create a good day for yourself.

    fran A

    • Hello Fran,
      Thanks so much for your comment & compliment. I’m happy you like my blog. I do hope people can take away good from it. I just wanted to add my own positivity to the world, and what better way than blogging! I hope you keep checking in! Thanks Fran!

  13. Hi Dandy! For most people it’s easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. And then we end up carrying around a huge weight that is not needed. Freeing ourselves from guilty can hugely increase our happiness level.
    Thanks for your insights. Loving blessings!

  14. > Accept yourself – perfection is non-existent anyway.
    Well put.

    Long ago I learn to think of perfection as a journey, not a destination … which helped me think in terms of “how can I improve this” over time, and age like a fine wine.

  15. What an encouraging post! As a person goes through stages of self-rejection and or self-loathing, this is a very uplifting and reassuring message. As a person moves beyond the perceived need to forgive, then he reaches a point where self-love and self-acceptance flow more freely and they are felt.

    • Hi Liara,
      You always give me a lovely comment & I enjoy hearing from you and your beautiful voice. Self-love can be a tough one. I think the world is full of people who do not love themselves. We aren’t taught how to love ourselves. If we love ourselves than there are no mistakes; therefore, the need to forgive oursleves doesn’t exist. Thanks so much for your thought provoking comment Liara! Take care.

  16. This is a lovely post, Dandy! (I came across your blog via Katie Tallo’s)…

    Perhaps we have difficulty forgiving ourselves because we don’t know what else to do. If we aren’t equipped to deal with the unfamiliar freedom that’s likely to follow, maybe it’s easier to hold onto those mistakes, to a world we’re familiar with.

    When we notice the good stuff, the little accomplishments, the things we can do well, we can gain strength to overcome and forgive ourselves.

    Take good care,
    ~ Jane

    • Hi Jane,
      Thanks for checking out my blog & I’m happy you liked my post! You’re right, it is easier to hold onto our mistakes. Society doesn’t exactly encourage self-love & authenticity. But the strengths we gain prove that we are redeamable & worthy of good things. Thanks for your comment Jane! Stop by again!

  17. failures and regrets about the same is part of life, it is just the way we take it, matters. i have failed in many occasions, i remember failing in school only to join a better school, failing in collage only to have a successful business… failures does have an impact on our life and mostly in a positive way. but regrets and hard feelings about it or something that happened in the past, some decision that we must have not taken… or should have taken… but as you say, life is long and one must move on… the past never comes back, but you got the future in your control,

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