Posts tagged ‘unconditional love’

November 22, 2010

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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