“Forgive yourself for what you think you’ve done or not done. At every moment, you had your reasons for all of your actions and decisions. You’ve always done the best that you could do. Forgive yourself.” ~ Doreen Virtue
Do you know that difficulties with self-forgiveness are linked with suicide attempts, eating disorders, and alcohol abuse, among other problems. The ability to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, no matter how big or small they may be, is a necessary step towards psychological healing.
I am not one of those people who plan their every move. I just can’t live that way. I prefer going with the flow or rather going with my heart. In doing so, sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes big ones and sometimes small ones.
I never said I was perfect, nor do I aspire to be perfect. But, somehow we have all been hardwired to be that way isn’t it? From the time you think you start to understand or comprehend life, we are fed the perfectionism myth. The perfect look, the perfect body, the perfect scores in academics, the perfect set of friends. …Anything remotely less than perfect is just not acceptable.
I grew up in a time when if you didn’t have the right look, the perfect high marks in academics, you were considered a lost cause. Its only when I grew up, did I realize that its not how much you score, or how perfect everything in you or around you is that matters…. What matters is just already right there…its our own true self. IN fulfilling the qualms of society and its perfectionism attitude we do often forget what we truly are. We are living lives we are supposed to, but not lives we want to.
But till I reached that point of self-realization, I was marred with self blame, shame and guilt…mostly because as human nature would have it, when things go wrong, we first blame ourselves.
How many of us can look at our self in the mirror today and say with utmost belief- YES, I AM HAPPY!?
If you can then You are on the right track….but if you can’t, then there are two reasons for that:
- Hard Wired Perfectionism
- The inability to forgive YOURSELF ~ for the shame and guilt we carry for ourselves from the past.
Coincidentally both these reasons are intertwined and go hand in hand.
Try and think about your life, and analyze where you are automatically falling into the trap of perfectionism. See how you look or try to look -> is it for your happiness or for society’s. See how you eat, drink, talk, play, Live….is it for your happiness or for that of others who expect a certain something from you? You will find the answer yourself.
In living or trying to live the perfect life for so long, haven’t you held yourself responsible for so many things that have not gone right in your life? I know I was living under that very cloud for far too long. I just couldn’t forgive myself for my imperfections.
3 Healing Ways Towards Self-Forgiveness
As difficult as it may seem to be able to forgive yourself for the harm you have caused yourself, the good news is that there are several healing ways to go about it. These ways have helped me and I am absolutely sure they will help you too:
- Self-understanding: Understand that you did the best that you could at the time. Allow yourself to accept that there was nothing more you could’ve done at the time.
- Accept Your Humanity: To accept your humanity means to accept your limitations. After all you are a mortal human who has good days and bad days. Who has emotions, good ones and bad ones. It’s within this human nature to err, to make mistakes. Its how we learn.
- Make Amends with Yourself: Just like when we hurt another person, we go out of our way to make amends with them. That might include taking responsibility for your actions and asking for forgiveness. You need to do this exact thing with yourself too. Take responsibility for when you hurt yourself or for past mistakes and forgive yourself. Pour it all on a piece of paper and then use this affirmation as you release this paper in a nearby stream or pond, “I forgive myself for…(write your past event/trauma/mistake you want to heal from here)… I AM doing the best that I can in this moment and that IS Enough.” Repeat this step as many times as you need, for as many past traumas/pains, to completely feel free of old guilt or shame.
There is only so much you can do and so much you can hurt…..Forgive yourself and heal.
Holding onto old feelings of shame and guilt have a way of stifling our growth and zapping us of our present moment happiness. Letting it all go allows you to start the healing process and taking control of that happiness.
Today as I type this and look out of the new window, all I see is green and all I smell is the fragrance of the clean air coming through and through my home. And today as I look into the window of my soul, the window to myself….all I see is light, love and happiness. The best emotional possessions which make me rich and fulfilled. A direct result of healing through self forgiveness. What more can I ask for?
What do you see when you look through the window of your soul? Are there a lot of negative emotional possessions you need to let go of? Or have you been able to forgive yourself..?? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
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10 thoughts on “3 Healing Ways Towards Self-Forgiveness”
Appreciating, “Make Amends with Yourself: Just like when we hurt another person, we go out of our way to make amends with them. That might include taking responsibility for your actions and asking for forgiveness. You need to do this exact thing with yourself too.” Very timely. Thanks!
Believing that everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve got — including me — has been a useful thought. Thanks for your post.
Such a much needed post during these times.
I can completely relate to “I grew up in a time when if you didn’t have the right look, the perfect high marks in academics, you were considered a lost cause.” But would add if your daddy didn’t have right occupation or if you weren’t connected to certain people or look a certain way, you were also a lost cause too. Self compassion goes a LONG way. Thank you for sharing this
We are living lives we are supposed to, but not lives we want to. Bitter fact of life.
We’re so hardwired to believe that we only need to forgive others that we forget we too need to gift of self-forgiveness, Zeenat. Thank you for the guidance.
I often use Louise Hay’s affirmation for forgiveness: “Forgiveness is a gift I give myself. I forgive and I set myself free.”
This is a heart-warming and inspirational post, Zeenat. Forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves and then to others. Thank you for sharing your pearls of wisdom.
What a gem of a post Zeenat. I have traveled a long way from the pits of guilt and shame to a place when I can be a loving companion to myself. I had to forgive myself along the way for not being “there” yet and even now, when my old patterns show up from time to time, I have found a way to be gentle with myself.
Self-forgiveness was essential for me to heal the wounds of my past. I had a lot I could feel guilty and ashamed about – and I did for far too long. It only makes things worse. When I decided to forgive myself with the mantra “I was doing the best with who I was at the time,” it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. It did not happen immediately and is a lengthy process, but one well worth it. Every other relationship and thing in your life is affected by your relationship with yourself.
Dear Zeenat, I have never thought of making amends to myself before. What a beautiful idea. I love it, and I love this affirmation. I will definitely put it to work. Because, being human, I have that perfectionist streak too!
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