You’ll never be the best version of you if you don’t stop holding yourself back. Forgiving yourself for your past, your mistakes and even things beyond your control are the first steps on the path to self-love.
In the last issue, I discussed how to let go of resentment with others, but forgiving yourself may be an even more difficult task. When we make bad choices, decisions and mistakes, we sometimes attempt to blame someone else, but in our hearts we know the blame falls on us. We are the ones in control of our actions therefore we are responsible for them.
Have you done something terrible to another person? Have you missed out on something you wish you hadn’t because of a choice you made? Did you blow off something important that you can’t get back? Did you waste time on something that turned out to not be worth it? Do you wish you could go back in time to change something you said, or would have resulted in a better outcome? Are you mad at yourself?
If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then it sounds like some forgiveness is in order.
If you hurt someone, blew someone off or someone else suffered the brunt of your actions, in any way—apologize. It doesn’t matter if they forgive you; forgiveness is on them and something they will have to live with. Apologize because you know you were wrong and because you owe it to them, and yourself, to own it.
Whether you hurt someone else or if you were the only one who suffered from your actions, I’m sure you already feel terrible about it. If you do, you’re already partly there. Tell yourself you’re sorry. Cry if you need to. Let every last shred out and be really fucking sorry.
When you apologize to yourself, you also have the power to forgive and you have the advantage of knowing how truly sorry you are. Have some compassion for yourself like you’d want someone else to have for you. It doesn’t matter if you think you deserve it, because you do. Everyone deserves compassion, and not all of us are lucky enough to get it from the people we need it from most.
You are the one person who will be by your side your entire life, so if you can’t offer yourself compassion, then who do you really have? Give it freely to yourself. And I’m not telling you that it’s okay to run around being an asshole, then forgiving yourself because that’s just shitty and will come back around to bite you in the ass. I’m telling you if there’s an emotional blockage because you’ve had a hard time forgiving, you need to have compassion and let it go.
Things happen the way they are supposed to. Sure, if it were possible for you to go back into time and change everything, things would be different. But you can’t. And since you can’t go back in time, you need to accept the fact that it’s happened and there’s nothing you can do about it. Don’t shrug it off, of course, but know that the “what if’s, shoulda’s, woulda’s & coulda’s” simply can’t happen.
When you accept the fact that you can’t change the past, you’re more likely to forgive yourself.
While you can’t change the past, you can improve your present and change the future. You don’t have to be trapped into the mold of the person you once were. There are plenty of pessimistic people out there shouting that, “people never change!” and “once a cheater always a cheater!”.
Why do they get to decide that about you? Why do they get to be the ones that say you can’t change? Do you believe them?
You’re the only one who truly knows what’s inside you’re heart, and if you want to change, you can. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it takes a desire and willingness to get started. That’s it. You get to plant the seed of change and forge your own path, while the naysayers are really the ones who can’t break free.
Just like when you want to forgive someone else or want them to forgive you, it won’t happen right away. You may need to repeat the steps a few times or you may get stuck on one. Know that it’s okay. Take your time and really flush yourself of all the toxic energy and negative feelings.
Take each day, one at a time. Know that with each baby step, no matter how small, progress is being made.
Listen to me, it doesn’t matter what you did, or how bad you think you are—you deserve forgiveness. I will repeat: It doesn’t matter what you did, or how bad you think you are—You deserve forgiveness. Love yourself first; forgive yourself for all you believe you’ve done wrong and love yourself some more.
Forgiving yourself won’t just make you a better person for you, but it will trickle into the other areas and relationships in your life as well. A huge weight will be lifted from your shoulders and you’ll be able to fit in more positivity and light, where that darkness once was.
What have you done in the past you needed to forgive yourself? Were you able to do so?
*This article was first published in the Summer 2014 issue of Indie Chick Magazine.
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