Looking For A Miracle? Forgive Yourself!

We all know the importance of forgiveness way too well, yet, most of us struggle to wrap our heads around the concept. Forgiveness as Wikipedia defines it, is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). Many people misconstrue this by assuming that this means we don’t condone any wrong-doing, nor does it prove us wrong and the other person who hurt us right.

Why is forgiveness so important then, so much that every religious and spiritual community has been propogating it since time immemorial? The answer to this question is very simple- it is important because it is nothing but a choice that we need to make ourselves, on a consistent basis to dissolve our attachments, and debiliating emotional charge to a traumatic event, or a person. It is a choice to release resentment, anger, bitterness, hatred, and the desire to punish or avenge past offenses or wrongdoings, in order to set one self free on a mental, emotional, physical, and a spiritual level.

Many argue for a lifetime that this is nothing but a naive concept, that over looks the problem, and that it is right and justified if someone or something is punished and put through the same turmoil as he/she did. Fair enough. But, a question to be asked one self is, “What am I going to get battling the memory, long past the battle with the situation or the person is over?” If the answer is anything but empowering, the realization that spending one’s entire energy in fighting what cannot be undone is doing nothing but crushing them with the burden of pain, judgement and sorrow. For some, not forgiving serves as a motivator to prove and achieve something, physically, financially, or emotionally, only to realize that their association of forgiveness with pain instead of love, punishing, getting even, and judging damages them on a deeper level. A facade of ego insists that the past be changed in the way we want and expected it to be, before we can attain happiness and peace, which keeps people stuck in a rut.

The single most reason people are unable to forgive anyone or anything, is because, they haven’t been able to forgive themselves. A particular event or person could have presented itself with a reminder of this underlying problem, The truth is, if we can’t come to terms with our own past wrongdoings, then our present experiences becomes colored by shame. We only see the mistakes in in ourselves, so much that we do not consider ourselves even good enough to be forgiven. It is often said, that forgiving someone else is much easier than forgiving yourself, which is nothing but a disempowering mental conditioning that is set by authority figures, early in our childhood. This has two implications- either a person lives with immense lack of self-esteem and many a times going numb with pain, or turns out to rebel, and in many cases, turn into a narcissist. This does nothing but sap one’s energy, manifesting its lack in various mental and physical problems. Shaming ourselves with self-loathing and unremmitting guilt will only weaken us. Shame drains the energy we need to respond fully to others, making it difficult to be sensitive to their emotions. We might think that constantly reliving the offense will prevent its recurrence, but in reality such replaying tends to diminish the capacity to live well.

If you are struggling to forgive yourself, and others below are 8 suggestions that will help you see yourself, others and the situation, in a much better light, freeing you from the shackles of pain, permanently.

  1. Acknowledge what has happened, and your behavior in the past, in a non-judgemental way. As good as it is to be honest with yourself, don’t tear yourself down with it. The idea here is to make an effort to shift focus from a problem, to a solution. Sit with this idea, and consider the pros and cons of forgiving yourself, and others. It would be a good idea to write this down, so that its more easier for you to come back to it later.

  1. Make guilt a friend, but don’t stay that. Guilt is a wonderful emotion that alerts us when something is wrong, and something needs to be changed. Many people end up feeling guilt of being guilty, or guilty of being stuck in a situation or behavior. Changing your perception about dealing with guilt, will help you change your life, in a much more empowering way.

  2. Don’t judge your core-worth as a human being. Remember, you are human, and your worth is much larger that your wrong decisions and mess-ups. A wrong decision does not mean that you will never be able to change the course of your life, and get back on track. Accept mistakes as part of being human, and see a sigh of relief, automatically leave your body.

  3. Let go of the need to be perfect and right in every situation, with every person. We are all imperfect, and there is nothing wrong with that. As they always say, ‘To err is human!’. It is unkind to condemn yourself , which only leads to a more self-destructive pattern of not feeling good enough to do anything, or to be forgive. Shifting your mindset to, ”It’s okay to stumble and fall; I can always get back up again.” has the ability to change your energy levels energy in almost an instant.

  4. Make peace with the fact that life can throw difficult challenges along the way, that will only enable us to grow. Remember the future is still uncharted, and focusing on possibilities of things going right again is all that will motivate us to over come the hard times.

  5. Commit to live as honorably and constructively as you can, using what you now know, and with all the resources that you have. This is all anyone can do to make a start to change.In forgiving ourselves, we recognize that we have the potential to change and to reclaim the goodness within us.

  6. Write down, and make a physical list of all all the good that you have done in the past, and also all that you think is good about you. As daunting as it is, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. If on days you are unable to find anything, even making a note that your commiting yourself to a journey of forgiveness, will help tremendously.

  7. Let the offender and the traumatic situation off the hook, with forgiveness is the final destination in the journey. Realizing that that no one in his or her right mind could inflict hurt, unless they are deeply hurt themselves, will help in easing out the anger, and forgiving completely. It could well be that the wrong-doer might be suffering or ignorant of how to get his or her needs met constructively.