Most of us know that hanging onto anger or guilt is a difficult and usually unhappy endeavor. Even though forgiving someone is something we have usually been taught is a good thing. How often do you forgive yourself though? Let’s look out how to forgive yourself and move forward.
We tend to think of our lives as moving through time.
Beginning with our past, moving to our present and looking toward a future. What if forgiveness meant letting go of our own past or the past that we have created in our heads? It feels pretty difficult and rather uneasy, doesn’t it?
When we forgive ourselves, we’re trying to release something that almost feels like it is part of us. That’s because we are releasing who we were in the moment that we did whatever it was. When we forgive what someone else has done, in a sense it can feel easier. We’re releasing a part of our past that isn’t essentially who we feel we are. So, how do you forgive yourself and move forward?
To release the part of your past that you need to forgive, it’s helpful to remember that we’re all doing the best we can at any moment. If you had known that your action would cause pain to others or yourself, you probably wouldn’t have done it, right? And even if you knew that you were causing damage at the time, you had no idea how much you would regret it in the future.
To many of us, seeing ourselves as flawed feels quite vulnerable and even scary. We’re basically wired to survive while trying to avoid mistakes at all costs, and when we do make a misstep, our first impulse is to hide it. In order to forgive ourselves, we first have to admit to ourselves that we blew it. We have to take ownership and acknowledge the flaw or mistake—and that feels almost counter to our sense of survival!
Isn’t it difficult to admit we were wrong sometimes?
The more practice you have the easier it feels though. Isn’t that wonderful?! It means your mistakes are actually a good thing! There you go! Forgiveness!
It’s helpful to remember that mistakes, failures, and even incredibly stupid acts are part of being human. It’s how we learn and grow. If you’re never embarrassed or wrong and if you never make a mistake, you’re probably staying within a pretty narrow comfort zone and not really growing much.
Appreciate your missteps for what they are, a good thing. A lesson learned and a chance for you to make positive changes in your future.