Updated: Mar 11, 2021
How do you forgive yourself? Four basic steps to get you working on forgiving you.
Because forgiving yourself can be the hardest forgiveness work you do, you may want to start there but you'll probably save it for last. One because us we usually save the hard work for last and two because we, especially us ladies, are in the habit of putting ourselves last. If you even consider yourself at all. When it comes to forgiveness, we tend to find compassion for others transgressions easier than releasing our own guilt. We will take all the blame and let everyone else off the hook. How many regrets are you holding on to right now that you “blame” yourself for going wrong or just not so right? Of those regrets, think of one that you have forgiven yourself for. If you’re like me you’re coming up blank.
So, how do we get past this tendency to hold a grudge against ourselves?
Meditate On It
First things first, we need to take a deep look inside ourselves and inventory the negative thoughts and feelings about places and times in our life. One of the best ways to get in touch with our deepest thoughts and feelings is to meditate on it. Some people meditate or take personal inventory while they run, shower, sleep, etc. I actually came to the revelation that I was still holding on to so much shame and guilt over my recent divorce during a run. I realized I was blaming myself for avoiding all the red flags. When I can to this discover, I actually laughed out loud right there on the trail. People walking around me actually turned to look at me, the looney tune cracking herself up, but I was so happy for my revelation I didn’t even care. I was so happy I felt free for the first time in a long time. It was like duhh, forgive yourself dummy. So, whatever your preferred method of meditating, do it with the intention of understanding if you are holding yourself personally responsible for things that haven't worked out so well for you in the past.
Replay, Relive, Revisit
Next we need to replay, relive, and revisit, the events from our past that need forgiveness. The key is to do so from a safe distance. Take a birds eye view not a first person reenactment of these events. We need to recognize all of the feelings that were present the first time and what feelings still remain now. The key is going to be to take unbiased stock of the situation that has caused us pain so that we can get to the root of the hurt. This can be part of our meditation process like a guided meditation taking us through our present pain, deeper, and deeper, and deeper still to get to the heart of it all. This work could also be done through suggestive sleeping. Right before bed, think of the scene you want to revisit and try to visualize the scene completely as if you are day dreaming then allow yourself to drift off. Once we reach the bottom, think about what went wrong, revisit and relive the incident if needed. This revisiting part of the process is all about discovering where blame was placed. Initially we may have blamed the other party. Since then, we may have forgiven them so we believed we were past it. However, if its popping up forefront in our minds through this process then there’s something else there. Is it us, is it guilt, is it blame? More than likely we have done the hard work to forgive the other party but have not taken the time to forgive ourselves so that we can let it go. We probably didn’t even notice we had been holding personal blame because we have probably been doing it for a long time.
Break it Down
Now that we have a deeper understanding of the events that are still plaguing us, we can analyze the hurt as if it were happening to our best friend. What advice or words of comfort would we use to help them cope with the pain? As we know by now, when we’re too close to something we can’t see the problem for what it is. So let’s pretend like this is happening to someone we know and care enough about enough to offer our advice. How does this situation look on the outside? Maybe we missed all of the signs or chose not to see all the signs and got ourselves into a bad situation. Maybe we dealt with a bad day with a bit too much to drink, blacked out parts of the night, and in addition to the hangover we feel all yucky inside. Maybe we spoke before thinking how they would affect the other person (Insert foot in mouth). These are just a few examples of things we might have done in the past that haunt us now. All of which, if they happened to our friend or someone we care about, are forgivable offenses. Sooooooo, let’s look at them that way, from afar, and think of all the nice things we would tell our friends to help them feel better.
Give It The Big F Word
Finally, it's way past time for the big F word. Forgiveness. Forgive thyself. As easy as it sounds, we know we can’t just say, “I forgive myself.” and magically be healed. However, it's not a bad start. Saying it, or faking it until we make it, is not actually overrated. To make it really make it stick though, we need to think of all the reasons why it is okay to forgive. We need to start believing our words. We need to convince ourselves it wasn’t our fault. Repeat after me, “I made a mistake, I am not a perfect human being, and that is okay, that is beautiful. I forgive me.” We all deserve our own forgiveness just as much, if not more, than everyone else we’ve ever forgiven in our lives. Then let it the F go. Let it go, let it go. Seriously, do it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. 🤪
There now, doesn’t that feel better? Give yourself a big hug, and get out there and kick some booty. Until next time my lovelies. Take Care 😘