Are you your own worst enemy? Do your regrets and pains run through your mind like a broken record? Are you still beating yourself up for saying the “wrong” thing, getting a parking ticket last month, or eating that tub of ice cream last night? Do you know how to forgive yourself?
There is so much information about the healing powers of forgiveness but do we take the time to forgive ourselves? Of all the emails I’ve received from my audience over the years, self-forgiveness and how to practice it has been in the top 5 of all topics. And, it seems that almost every reading I’ve done, especially mediumship touches on something that the person has to forgive themselves for.
Here’s a great question to think about:
What if you treated your most cherished friend just as you treated yourself?
For many of us, that friend better watch out for punishing, nagging, and emotional abuse! I bet you would never say to another person what you say to yourself.
Self-forgiveness is a commitment to love yourself no matter what. Self-compassion is your true nature, while excessive self-criticism and self-condemnation are learned habits of your conditioning. Not only is self-forgiveness important for healthy self-esteem and creating a great life, but it also strengthens your connection with your inner voice and the Divine. Without it, we aren’t completely open to our higher selves and intuition. We also cannot fully accept someone else into our lives. It keeps us moving forward, fully awake, and connected to the world around us.
Forgiving yourself involves taking responsibility for who you are and what you do, but also knowing that you did the best you could at the time. And, you can make amends and really make the changes you need once you surrender to that fact. Then, you did that, but today you know better so you can be better! And, No matter how much we punish ourselves and analyze what happened, we cannot change the past. We’re all human; none of us are perfect. Let me say that once more:
We must all be accountable, but perfection isn’t an option.
I’ve often said that growth and transformation moves from the inside-out. Self-forgiveness is truly one of the ultimate steps to transformation. In my weekend retreats and online seminars, I lead participants through personal inventories of what they need to forgive themselves for. Once the work is done and we’ve let go of the past, we’ve opened ourselves to a whole new level of possibilities and are ready for a whole new way of being.
For example, I completely transformed my own life when I finally forgave myself for choosing all the wrong men. After years of beating myself up for picking men who initially seemed great but then turned out to be unhealthy partners, I realized I was still operating out of a wounded part of my psyche. I had to let go of regrets, especially when it came to my relationship with my mother and my experience being raped. In a nutshell, I felt I had been a terrible daughter and I also felt that it was my fault for the sexual abuse because I was too afraid to fight back. When I realized that I did the best I could at the time and had to stop being imprisoned by the past, I finally met a healthy and supportive partner. I had to forgive myself for clinging to the identity of the victim.
I’ve also found that self-forgiveness is a process. I’ve been teaching about forgiveness for years and have forgiven myself for so much of my past, but I always reach a new level of understanding when I do my own exercises again.
And, remember, self-forgiveness also has nothing to do with being selfish. In fact, it’s the reverse. When you accept, respect, and love yourself, those positive benefits automatically spill over into the world around you as acceptance, respect, and love for others. And it leads you to be able to make amends for the past, and really change so that the energy you put out into your own life and into the world is empowered with love and compassion. Self-forgiveness is a true act of power.
Make a list of what you regret or are still holding onto. If you blame yourself for something, who can you make amends to? Meet with that person. Or, if it’s not possible to meet with them, write them a letter. (You may or may not mail it.) If you must make amends with yourself, write a letter to yourself. Affirm that you did the best you could at the time and you’re forgiving yourself and moving forward.
Also, remember that acting differently is a method of forgiving yourself. You can BE the person who no longer holds onto that old story!
In Service and Love,
Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.
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