Forgiving someone is sometimes hard. Forgiving yourself is harder.
Being in a relationship requires constant forgiveness. For transgressions large and small — from a forgotten anniversary to infidelity. Otherwise, resentment builds and undermines the relationship, eventually tearing it apart. Breakups are usually accompanied by more resentment - which prolong healing. It’s important to release aspects of your past in order to move forward in a healthy way. Holding onto resentments and regrets is a sure way to block good things from coming into your life.
We are all perfectly imperfect – and that’s okay. But, we harbor a deep and agitating negative belief that we’re fundamentally flawed. Outside sources remind us that this is ‘true’ and thus the belief is perpetuated. We are hardwired to make mistakes; that’s how we learn. Making mistakes teaches us to be more discerning so we can make better choices next time.
Blaming others is a way to deflect from investigating the real source of your experience – you. Forgiving others for their perceived misdeeds is a noble act, but it’s also selfish and vital. It frees us. Forgiving does not mean condoning or forgetting; it just means releasing the negative vibe so that we can move on unencumbered. Although it’s important to forgive others, it is most important to forgive ourselves.
Some facts are hard to face. You may have done some very ‘bad’ things. You have to separate the deed from the person. Reflect and get specific. Identify events that caused harm. Maybe it was an accident; maybe it was intentional. Be curious about your intent at the time. What were you really seeking? The choice you made served a purpose; it relieved some form of pain – if only momentarily.
There are no bad choices, only unfavorable consequences. Everyone makes the best decision that they can at the time, believing it to be right. Hindsight often alters that belief and the flogging begins.
We each have an inner critic that punishes us for past transgression while looking for something new to find fault with. We have a tendency to wallow in our own guilt and beat ourselves up. We need to quiet the yammering in our head that tells us we’re not good enough.
Excessive and prolonged negative emotions generate corrosive chemicals in the body that flood systems and cause disruption by increasing heart rate, blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol levels, and impeding cognitive functions. This leads to ill health. Guilt, resentment, and anger lower your mood and your energy, undermine confidence and self-worth, and interfere with a happy life.
Positive emotions help to heal and maintain good health. Staying positive helps attract better situations and people into your life. Focus on your achievements and what’s going well.
Acknowledge your mistakes with humility. Everything is forgivable. There is no inherent right or wrong in the universe. Judgment is created by humans – as are consequences. Learn well from your mistakes and subsequently, make better choices.
If a mistake resulted from a lack of skill then the simple solution is upgrade your skill set. Mistakes resulting from naiveté and ignorance are to be expected during learning – and we’re always learning.
Are you operating from the values and expectations of others? Can you separate your essential self and your desires from what has been prescribed by your culture, society, church, family and/or any other individuals or groups whose beliefs may not be in alignment with the true you?
Don’t make excuses; make amends. Start by apologizing, perhaps retribution is in order. Take the focus off yourself and do something to improve the life of another.
You tend to attract people that treat you the way you treat yourself. So, avoid the people who bring you down and make friends with those who see the best in you.
Forgive others easily and, most of all, practice self-forgiveness. Be kind to yourself.