When you internally forgive, it is like letting go of that heaviness that had you bound for some time, your feet a free to move, the pain is leaving, the hurt is decapitating and what remains is what each new day brings. The chance to start over again.
We often look at forgiveness as something we do for others, we forgive, forget and move on. But forgiveness is not always about forgiving someone who has hurt you or done you wrong, it’s about burying the past and redeeming grace. Your Grace! Forgiveness is also a gift you give yourself. It’s about admitting to yourself that your peace is worth more than the punishment you are inflicting on yourself by not forgiving yourself.
I’ve had a lot of hurt in my life, more than I care to count, many times it seemed impossible to forgive those who hurt me. But for my own peace of mind, I had to because it was the only way to move past the hurt and begin the healing process. Self-forgiveness on the other hand is more complicated. Complicated because I’ve found that it was easier to forgive someone else than it was to forgive myself! Yes, just as others hurt us, we hurt others, we also hurt ourselves. The complexity of self-forgiveness is that you must recognize those uncomfortable feelings, those thoughts that take root inside reminding us of our imperfections. Something we tend to bury rather than face, making self-forgiveness more complex than the gift of forgiving someone else. If there is no peace within, self-forgiveness will be harder. Forgiving yourself is a choice that requires three simple things……
Understanding- No one is perfect and neither are you. Understanding that everyone makes mistakes and not dwelling on the act itself means that you have come to terms with what has happened. The important thing is not what happened in the past, the most important this is what you do after that counts.
Restoration -Make amends with the situation, take responsibility for your actions, and not blame what you did on someone or something else. Often we say I did that because of this or because of that!! No! You have to acknowledge what you’ve done because at that point and time you thought it was a good thing! Accepting and acknowledging this fact is the first step to inviting forgiveness into your heart…… Even if the people you hurt never forgive you, it’s up to you to restore yourself through forgiveness.
Renewal– All of our experiences either make us better or make us bitter. Self-forgiveness is about personal growth, it’s about you growing as a person, learning from the experiences, and growing into a better person you were before. Don’t let past transgressions leave you bitter or pitiful because you will never be able to enjoy the love, happiness, and all the wonderful things life has to offer.
There is no weakness in forgiving yourself. It’s not a sign that you got an easy pass or that your behavior will be tolerated if it happens again. Forgiving yourself is an indication that you have released the feelings and emotions associated with what happened. The anger, resentments, and pain that deed has caused you, no longer has power over you. I have learned from my friend Debbie Roth that forgiveness is a manner of confession…….You say to yourself……..”I Forgive Myself for (whatever thing you have done).” You can write this on a piece of paper, then burn it, flush it or rip it to shreds. You can also look at yourself in the mirror while saying this confession. The pain isn’t going to go away in an instant like magic, like everything else, self-forgiveness is a process that happens over time. You need to give yourself that time while constantly reminding yourself that you have forgiven yourself!