What is Forgiving?
What is Forgiveness?
For me, it is when you are no longer held prisoner to the emotions around an event, person, or action and are free of having to remember or feel it anymore.
There are 2 types of forgiveness
- Forgiving others
- Forgiving yourself
For this blog, and by far, the most important one, is forgiving yourself.
Very often people who come to see me, tend to equate moving on from something in their past as a from of forgiveness. The speed with which they answer my questions can be a from of denial, or a long held belief about themselves and they may say:
- ‘Yes, I have dealt with that’
- ‘Yes, of course I love myself’
- ‘That no longer bothers me’
- “I am so over it’
Denial, ignoring it, pretending it never happened, parking it away, does not mean that it has been dealt with, and thinking it so, cannot resolve the original event either.
Why, because the unconscious does not like unresolved business, any more than it likes unresolved questions. The chances are that the issue is still lodged and replaying at the unconscious level (out of your day-to-day awareness, mostly because you have become used to it) and you may not even realise that you are ‘blaming yourself’ for something that happened awhile ago.
This unforgiveness, blame, guilt etc, which you thought you dealt with maybe leaking out in other ways, for example:-
- Through the physical body (What if some of the issues such as IBS are strong old emotional memories?)
- Through your behaviour (you are either defensive or aggressive in similar circumstances)
- Through your thoughts, (criticising yourself or overthinking your interactions with others or the activities you have to do )
- Your emotions (becoming angry or bursting into tears when something happens that reminds you of that event?
- So how do you forgive yourself then?
What does that mean for you if you cannot forgive yourself?
What is the impact?
If you are reading this, I am suspecting you are aware that you have something to forgive yourself for, and let’s be honest most of us do.
Forgiveness is a complex process of change, and although beneficial it cannot be forced. It can often be easier to stay in unforgiveness.
Shame, guilt, blaming ourselves, regret or the need to beat ourselves up regularly can often hold us back from living our lives fully, to enable us to grow stronger.
But feeling better by letting go of our own past mistakes requires effort, plus a desire to learn from the experience.
5 Steps To Forgiving Yourself
Forgiveness is a complex process, but not impossible.
Many of the clients I see, can be facilitated through the myriad of reasons that they have been giving themselves a hard time and sometimes for decades. Only a very few are not quite ready to do that, and it is ok.
All I would say is that we are always much harder on ourselves than others.
Even our justice system does not hand out such punitive sentences – there is endpoint with help built-in to enable the transgressor to learn
If you do not learn how to forgive yourself, are you willing to be suffering for a mistake you made when you were younger until old age?
Would you do that to your best friend?
If not, read on for the 5 Steps!
5 Steps to Forgiving Yourself
1 – Acknowledge
…what it was you did that was so bad that you cannot forgive yourself.
Our tendency is to do this in our heads. I would recommend not doing this, as the event, person, action, cannot be fully understood or given perspective. Write it down, on paper, or on your computer. You can destroy this once you have forgiven yourself. I want you to write down everything that happened, why you deserve the treatment you have and are giving yourself?
2 – How Old Were You?
Sometimes, we hold ourselves accountable for something that happened before the age of responsibility. How fair is that? As the adult you are now, would you still be blaming your best friend? Child? Loved one? for something they did as a child? No, or course you wouldn’t!
The difficulty is that our inner child has become trapped by the event, the emotions /thoughts at that time because they did not have the skill or knowhow to be able to work through them. effectively. Now is the time.
If you were an adult (after 25, when the brain has fully formed), then the question is more about the fact you were doing the best you could with what you KNEW THEN! Obviously now, you know better now. You may even have discovered it immediately after the event, but you DIDN”T know before did you the effects of that moment?
And even if you did know the consequences, then the chances are that there is an inner child that needed something – what was it?
It’s ok – you are human!
3 – What did Your Younger Self Need?
Knowing what you know now, what did that younger you need in the aftermath of the event? Or maybe before?
When doing inner child work, where the child has become stuck, and even younger adult versions of us, we’re unable to express adequately what it was that we needed or wanted. This is no surprise to me, as emotions have been considered bad, unhelpful or distracting for far too long.
So what did that younger you need?
4 – What Would You Tell That Younger You Now?
It is funny, that it is only with hindsight that the lack of forgiveness can really take hold. To look back and blame yourself, criticise yourself and give yourself a hard time. On something that you are in a much better position to analyse and assess.
How much more empowering to learn from the event in some way – ask yourself these questions:
- What did this experience cause me to be or do?
- How long do I need to blame myself before it is ok forgive myself?
- What would I do differently in the future, if it were to happen now?
- What needs to happen for me to forgive myself and is that a reasonable ask?
- What do I need to believe about myself that will enable me to change?
5. Forgiveness is Actually Healing
The time has come to begin to forgive & heal yourself. I want you to imagine, every night as you go to bed and close your eyes, that the you that experienced the event, is in front of you.
In what ever way you can, I want you to imagine sending love from your heart to this self, ( you can imagine this as a colour, or a light connection or Just get a sense of it).
Even if you don’t really know what forgiveness is like, all you need to know is that love is actually the highest vibration of healing there is.
This may take one night, several nights or longer, but it will happen, as your unconscious begins to learn that it is time to let it go.
Your unconscious will re-learn, a new perspective to be had about the event, (based on the answers to 1 – 4 above). It can now move from a fixed narrow or limited view of the past to be come more open to the additional information that was there then, but also which you can provide now. As ou begin to work through what is going on, you can begin to find the emotional state begins to subside.
Remember, we all become who we are today through our mistakes – no one gets away from that. Learning to forgiving yourself can really change your life on so man different levels.
It does not mean you erase the past or forget what has happened, it means you no longer need to hold onto it. Freeing space for something much more supportive and empowering to come in