Often we associate forgiveness with an act that we do unto others forgetting that we also need to forgive ourselves. In fact, it is of vital importance we forgive ourselves if we wish to live freely, unbound by our past. We cannot go back and change past events no matter how much we would like to.
I have met a number of people who act out on their feelings, make errors and bad judgement but forgive themselves and move on. I have met others who spend far too much time going over situations in their mind and beating themselves up about it (not literally!)
Do you often have the following thoughts;
“How could I have done better?”
“How do I look to others?”
“How could I have been so silly?”
It can be difficult to forgive yourself when a decision made months or years ago is still affecting you and your family to this current date. Each day serves as a reminder of the road you chose which appeared a good idea at the time.
I have always struggled to forgive myself and if I am not cautious I can wander as far back to my teenage years. I have blamed myself tremendously for the way other treated me when I was too meek and petrified to stand up for myself. At the time I felt helpless but when I became an adult I realised that I could have stopped their actions as people can only do what you allow them to do. Believe me, this eye opener did not encourage me as it dawned on me that I had an element of power to change my situation but did nothing.
I have had to work through these thoughts with prayer and speaking words of affirmation.
Four tips that I recommend;
1. Remember you are NOT perfect and never will be. You WILL say and do the wrong things from time to time. You are not required to go over and above to make up for your imperfections.
2. Treat yourself well and others who too are imperfect are likely to follow suit. Make time for yourself to do the activities you enjoy. A cost does not necessarily have to be involved.
3. Look at your motives; are there ongoing issues which influence your speaking or acting out of line? However ugly and embarrassing it may be, deal with it by speaking to a family member, friend or counsellor.
4. Learn to love yourself as you are inside and outside. Write down the qualities you feel and others say you possess.
So to round up, it is clear that forgiveness of self is essential for one to live with freedom. It is an ongoing process which we should embrace, however unnatural it may seem.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and experience on this topic. Perhaps you have some advice to offer?