The Art Of Forgiving Ourselves in Five Simple Steps

Perfection in life does not exist — so why do we keep aiming for that in others?

Forgiveness does not only apply to individuals — but what about ourselves? It may be easier to forgive others than apply the same principle towards the person staring back at us in the mirror. However, resentment can manifest itself for many years and eat away at us bit by bit. If we choose to stop thinking about it, somewhere in the background of our mind and heart, it still lingers — to resurface during a traumatic moment or a trigger to the event itself. Letting yourself off the hook can be one of the most challenging experiences you will ever uncover — yet it’s the most liberating and healing path you can achieve towards personal growth. Dr Fred Luskin, head of the Standford Forgiveness Project, says that forgiveness’s impact on a person’s psychological and physical health is astounding. Forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt, depression and stress and lead to greater optimism, hope, compassion and self-confidence. Releasing those toxic emotions & resentment opens up a new door of freedom and a lightness in our soul that leaves room in our hearts for a lot more love. So here are some small yet mighty steps towards independence: 

Step one: Letting go

It’s ok to accept what happened and let it go. When we do something that hurts our-self, we didn’t know any better at that time. Perhaps that was directed to someone we care about — and hurt may have struck them harshly. It’s ok to ask the person for forgiveness, but it’s also essential to let it go — despite the outcome. Accept that it was a mistake on your part, and you feel awful for striking out at someone. A genuine apology — following up learning from the experience will see the pain mend on both sides. It’s ok to allow the situation to dissolve — move on by creating new beautiful memories for the future. Bring in kindness, understanding and love instead.


Step Two: Look past peoples shortcomings — and your own

I bet we can think of a million things wrong with another person — but may find it challenging to look at ourselves. No one on the planet is perfect — and even the most likable person can have a bad day. We are all entitled to feel fed up and lost. Remember that when someone is showing you shortness of words or a temper  — look past the strung up letters directed to you and think of this person as a human being with shortcomings and challenges at hand. Perhaps you’ve been short-tempered to someone else too — and have hurt another. It’s is all part of the human journey of life and one of many situations we must face.Look past these shortcomings, as it’s not you, nor is it the other person. It’s a reaction based on something happening right now — that perhaps needs some work to massage out the kinks. If you forgive first, then people will do the same for you when you screw up. It works both ways.


Step Three: Let it take the time it needs to

Forgiveness within oneself is not easy, and it takes a lot of mental and spiritual training. No one can tell you how long it will take — but it will take as long as it needs to — and as long as you hold on to it. As with anything, this is a learned skill that takes a bit of mental conditioning. Maybe it means setting the hurt aside for a moment and coming back to it when things cool down. I like to sleep on something that’s upsetting me. There may be times when we blow things out of proportion — and see a lot more clearly when the fire stops burning so brightly.


Step Four: What can you learn from this to be a better person

I used to think that I was a failure every time I made a mistake — but the opposite is true. With every downfall we experience, there is a chance to learn, grow and develop as a human being. It’s a chance for us to move towards a higher plane of existence and become better human beings all around. Compassion, love and kindness are built upon setbacks and falling -scraping our knees just a little. So what can you take from this experience? The best thing you can do is show even more love and kindness to those who are experiencing hard times.


Step five: Stop thinking about it all the time.

Humans have a way of replaying the crap they’ve done over and over again. Processing what we’ve done is essential, but replaying it will put a hold on that self-forgiveness and only breeds negativity and the chance to repeat the same mistake.So catch yourself out when you start playing that situation out in your head again, take an intense deep breath — perhaps three, and then swap your thoughts towards how you would have wanted the situation to evolve. No, that didn’t ‘officially’ happen, but let your mind swim in the possibility that it did, and next time around, you will have a chance to play it out in real life.Making peace within ourselves is a journey we won’t ever stop moving towards during our lifetime.  Building empathy, compassion and love for others is more straightforward than doing it for ourselves. But, it’s a choice we have to make to lead empowering and abundant lives. The more we feel good about ourselves on the inside, the more we can do for those around us. Nothing will give a human being more joy than making others feel good and bringing love to another person’s life. But, it’s such an easy thing to do — and requires a level of vulnerability. Sure, we are more susceptible and open to hurt — but the self-fulfilment within our souls is worth the minor risk.

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