Reclaim Your Forgiveness
Can you forgive yourself?
Can you forgive another?
What if you could forgive yourself for past mistakes? What would it feel like to let go of the judgement, the shame, the anguish of punishing yourself for something in the past?
We may have acted from ego, or we let our fears get in the way, or we made a choice that went against our better judgement or intuition and the consequences weren't good. What's important is that we learned something from that decision, and in order to grow and fully accept ourselves, we must be willing to release the grip of self condemnation to allow in the softness of forgiveness.
We didn't know then what we know now. We acted on the information we had at the time. There were other factors influencing us when we said or did something that we still haven't let go of.
Are you willing to forgive yourself for the past in order to open up to full acceptance and love for yourself?
Can you start by looking at the situation from a different perspective, use a different filter when thinking about the thing that's gripped you tightly in shame. What if you didn't know better at the time? Is it possible anyone else would have done the same thing given the situation? Can you accept that you are not defined as a human being by one less than stellar choice?
Forgiveness allows us to accept ourselves and move forward. It gives us permission to be ourselves in a humble human way where we don't hold ourselves to an impossible standard that no one would be able to meet.
If you've learned the lesson then it's time to let go. Keep the lesson, the wisdom and the self awareness and let go of the guilt, the self-loathing and the shame.
Think of a situation you are still punishing yourself over. Now write the answers to the following questions:
What did I learn about myself?
Is it possible someone else would have acted the same way?
Do I understand the root of why I behaved the way I did?
How have I grown because of that experience?
Am I willing to drop the story?
Is it possible to yield to forgiveness of myself?
If I've learned the lesson, why am I choosing to hold on to the guilt and judgement?
Forgiving someone else has a whole host of challenges. They may not be asking for forgiveness for something that deeply wounded us. They are not sorry at all, in fact maybe they're oblivious to what hurt us so deeply, or they are unwilling to acknowledge our feelings about it. We're left alone with no place to direct our anger, process it with the other person, come to a resolution and then reach a place of forgiveness.
How do we forgive someone who isn't sorry, doesn't care or isn't asking for forgiveness?
I struggled greatly with this. I'd give lip service about how I forgave him but I felt my heart clench in defiance.
One of the things that helped me was something I read in Mary Manin Morrissey's book, Building Your Field of Dreams:
“People who do hurtful things to others do so because they are hurting inside themselves.”
Reading that instantly gave me a sense of compassion toward the person I couldn't completely forgive. Yes, he acted in hurtful ways, with spite and cruelty. Yes, he chose to betray our bond. His behavior and his choices were poor. But it never occurred to me that he was doing those things because of some inner pain he must have been experiencing.
If you reflect on your own life and past 'bad behavior', wasn't it due to feelings of pain you felt within yourself?
I thought back to when I was teased in 6th grade and I'd come home and pick on my sweet little neighbor friend who was 2 years younger than me. I recall feeling awful for doing that, but it was from my own place of feeling powerless and 'less than' from the teasing I received. And instead of processing my feelings, I took them out on a friend I loved. It's a classic scenario of hurting the ones we love the most.
We all have our internal struggles and when we don't have the self awareness to explore them and deal with them, we then unconsciously act out toward others.
Even if that person is acting in an antagonistic, bullying manor, they don't have the self awareness of why they are choosing to behave that way. Typically, these people blame everyone else in their lives instead of looking at themselves.
We have a choice to recognize they are having their own experience and aren't capable of self examination and reflection. But do we want to hold onto feelings of anger toward them?
We know that holding on to anger can harden and turn to bitterness. In one of the previous lessons, we talked about the importance of feeling the anger, expressing it and releasing it.
The final step in that process is coming to forgiveness so that our own wellbeing is restored and nurtured.
Today, how can you soften to the possibility of forgiveness? For yourself or for someone else.
When you see any shades of Coral, please think about how you may soften to forgiveness.
Take good care of your heart and soul,
Patty Blue Hayes
~ The Seed Does Not Become A Blossom Overnight ~
Are you getting any insights from this email series? Please let me know. Send me an email.