Our Greatest Super-power is Forgiveness, but how do we forgive ourselves?

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I remember a time when my children had spent the weekend dressing up as a superheros’. Having­ watched movies with their favourite superheros saving the world: I want to be a superhero when I grow up,’ they say in unison. It is dif­ficult to “dash their hopes,” especially when you see how convincing she’s becoming at leaping through the air. However, it is a parent’s sad duty to do just that.

The truth is, of course, that it is not necessary to fly or have superhuman strength to be Godlike. I sat on the bed and said a prayer with them.

The truth is, nobody can live to the full as long as they are bur­dend by baggage. This miracle only happens when someone says or decides that no matter how much it hurts: ‘It never happened. It is then that the past is transfigured through an act that cancels all debts.

This does not demand superhuman strength or a colourful outfit. All it demands are those Godlike virtues of love, compassion and kindness. It is strength that comes wrapped in humility. Valour that comes clothed in vulnerability.

To forgive is to defy the logic of give­ and ­take, of cause and effect, of action and reaction. It is a giving away that expects nothing in return. And that is why it is so difficult, for when we humans give we naturally expect to get something back.

The wonder of it is that we can rise higher than our nature. We can fly to barely imaginable heights. We can move mountains of emotional and psychological baggage with a simple healing word. The great irony is that my daughters’ superheroes go to incredible lengths to do things that we can do with far less effort. you don’t need alien powers or an affinity with bats to heal and help, to restore and console. you don’t need to turn back time in order to cancel the past. All you need is a loving heart and a willingness to let go.

The other night, as I put my own little ‘Supergirl’ to bed, I sat with her and said a prayer, I asked for forgiveness from her and those I’d wronged. I apologised for something I did that let her down, in attempting to take my life I’d let her down… . ‘It’s all right, Daddy she said as I cried, I forgive you,’ replied. Little did she know that her dream had just become a reality.

forgiving ones self is in truth one of life’s most difficult journeys, I’ve walked a life of complex moments, with highs and lows, knowing that my time here on the planet is mostly about helping others.. but I have often found my past or moments of my past haunting me…

We all lie.. all of us. But I’ve experienced life at its most dark when lying to protect others… and I’ve come to realise that these decisions are the most difficult. People say “there is no excuse for it.” But! There is a time where the decision to compromise oneself can be easier then destroying someone else’s life. However, make this decision knowing that one day it will come back to haunt you… it will leave you being judged and it has the potential to destroy your life…

And how do you forgive yourself for that moment or decision to put another persons grief, pain or life before your own? And will asking for forgiveness even matter for those who now judge you? But mostly, how do you forgive yourself so you can life a full life?

When “I’m Sorry” Is Not Enough

There are some wrongs that can never be made right. Some things from the past can never be made good again. No amount of “I’m sorry’s” or “Please forgive me’s” will make a bit of difference. They almost seem to make everything worse.

When the hateful words have been said, when the trust has been broken, there might not ever be a way of making it better. Some people just don’t care about you anymore. Some people write you out of their lives and gladly never look back. Some simply choose not to forgive, not wanting to let the person “off the hook”. And some just don’t have to capacity to let go of the pain.

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. People have the right to hold on to the hurt as long as they choose. Most of us have done some terrible things and forgiveness is just not an option for those we’ve hurt.

When we, as the “wrongdoers” are not granted restitution for our mistakes, we have to accept this. If we’ve been honest with our part in the errors we’ve made, asked humbly for forgiveness and offered to do whatever we can to make it better, we’ve done all we can do. If our loved one cannot or will not accept our request, we can go no further. We’re drunks, not Superheroes.

The pain of not being forgiven cuts deep, sometimes much deeper than the original reason such forgiveness is sought. Maybe that’s the motive for our loved ones not to forgive us. Maybe they want us to hurt for as long as possible. They want to dig in the spurs for the rest of our lives to get back at us for the mess we’ve put them through. Maybe the love and trust is gone forever and the relationship is damaged beyond repair. This continued pain for past wrongs hurts just as it is intended to. It’s our turn to see how it feels.

In recovery, we grow hearts; we feel everything. We no longer run from the pain or numb our spirits from consequences. But we also grow backbones. We no longer crawl before anyone, even those we love dearly that we so desperately want to mend fences with but will not allow it.

When the wreckage from our past stares us in the face and no restitution is granted, it’s over. There’s absolutely nothing more we can do. Going back and re-writing the past is impossible.

Our responsibility now is to ourselves and our fellows. We put one foot in front of the other, hold our head high with the knowledge we would never do those things again, and be the best person to ourselves and to others that we can, for one day at a time.

Lack of forgiveness does not mean defeat. It is not an excuse to wallow in more self pity. It is a chance to humble ourselves to the fact that we have been hurtful beings and to own our part of that. Then all we can do is move forward, learn from it and let go.

never forgiving is a grasping for retroactive control over a slight that has already happened.

Peace will come once you can do more to bring balance in relation to life and energy.

Learn to Forgive Yourself Even When You’ve Hurt Someone Else

“Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others.” ~Lama Yeshe

Think back to the last time somebody apologized to you about something. Did you forgive them? There is a very good chance that you did.

Now think back to the last time you harmed someone else. Have you forgiven yourself? Probably not.

We all make mistakes. Oftentimes, through our actions, somebody gets hurt.

How to Forgive Yourself Right Now

1. Accept yourself and your flaws.

Know that despite your flaws, you are okay as you are. Your flaws, rather than making you “less” of a person, are what make you who you are. What you think of as a defect actually makes you far more interesting to others.

You are not perfect. You make mistakes.

But you are also on a path of growth. Your mistakes and failures help you improve. As flawed as you may be, you must accept yourself, flaws and all, if you are to make progress in your life.

2. Remember that you are not a bad person.

You can do something wrong while still being a good person. A lot of guilt or shame can make you feel like there is something wrong with you.

Realize, right now, that there is a very big difference between doing a bad thing and being a bad person. Even when you do something that you regret, you most likely had a valid reason for doing it at the time (even if that reason doesn’t make rational sense).

You didn’t do something bad because you are a fundamentally bad person; there was an intent, or valid motivation, behind your action.

3. Talk to someone.

Sometimes you just need to get it off your chest. Talking to someone else about what is bothering you can have serious benefits.

Another perspective. When you are upset at yourself, emotions can cloud your reasoning abilities. A friend will often point out a reason why you deserve to forgive yourself that you never would have seen.
Social support. You always feel better when somebody else has your back. Knowing that other people are less critical of you then you are of yourself can be encouraging.
Therapy. Professional help may be necessary or at least a good decision in some cases. If your self-hatred seems insurmountable, you might want to consider this.
4. Talk to your internal voice.

It can be useful to “personalize” your internal voice. Imagine that there is some other entity that is thinking your self-critical thoughts and have a conversation with them.

It might sound silly, but you should give this entity a name, which will reinforce the idea that this voice is separate from you.

During your “conversation” I want you to ask your internal, critical voice what its positive intention is. This voice is saying what it’s saying for a reason. It might be to protect you, to prevent you from making the same mistake again, or to help you improve in some way.

When you realize that your thoughts of guilt or shame are intended for your benefit, it becomes easier to forgive yourself. You can find another way to satisfy that positive intent while reducing your guilty feelings.

In my case, one of the positive intentions of my internal voice constantly shaming me was to help me remember. Since forgiving myself, I have dedicated each of my yoga sessions to the ones I’ve loves which ensures that they will not be forgotten.

5. Do the best friend test.

Imagine your best friend had done exactly what you did and then came to you for advice. What would you tell them?

You would reassure them and tell them not to be so hard on themselves. You would tell them that everyone makes mistakes. You would tell them that they deserve to be forgiven.

Why can’t you say this to yourself?

(Erin Pavlina has written a fantastic example of using this technique that I highly recommend checking out!)

Forgiving yourself is far more challenging than forgiving someone else because you must live with yourself and your thoughts 24/7. Despite the challenge, emotionally healthy people must have the capacity to forgive themselves when they have made a mistake.

When you forgive yourself, you are not pretending as though it never happened. On the contrary, you are acknowledging that your actions have consequences. But the consequences need not include self-inflicted negative feelings.

Not forgiving yourself is like picking at an open wound; you are only making a bad situation worse. The wound is already there, but you do have control over your reaction to it, and you can stop it from getting worse.

If you forgive yourself when you make a mistake, it’s easier to address the consequences of your action in a productive way.

In the end we are human, we make mistakes, we fail, we fall.. we can only do our best.. my decision to lie to protect others has over time cost me dearly.. yet I find myself still living in that space.. having to walk life holding someone else’s lie.. knowing that if I told the truth, it would destroy the life they lead… we chose to compromise our lives knowing that deep down there is a reason for that moment, we hope in time others will come to understand… most of all we have to find a way to forgive ourselves for the decisions and choices we make ~ The Motive 🙏🏼

 

Author: Only One, But a lion!

Only One; But A Lion! Writer, blogger and explorer of life... Writer, blogger and explorer of humanity-single dad-story teller-giver of hugs... wiper of tears- I am imperfect.. but hope is eternal 💕 Exploring the Motive of Conversation, events, who we are and how to heal from trauma... These are my words, from my soul, bound with hope, love and a willingness to share, to open the minds, hearts and souls of others ~ Hope - it’s the best and last of all things ~ The Motive

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