It’s a commonly accepted notion that we must try and forgive others for whatever hurt they have caused us; carrying the anger and bitterness is going to only add onto the weight that rests on our shoulders, preventing us from experiencing the good that might come our way later on. Therefore, forgiving others is something we constantly work on, as a society.
But what about forgiving ourselves? Even if we have gotten good at letting go off the bitterness we carry for others, we often find it difficult to shed the one we walk with, for ourselves. Understanding why this happens might make our journey easier on this path.
Identifying The Limiting Belief
Each time we make a mistake, we register it in our minds. Whenever we do something which we regret later, we often connect it to a limiting belief like “I am not good at sustaining intimate bonds with others” or “I’ll never be able to stop pleasing others all the time.”
No matter how hard we try to forgive ourselves, without identifying the limiting belief it won’t work. Because our mind will constantly remind us of that one belief.
So, we need to try and identify such beliefs we’ve attached to what we are trying to forgive in ourselves. In order to forgive myself for all the mistakes I committed in an extremely intimate bond with my best friend, I need to first identify the belief “I am not good at keeping great friends”. Only once I do this, will I be able to either improve my current friendship (if the other party is willing to do so) or look forward to and work on friendships to come. Living with the negative belief might provide me with some relief at first but in the long run, it will clearly devoid me of growth in a certain aspect of my life.
Letting Go Of The Past
We see our lives as a continuous development – starting in the past, staying in the present and heading towards the future. Letting go of the past might seem like standing on a shaky ground or having nothing to stand on, in the first place.
Learning how to release the past might seem difficult. But if we break down our lives into a block for each moment, the perspective might shift. While colouring the block, had we known that painting it black would cause damage, we wouldn’t have done it, right? And even if we knew that it would cause damage, we weren’t aware of how much we’d regret the act later.
So retain what you learned while colouring that block black and release everything else.
Not To Hide From Oneself
Evolution has wired us against making mistakes because if we make too many, we might just get ousted from the gene pool or risk the survival of our species. Even the society (for itself to be able to function) constantly tells us to separate the right from the wrong, and how the latter deserves some punishment. So when we make a mistake, our first impulse is to hide it. Our mistakes make us feel vulnerable and scared.
But in order to forgive ourselves, we still have to admit the mistake to ourselves; tell ourselves that yes, we blew it and take responsibility. It’s good to remember that making errors is a part and parcel of this life and if we didn’t make any, we would probably be living in a very narrow comfort zone.
Let’s try and be grateful for these missteps coming our way and teaching us what we needed in order to grow into a better person!
When it comes to someone you love or care about, forgiving them is easier. You might see the hurtful act as a one time transgression and would often see yourself going back to the good this person did before.
But many of us don’t share such an equation with ourselves. We are too critical and harsh of own self. When we make a mistake, we often end up in a spiral of all that we have done wrong at the cost of ignoring the good side of us. And how fair is that?
It’s time to cut ourselves some slack, isn’t it?
Forgiving ourselves is a process which doesn’t finish overnight. It might take some days or months or even years. But with forgiveness, there’s always some genuinely deserved hope. And who would mind a pinch of hope in their lives? So let’s try, one step at a time.