Everyone in all the self help books and healing books and blogs and therapy tell you the same thing. They always say that in order to move on from the grievous situations in our lives, we must forgive. Through forgiveness we release any negative emotions we once held on to, and by doing so, are able to fill up that empty space with positivity.
That’s great! It’s wonderful! Forgiveness feels so good.
But when was the last time you forgave yourself?
The Feedback Loop
How many of you talk badly to yourselves? Our inner voice is so harsh and judgmental when it comes to our own mistakes. Sometimes people that we love will tell us that we should be kinder to ourselves, that we should imagine our inner voice talking to us as if we were a friend. But how many of us follow that advice?
It’s easy to forgive someone else who has wronged you, to take the righteous path, to be the better person. It’s much harder to forgive yourself.
If you find yourself saying things like:
- I should have known better
- I did this to myself
- I knew I shouldn’t have done that
- I guess this is what I deserve
- Nothing ever changes because I’m a loser
- Great, you screwed up again, asshole
- I don’t deserve to be forgiven
it’s time to forgive yourself.
Often these self-depricative statements can become a feedback loop that spirals down and down until you are so beaten down into a pit by your own inner voice that you feel that you will never be able to crawl back to the surface. In psychology they call this ruminative thinking, and it can be obsessive, leading to anxiety or even depression.
Inner Child Exercise
Take some time today to sit down and have a good long talk with your inner child. Close your eyes and imagine the younger version of yourself (maybe five or six years old) sitting across from you. Imagine them in all their awkward, messy purity. Imagine them until you feel that you have connected with that deep inner soul within yourself, and then forgive them. Tell them what they need to hear, the way a child needs to be told. Be gentle. Be calm. Allow your adult self to soothe and support the parts of you that you feel ashamed of, or embarrassed of, or angry towards.
If you find yourself struggling to think of things to say, try any one of these that resonate with you:
- It wasn’t your fault
- It was nothing that you did or didn’t do
- It’s ok to make mistakes
- You learned so much from that situation
- You did not waste your time
- You will do better next time
- You are perfect just the way you are
- You are loved
- You are not alone
- Everything will be ok
- I forgive you
- I forgive myself
To forgive yourself is to let go of all the negative emotions that you harbor towards yourself. If you find yourself in a situation that is painful or interminable, it is ok to acknowledge that you made a mistake, and it is also ok to learn from that experience and move forward. You do not have to stay in a negative situation or mindset just because you feel that you deserve it. No one deserves that. So many of us feel guilt over “failed” relationships, missed connections, missed opportunities, or poor communicative interactions. There is no need to hold on to that guilt. You learn something from every life experience. Not everything in life is meant to be pleasant, or positive, or make you feel good. Negative emotions exist to teach you things, but that does not mean that you must stay there.
Forgive yourself and move on. Be kind to yourself.
– Take Care, friends!