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Please Forgive Yourself
Since I started writing these Daily Anchors about three months ago I have been keeping a list of ideas and topics that I might want to write about one day. It’s a long list. ;-) One of the topics that has been hanging out on my list for the last couple of months is self-forgiveness.
Interestingly, it’s sung to me several times to write about before now, but every time something else came to the forefront of my mind and I saved this topic for another day.
I understand why it’s been held until now. I have struggled with self-forgiveness my whole life and while I want to share my own work in this area, I also see now in this moment how large numbers of people are staying stuck in place and unable to actively participate in their lives and in the world the way they want to because they are unable to forgive themselves.
Yes, I am speaking of the current uprising that is happening around racial and social justice. Here is why I think this topic is timely and necessary to talk about. For any of us who want to be part of moving our world forward to a place of justice, we must forgive ourselves and carry on.
I have had many white allies say something to me about feeling guilt or shame about not doing more before now or not knowing what to do because they’re afraid they will get it wrong. And I say: They can’t move forward because they are stuck in a cycle of shame and apprehension. They are spending all their energy beating themselves up.
That is not what you need and it is not what the world needs. Not in any situation.
Whether you have been stuck in shame and a lack of self-forgiveness due to social injustices or treating your partner unfairly or hurting a friend or not spending enough time with a loved one before they died or not taking your health seriously or _________, you cannot stay there.
Yes, we must learn from our past. Please, please learn the lessons that you are meant to learn. But then you must use your lessons. That is what they are for. To be used for your growth and good and to move you closer to your higher self, which also makes the world a better place.
Because you are part of this phenomenal PF community, I know you value growth and learning and becoming your best self. I do, too.
I have spent more of my life in shame than I would like to admit, but it is one of my lessons to acknowledge, share, and grow from. I have been unable or unwilling to forgive myself — for tiny mistakes all the way up to big ones, and for making decisions that have hurt other people and myself.
I’m choosing and will continue to choose to learn my lessons and forgive myself. Sounds easy, but I know it is not. It may always be a struggle for me, but I am choosing to believe that with practice I will get better at it.
Some people have a much easier time forgiving themselves than others do. We each fall somewhere different on that spectrum of our ability to forgive ourselves. No matter where you are on your journey to self-forgiveness, I encourage you to keep doing the work. You are here to grow and learn and we do that by making mistakes, learning from them, and doing better the next time around. In all things.
Thinking and judging do not change the past. We must learn from the past and use those learnings to forge our path forward. The past is just that: it's past. It is behind us. I urge you to move with me into the now. Today is where we use our lessons and build the life and world we want to live in.
If there is pain and regret from the past that visits you that is OK. You should never try to bury it; that’s how we feed the cycle of shame and our inability to forgive ourselves. Show it the light of day. Consider it a love nudge to remember your lesson, thank it for the reminder, and step forward building your better self and in turn a better world.
Self-forgiveness can be hard, but it is a necessary step in moving forward on your path. If you stay stuck in the past and in regret you cannot become the full, embodied, amazing human you are meant to be. You deserve to be that person. I want to see that person and the world needs that person.
Are you ready to forgive yourself? Please say yes, and let’s do the work together.