Have you noticed how your feelings can get hurt? Sometimes the transgression can literally cause us to feel some form of physical pain. But we cannot explain why or how it happens.
The pain is just there. Sometimes it can hurt for days. Or it can reappear. Often whenever you recall the memory that caused this hurt.
Frequently, this is a memory of something we have done to ourselves or to someone else that we know now is wrong.
Do you find it easier to forgive yourself or to forgive others? If you are like the majority, it is harder to forgive yourself than to forgive others.
When someone else hurts us, we can turn our anger towards them. And we find some consolation in the pain.
And, as they are not always there with us that reminder of the pain diminishes. So we slowly in time forgive and forget.
On the other hand, when we do something wrong, and it is our turn to forgive ourselves, things can get a bit messy.
We hold that anger within us. There is a voice in our head continuously reminding us of what we have done wrong. And, at times, it can seem there’s no way out.
And this is when we need our own forgiveness the most to heal, to move on and to improve.
Once you make a mistake, and you experience regret, you have already learnt from that mistake. And when you learn from your mistakes, you become an improved version of you.
You are not your mistakes
Unfortunately, when you hold on to the painful memory, you won’t let you realise this learning.
You are not your mistakes. True, you made them, but because you realised those were mistakes, you are not the same person. You are now an improved version of you.
Meaning you will not repeat every mistake that you have done. You are not your mistakes anymore.
Therefore, you should stop beating yourself up over it.
Easier said than done, right? No one can beat us up the way we can beat ourselves up over something.
But now it is time to stop because it isn’t only harming our mental wellbeing but our physical wellbeing as well.
Forgiveness is effective in healing the body
Scientists are looking into the process of forgiveness, associating it with a
and physical state of being.
In fact, the experts at Stanford University are now conducting studies into the relationship between forgiveness and health and even in the prevention of disease.
The act of forgiveness
The act of forgiveness consists of decreasing your anger towards your misdeeds, the blaming of the offender (you) and taking less personal offence.
It also involves creating an increased understanding of the situation and everything that led to the hurtful deed.
You see, it’s not as impossible as you might think. The reason you avoid the act of forgiving is that it is often too hard to confront what you did.
How do you know you need to forgive yourself
Forgiving yourself is the hardest step towards recovery, but it’s the first one that needs to be taken to achieve progress.
When it gets to the point of you not being able to function properly, or any aspect of your wellbeing is disturbed, then it is time to reconsider forgiveness. Be brave and confront what happened.
When you decide you want to be healthier overall, you know it’s time to forgive. You cannot have one without the other because optimal health occurs on a mental and physical level.
Being in a constant state of chronic anger disrupts your day-to-day life. Being resentful towards yourself will result in you malfunctioning at some point in your life.
Numerous studies have shown that stress and anger lead to acidosis of the body. Which then creates the perfect environment for cancer, autoimmune disorders, and heart diseases.
You know it is time to turn things around and change when that resentful voice in your head is judging every move and interfering with your life.
Forgiveness depends upon specificity
Feeling anxious or not at peace with yourself means that you are holding something back. Something that requires attention until it is resolved.
When feeling like this, you need to take some time for yourself. Sit down with a pen and paper and start analysing what is bothering you.
You might think you know the event or the memory that is causing all this pain. However, once you start to analyse the entire issue, you’d be surprised at how many other things are beneath it causing you further suffering.
When pain has its advantages
All the signs your body gives you, both physical and psychological, have their advantages. They are there to teach you that you need to change.
Changing means growing. And growth is inevitable for living a more fulfilled, positive life.
Whenever you feel something is off, you should be happy that it’s there to teach you something you hadn’t experienced before.
And when this happens, it means that you are expanding your consciousness and knowledge towards life.
Forgiving is not getting away with it
Confronting the pain and anger, you’re feeling is your punishment. And by doing so, you learn that what you did was wrong and is not to be repeated again.
A lot of people experience guilt while forgiving themselves. As if they should punish themselves for that misdeed. Consider that confronting the pain might be enough punishment.
By forgiving yourself, you are not letting yourself get away with it. Quite the opposite, you are facing your mistakes never to repeat them again.
Forgiveness can never feel complete unless you feel it coming from the other party as well.
Resenting yourself and not being able to forgive yourself can make you feel isolated. This feeling will distance you from those around you even if they are trying to help.
This is why surrounding yourself with those closest to you and admitting how you feel can make an immense step towards forgiveness.
Understandably, complete forgiveness requires the need to ask the person you wronged to forgive you as well. This way the people and the relationships are transformed in the process, and it ensures never repeating the mistake.
Taking the right steps towards forgiveness
By now you understand how the process of forgiveness ebbs and flows and what it is teaching you. Forgiveness requires plenty of work on yourself, but it is not impossible.
To be at peace with yourself, here are six steps to start working on today:
Realise that the past has passed
This may seem very obvious, but sometimes people are oblivious to the most obvious.
You cannot change the past no matter how hard you try. No matter how many times you’ve replayed the painful memory wishing you had done it differently, it won’t change.
However, by realising it’s unchangeable, you set yourself free and able to undertake the rest of the steps towards forgiveness.
And accepting this leads to emotional healing that you so badly need at the moment.
Question your current values and morals
Realising that now you are not the same person that performed the transgression makes things easier. Back then you may have been oblivious to the consequences, or you were only having a bit of fun.
But as a result, your morals and values have changed. You may no longer act or feel the same way.
By identifying this, you get a clearer picture of what it took for you to change your old ways and become a better person.
Act in accordance with your new morals and values
When you claim that you’re a different person, you’ve changed, and you deserve forgiveness, then start acting in accordance with the new you.
The best way to show yourself and others that you are worthy of forgiveness is to start replacing the negative thoughts and actions with new, positive ones.
The best part is, this leads to a sense of pride which then helps you build bigger self-esteem.
Recreate the situation
Working on yourself on a deeper level requires you to face what’s bothering you to change it.
So why not play that painful memory once again in your mind. Let’s face it, you have done it at least a thousand times already.
But this time write down everything you would have done differently. Write about how it made you feel. Write down all your feelings and memories that come to you.
Then reread them from a third person perspective. As if you are reading someone else’s words and not your own.
Would you judge this person as harshly as you judge yourself?
You did your best at the time
Just as you have realised you now have different morals and values, it is the same thing here. Recognise that back then you made the best decision that you could at the time.
Granted, when you look at it now with the benefit of hindsight it might be a totally crap choice. But given what you knew and who you were at that time, it was the best decision.
Maybe you lacked the objectivity, understanding or knowledge or perhaps what you did was driven by self-protection. If you have learned from it, then that experience, that pain, was never in vain.
Turning the page towards self-love
The last and arguably the most important step towards forgiveness is the moving on. At one point you need to accept what you’ve done and stop all the suffering by turning a new page.
Make sure you have done everything you can to amend your mistake. And after this, it’s time to put those events in the past and turn to self-love.
Start thinking kind thoughts, include positive affirmations and show yourself compassion. You deserve forgiveness because you are so much more than your mistakes.
If you need, sign up for coaching because external perspective can be instrumental in moving on.
How do you know you have attained forgiveness?
After working on yourself through all these steps, there is a simple test to check if you have really turned the page. Namely, by recalling the memory that once gave you pain.
If it no longer hurts you, you can easily say you’re free of it. Forgiving yourself is the closest you can get to the reset button of everything.