Nobody purposely causes themselves pain.
This is the first thing we need to acknowledge if we want to start on a journey of taking responsibility for our own suffering and healing our past hurts, in order to create fresh, new experiences for ourselves.
We aren’t f*ckups, screwups, or stupid morons in any way. But, we are human. And that means at times, we will be confused, lonely, brokenhearted, and also trying our best to improve our own journeys, as well as the journeys of others, while struggling to see through the fog of our existence.
This is a beautiful thing, this stumbling process of negotiating our individual path within a collective experience. It’s not an easy journey to traverse, but definitely one to be grateful for.
We’ve all made mistakes in our lives, and by mistakes, I mean we’ve all had experiences that are simply teaching us and helping us grow, but they feel like mistakes.
We know that feeling well of an experience feeling like a mistake, because we have a wish in our heart that it never happened. We can be extremely hard on ourselves about these things that we perceive we’re doing wrong in our lives. This is what we must forgive ourselves for—the idea that we’re not doing a good enough job being human, and the self-harm we’ve applied to ourselves about this perception.
I have been extremely hard on myself in my life, like so many of us have. I’ve had times in my life when my mind never stops evaluating each moment, specifically, how I could have done things differently, been better, reacted more beneficially to myself, or, more often, been more beneficial to other people.
This is why I personally have set the intention to forgive everything and everyone on my path. I am not perfect at it, but it is the direction my compass is pointed.
All the self-blame and meanness I’ve communicated to myself from myself, this is something to be forgiven.
This process of healing I’ve chosen to engage with has not been about forgiving my actual actions or the actions of others, but instead, forgiving myself for all the times I’ve been mean to myself with negative and even cruel self-talk. My own thoughts from my own heart and mind have hurt me. And for this I forgive myself. I let it all go.
Self-forgiveness is a process.
We don’t do it in one session of saying sorry to our own being. Instead, we do it in all of the small moments when we see our own pain, and we forgive ourselves for being feeling humans who not only love and rejoice, but also hate and feel jealousy and resentment.
We forgive ourselves for being ill, for being confused, and for being mean to others. We forgive ourselves for the pain of knowing that self-forgiveness is also not the total answer to our suffering.
Oprah Winfrey explains it well when she says, “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.”
When we know that we can forgive, we develop an inner strength of believing we can tackle any challenge. Because even if we stumble and fall flat on our faces, we won’t have to suffer forever from that one fall, because we will be able to forgive our own foibles and carry on.
All the pain that occurred in the past can be over—but only if we choose for it to be. When we carry all of our pain in our hearts, all the time, and attack ourselves with this old pain each and every day, or for some people each and every moment, then we have to live with this trauma and suffering absolutely more than is necessary.
The moment the pain actually occurred is over, but still we hurt ourselves with the memory. This is something to be forgiven, the carrying of all the pain from the past which causes us to miss the joy in the moment. We all do this, it’s normal, but still, it can be forgiven.
When we understand we can forgive, we become more open to the pain of others. It means people can lash out at us, share their suffering, tell us all that is wrong and painful, and even if it hurts us to hear it, we know we will be able to forgive the hurt.
I don’t know what the process of forgiveness looks like for you, but I know what it feels like when I touch forgiveness. It feels like humility. It feels like all my sharp edges are melting around me, and I sink into a gentle acceptance of being a flawed human with a big heart, trying my best each and every day.
My vision is different when my intention is forgiveness. I see through a gentler lens. I see that everyone is waking up every morning and trying again, even if it’s hard, and even if the delusion of self-protection is controlling their reactions.
We can’t control the actions of other people. There is evil in the world, and there are people who want to hurt other people. This is a fact we can’t ignore. And when the hurt happens, we need to remember that we did not bring this pain upon ourselves with our own karma. We didn’t do something in the past to make us deserve pain. This view of karma as retribution is way more cruel then our benevolent Universe is.
If we take the pain inflicted upon us and internalize it into a lack of self-worth and self-confidence, we will then have to live with that negativity, and that will be a hurt we’re inflicting on ourselves.
Our relationship with ourself is crucial. When we know that we can forgive ourselves, no matter what events occur on this human journey, then we will develop a strength no one can take away from us.
Self-forgiveness takes courage.
It takes intention and not believing the self-critical thoughts that play in our minds.
Self-forgiveness also means going against the powerful current of wanting to blame others for your pain. These are real challenges, and the way to break through the dark clouds of resisting self-forgiveness is just to do it.
Just say to yourself, “I forgive,” and then lie quiet and listen.
Maybe feel your heart center, maybe put on some soothing music, maybe go out for a hard run, and stomp forgiveness in with every pound of your feet against the ground. I don’t know which way is best for you. You just have to figure it out.
Because there is no right way to forgive, but there are many ways to avoid forgiving, and the more we avoid something, the harder it is to start.
If you want love to be the guide between your own mind and your own heart, then they need to trust each other. They need to know that they will treat each other well. Forgive yourself for every time your heart has hurt your mind, and every time your mind has hurt your heart, and every time your choices have hurt your own body.
Say “I forgive everything” loudly in a clear and confident voice to your whole being, and watch your human journey open up in ways you never would have expected.
Why we are here as humans is a big, fat mystery, but if we take the time to forgive ourselves for all the pain we have caused our own soul, then we know we’re making good use of this winding path we will never fully understand.