5 Reasons to Forgive Yourself Today
It’s hard to forgive others when you haven’t forgiven yourself. Perhaps it sounds foreign, but the root of forgiveness starts within, and once you learn to forgive yourself, forgiveness in general is much easier to implement. I have personally struggled with self-forgiveness in the past, and here are my 5 reasons why you need to forgive yourself today.
1. You are not perfect.
Stop denying this! Stop spinning your wheels, stop comparing yourself to others, stop worrying about stupid decisions you made in the past. Absolutely right your wrongs as appropriate, but don’t use your rearview mirror of past woes as your trusty guide to perfection. Even if you could achieve perfection, you still wouldn’t be happy. Why? Because you’d be the only perfect person on the planet and the rest of the world would bore and disappoint you. To be a perfect person is an illusion. As Esther Honig recently proved with her request for others in different countries to make her picture “look beautiful” — beauty and perfection are subject to the eye of the individual beholder.
You simply cannot please everyone, so it’s time to focus on pleasing yourself! Forgive yourself for not being perfect. You never will be perfect to everyone, and it’s silly to keep denying, rejecting, or obsessing over your perceived flaws. Take a few deep breaths, relax any tense muscles you have, and tell yourself that you are forgiven. You ARE forgiven.
2. You are perfectly unique.
Embrace yourself. Become your best friend. Get to know yourself on a very deep level. Sure, it might be a little scary, you might have to face some demons, but that’s okay, because every negative thought that pops up, you will quickly acknowledge and then forgive yourself. You’re human, and it’s natural to replay scenarios from the past on occasion, but instant replays of past negative emotions are not in your best interest. To subject yourself to past undesirable feelings and visuals is a form of torturing yourself. Remember, you are your best friend. You are putting yourself first, and you forgive yourself.
What makes you YOU? What puts the "U" in unique? Think of at least three things that really make you who you are — are you an animal lover? Do you have a special skill? Start making these things that you enjoy higher priorities in your life. Volunteer for an organization that interests you, find a meet-up group that engages in activities you find yourself naturally gifted in, or spend time alone to get to know yourself better (just like you would a good friend!).
3. You are capable of great things.
What things do you desire to accomplish or achieve in your life? You are capable of achieving at least one of those dreams! Be realistic, start small, and generate a list of at least three of your longest-held dreams. Which of those three is the most obtainable given your present circumstances? Start small and develop a good plan of action (and read this: Lacking Direction). Since you have now forgiven yourself, you have already commenced with clearing out the festering overgrowth of negative self-talk, and you are now going to position yourself in ways that enable and strengthen you.
Shift your focus from what you can’t do, what you’ll never do, or what you have failed to do, to focusing much more exclusively on what you can do, what you will do, and what you have learned. This action, while it takes practice to implement, is rather easy once you train your brain to default to this mindset and it is especially beneficial in stressful or trying environments. I know this works because this is a driving force behind rewriting yourself. This is the first physical action you can take, after forgiving yourself, that will put you on a path to self-development and success.
4. You deserve to be happy
Plain and simple – you DO deserve to be happy. What’s standing in your way? Now that you’ve forgiven yourself and determined at least one life-long dream you can (and will!) work toward and achieve, you really have nothing more to want. If you find yourself desiring more, ask yourself what it is you want. If you find yourself wanting material items, you need to check yourself on your values. Material objects are nice but those should not be prerequisites to your happiness. If you refuse to alter your requirements for happiness, you should expect to remain forever unhappy and unsatisfied. Take a good look at the material items you are desiring and figure out why that item(s) means so much. Do you desire them as a status symbol? Will they somehow make your life better and you cannot live another day without obsessing about or owning those things? Will they do something so magical to enrich your life and overall well-being that they will solve all of your problems? Or if you get these items, will you then just want another shiny, new thing the next week?
It’s up to YOU to determine what makes YOU happy. It’s nothing you have to define on paper, but rather find what makes your heart sing and lets that big smile linger across your lips a little longer. You’ll find that these moments of happiness are spurred by emotions and not by tangible items. Place yourself in instances where you can experience more of these joyful feelings. Happiness is abundant if you know where to seek it out. What makes you happy doesn’t necessarily bring the same emotions to others in your life. That’s okay. Make your happiness about you, and those around you will feel your happiness radiating. What better gift to give those you care about than that of your own genuine happiness and contentment? (It’s completely free!)
5. You are the ONLY person who can forgive YOU.
Start every morning with a five-minute reflection. Wake up, think of at least five things you are grateful for in your life, remind yourself of your uniquely beautiful qualities, envision obtaining that goal you are working toward, and then, forgive yourself. You are the only true voice inside your head, and this true voice is your ultimate friend or foe. Forgive that voice, learn to appreciate the constructive criticism your true voice gives you, and learn to dismiss that nagging, negative-self talk your inner you has been trained so well to dish out. It doesn’t take long for your true voice to soften and become more loving and supportive in tone. Soon, what used to be a loud nasty critic will become a soothing sound of healing and self-acceptance. No prescription medication comes close to the euphoria you can create for yourself once you foster your natural, nurturing internal self.
You are going to have to focus on these shifts in your thinking and in your daily routine to make the results long-term, but I promise that the effort is worth the pay-off. Don’t view this as a chore – what’s a chore is nagging yourself to near spiritual death, and you’ve been doing that absolutely well until this point, haven’t you? You can easily provide yourself the opposite experience by stripping away social conditioning (which requires a conscious effort) and then focusing on your new thought process revolving around forgiveness. When you focus on forgiving yourself daily, it leads to much easier forgiveness for others around you. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to forgive more freely? Well, it’s yours to enjoy. Forgive yourself again and every day, until it becomes an automatic part of your new, happy routine.
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