Do you know what it feels like to have someone you love and trust abandon you? Or hurt you in a way where you feel like you’ll never forgive them? If you can answer yes, let me ask you one more question…have you let forgiveness help you heal?
Forgiveness is one of those words that can trigger an uncomfortable reaction in those who’ve experienced trauma. Each person has their own idea of what forgiveness is and it’s up to them to determine who’s earned it.
Forgiveness as a catalyst for change
What I’ve come to learn is that forgiveness isn’t about the other person. It’s about making a choice for yourself (when you’re ready) to release the harmful emotions and resentment you feel. And not letting those feelings have any further control over you.
As a young child, I lived through some extremely challenging times. Because of that, I experience symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). I didn’t realize this until about 2 years ago when I started on my journey of healing those old wounds. Throughout my adult life, I thought I had dealt with my childhood trauma. The reality was, I’d only scratched the surface!
What I didn’t know was trauma not only lives in the mind, but the body as well. When certain things happen, it triggers a physical reaction because of the trauma. With that knowledge, I’ve been able to practice new ways of responding to the challenges that happen in my life. And forgiveness has been the catalyst for the changes I’ve made. Especially forgiving myself for the choices I made as a result of my difficult childhood.
The importance of self-forgiveness
Forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we make is often more difficult to do than forgiving those who’ve hurt us. As human beings, we all do things wrong or mess up in some way. It’s how you respond that makes the difference! When you follow these steps, you’ll be that much closer to forgiving yourself in a healthy and rewarding way!
- Admit to yourself (with compassion and without judgment) that you’ve made a mistake.
- Journal about and honor the feelings that come up for you.
- Recognize that it’s ok to make mistakes.
- Ask yourself what you could have done differently and journal your answers.
- Make amends with yourself and others as needed.
- Ask yourself what you learned about yourself and journal your answers.
Learning how to practice self-forgiveness, gives you the opportunity to reduce anxiety and stress. Both of which can wreak havoc on your mental health! You’ll also improve your physical health, establish healthy relationship bonds, and make better decisions. Forgiveness is a choice you make that requires you to work through the consequences of your actions. Use these steps to help you get through the tough stuff!
While I was learning the practice of self-forgiveness, this guided meditation was a life line for me. It’s one of the most powerful meditations I’ve experienced and has truly made a difference in my life!
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