forgiveness

How to forgive yourself if you feel responsible

Forgiveness is truly healing, for both those that forgive and those that are forgiven. But what happens when we are dealing with loss and forgiveness is not offered or is impossible because those who could forgive have passed away?

 

When I asked for forgiveness it was not forthcoming. I struggled for ages with the notion that I would not receive the forgiveness I desperately wanted. Needed even. Whilst I was seeking forgiveness I was paralyzed, unable to let go and move on as I thought that was the only way I could be free. In time I realized that the reason I was so desperate for forgiveness was because I hadn’t yet forgiven myself.

 

Once I knew I had done everything I could to apologize and seek forgiveness, I realized that the only solution in order to really be able to let go and move on, was to forgive myself. Once I did, a great deal of healing took place. I felt more whole again, I felt freer. That was the beginning of my journey towards letting go and moving on.

 

If you are struggling to forgive yourself, every time you feel guilt or shame about how you behaved repeat this mantra in your head:

 

‘I did the best I knew how to at the time, given my life experience’

 

This in no way excuses your behavior but it will help you see things in context, with more self compassion. If you struggle with being self compassionate, please read my article titled ‘How to Silence Your Inner-Critic and Become Your Own Best Friend’ which is jammed packed with expert advice from leaders in the field, on how to be more self-compassionate.

 

The truth is we all make mistakes, sometimes with awful consequences. We need to offer ourselves self compassion and forgiveness first, before we can extend compassion and forgiveness to others.

 

Remember, if you are holding onto resentment, you are failing to let go and move on as well. If you are holding onto anger and resentment over a past hurt, please read my article titled ‘How to Liberate Yourself By Overcoming the Three Blocks to Forgiveness’.

 

In truth, both receiving and giving forgiveness is essential to have healthy hearts which are free from the diseased emotions of resentment and shame.

 

Do you need to forgive yourself? Are you holding on to resentment and anger? Can you see the advantages of offering forgiveness? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Friends and Family Questionnaire

One of the easiest ways to do a life audit is to just ask yourself ten questions for each area of your life and then give yourself a score to find out how to rate yourself.

 

Below I’ve outlined ten questions for the friends and family life area so you can easily assess where you’re currently at – simply give yourself a score out of ten for each question with one being awful and ten being excellent, with no room for improvement.

 

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How to Forgive Your Friends

If you’ve ever had one of your friends hurt you, you will know it can be heart wrenching. One of the best ways to open the door to forgiveness is to try to understand the person better, taking into account everything your friend was going through at the time and how he or she must have felt. Remember that your friends are only human and they have flaws just like everyone else.

 

The issue of forgiveness is a very complex one but ultimately when we forgive someone release the pain and resentment we are harbouring – this is very liberating and makes what is often a hard process worthwhile.

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Why Karma works with forgiveness

 

‘Treat others how you would wish to be treated’ is a common truism that has grass roots in the notion of Karma. Some may even call it the law of attraction, others still Christianity. However you choose to describe the origins of this truism I firmly believe that when you extend forgiveness to others, others are more inclined to extend forgiveness to you.

 

Some of the greatest speakers in the world such as Tony Robbins, Oprah and Deepak Chopra all recognize and frequently advise that if you are seeking more of something in the world, whether it be kindness, peace or even love, you first need to extend this very same thing to others in order to see it fully manifest in your life.

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Why shame is such a destructive emotion and how to overcome it

 

Often shame and guilt are used interchangeably. Whilst guilt is a very positive emotion which prompts us to recognize we have done something wrong and serves to encourage us to make amends shame is much more pervasive and causes us to feel that we are something wrong, leading us to feel unworthy, socially disgraced and isolated.

 

According to the Free Dictionary shame is:

 

“A painful emotion caused by the awareness of having done something wrong or foolish: felt shame for cheating on the exam.

 

Brene Brown, an award winning speaker who has spent the past ten years researching vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame gave one piece of advice that stuck with me at a core level. Brene’s self confessed mantra is:

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How to Liberate Yourself by Overcoming the 3 Blocks to Forgiveness Part Four

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

 

The healing process…

 

Invariably the healing process is not linear, it isn’t a straight line on a graph. There will be peaks and troughs. During times when you are revisited by difficult feelings, return to the strategies you adopted when first trying to forgive.

 

Many people mistakenly think they cannot forgive, simply because they encounter difficulty after they have initially forgiven someone. In order to avoid this pitfall be mindful that the forgiveness and healing process can be lengthy. It is nonsensical to think there won’t be difficulties along the way. So if you experience difficulties after deciding to forgive someone, be comforted by the fact that this is to be expected and persevere.

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How to overcome humiliations grasp

The Macmillan Dictionary defines humiliation as

 

the unhappy and ashamed feeling that you get when something embarrassing happens.”

 

We experience humiliation when a circumstance or event that is socially unacceptable publically lowers our social status. Humiliation is a powerful emotion and whenever I have experienced it I just wanted to run away and hide. And then I started to focus on those that humiliated me. Once I did that, not only was I deeply hurt, but I felt betrayed and angry which ultimately gave rise to resentment and hatred.

 

Worse still was when I was the cause of my humiliation and the resentment and hatred was internalized. Back in the days when I used to drink I experienced my fair share of humiliation which was caused mainly by my own actions. Although this caused me much distress my friends always said lightheartedly that it was harmless and funny, which serves as evidence that humiliation is based primarily on our perception and interpretation of what happened and not on what others may, in actuality, think.

 

Through my experience I discovered a four step attack on humiliation that is bound to help anyone overcome this toxic emotion.

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Why resentment is a slow burner and how to kill its flickering flame

Resentment is a slow burner, it gradually creeps up on you and often catches you by surprise. Although it isn’t as powerful an emotion as hatred, it can be a destructive force in relationships when those you harbor resentment towards are those closest to you.

 

According to Wikipedia, resentment is caused by:

 

publicly humiliating incidents such as accepting negative treatment without voicing any protest, an object of regular discrimination or prejudice, envy/jealousy, feeling used or taken advantage of by others, and having achievements go unrecognized.”

 

There have been many times in my life when I have overcome hatred for someone who had done me wrong only to discover that I was still struggling with releasing my resentment towards them.

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How to avoid the handgun of hatred backfiring

Holding onto hatred is literally like holding onto a faulty handgun that could backfire at any time. The dangerous thing is that when we hold onto hatred we are so focused on where the handgun is pointing that we forget it is faulty and backfires.

 

When hatred backfires, as it invariably does, we are hit by a lethal bullet of loathing and contempt and it impacts all of our senses. It impacts how we see the world, what we feel, how we interpret what we hear – everything is affected. Our experience of the world becomes negative and we adopt a cynical view of people and sometimes even on life.

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How to Liberate Yourself by Overcoming the 3 Blocks to Forgiveness Part Three

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

 

How to overcome the 3 blocks to forgiveness and forgive…

 

3) Humiliation and shame

 

When we experience humiliation our first instinct is to run and hide. When we experience shame our first instinct is to lash out. Usually humiliation is followed by shame. The reason why these two feelings are particularly detrimental to forgiveness is that they impact upon our perception of self, which is linked to our self-worth. When our self-worth is threatened, our fight or flight response is triggered, and we either explode or implode, which are both obstacles to forgiveness.

 

When you are in a state of shame or humiliation try to alter your perspective and consider whether this situation will be significant ten or twenty years from now. If you believe it would remain significant, consider what you would think if this happened to a friend. Would you judge or think any less of her? I imagine probably not.

 

By shifting your perspective you will be able to step outside of your humiliation and shame and see your situation in a larger context.

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