Please, Forgive Yourself
We’ll never fully love and accept ourselves until we learn how to forgive ourselves.
How many times have we all heard that?
It’s said so often that it becomes easy to brush off and push aside.
Forgiveness…. Yeah, yeah, yeah, WE KNOW.
Maybe we get defensive and eye-rolling about it because it’s so damn hard. Or maybe it’s because it’s true. Or maybe it’s because it’s both true and hard (these are the moments where we like to get especially grumpy).
Guess what? It is true, and it is hard. But it is also possible, freeing, beautiful, and transformative.
We beat ourselves up all the time. For example, here are a few of the things I hold against myself on an almost daily basis:
- I should be trying harder to be healthy
- I shouldn’t have eaten that
- I shouldn’t have stayed up so late
- I should be nicer to my partner
- I should be trying harder at work
- I’m a fraud – mind, body, soul… FRAUD!
- I should be more patient with my family
- I should look more like her
- I should wake up earlier
- I don’t get enough done during the day
- I need to work out more
- I’m too unorganized
- I’m too organized
- I need to chill
- I need to stop being so chill
…. The list goes on and on. Yes, my mind is a scary place.
What’s scarier is that these are only examples of the day to day issues we all struggle with.
Now, think for a second about the bigger regrets. I’m talking about the deeply embedded painful decisions that we hold over our own heads for decades or even lifetimes: the lovers that could have been, the messed up relationships, the wrong jobs, the wrong life, and the things we never ever should have said… you get it.
In the scheme of forgiveness, it doesn’t really matter if we’re forgiving too many cookies or a broken relationship from a decade ago; it all holds the same power.
When we hold onto resentment, pain, or guilt from the past, we are putting our entire beings at risk. These emotions are released in our bodies as cortisol (aka stress) and over time, they can negatively impact our health leaving us feeling sick, tired, anxious, and depleted.
Deepak Chopra writes that when we hold hostility in our bodies it has an inflammatory response, and this inflammation can be linked to autoimmune disorders, premature deaths, heart attacks and strokes.
AKA it’s not good.
But, fear not. We have the power turn this all around with the power of forgiveness.
Through forgiveness we not only heal ourselves mentally and emotionally, but we heal ourselves physically too.
Physically, as we forgive our body releases the toxicity it has built up, and we return to a state of peace and homeostasis. We are clearing out the constrictions we have placed on ourselves and thus the constrictions that have built up in our bodies. This leaves us with an opportunity to heal and rejuvenate. Luckily, this healing process begins almost immediately upon forgiveness.
Just think about a time where you were holding onto something that you finally let go. Ahhhhh, you feel so much better, you can even feel it in your body! That’s the stuff we’re talking about.
Mentally and emotionally, forgiveness holds a similar power. Each moment we release guilt we have been holding on to, we increase our ability for self-compassion, self-awareness, and self-healing. As we begin to slowly forgive ourselves for past decisions, experiences, and perceptions, it does not mean that we are condoning our behavior. Instead, we are giving ourselves the gift to feel free instead of to remain shackled and tied to our past mistakes. That is no way to live.
We’re not here to beat ourselves up every day, over and over again. We are here to grow, learn, fall down, get back up, try again, and love ourselves along the way.
The cycle of self-deprecating thoughts and behaviors must end; forgiveness is the first step in doing just that.
Who is ready to let it go?
Listen to our episode about forgiving our younger, more f*cked up selves here.