Forgiveness is defined by psychologists as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness…. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses but rather choosing to let go of any form of hurt and pains inflicted on you by someone else or even yourself.
Self-forgiveness can be a lot harder than forgiving others because in this case there’re two things involved; it’s either there’re no excuses whatsoever that you can use to blame a third party for what went wrong, you know very well that it’s your fault and there’s no point in allocating the blame to someone else or even though there was someone else involved, you played a role in causing the problem. To make matters worse; society has done its part in teaching us that if we don’t criticize ourselves harshly for our mistakes then we’ll become lazy, incompetent or unsuccessful but the reality is that this belittling mindset sabotages our efforts to lead fulfilling, meaningful and happy lives. So how can one approach self-forgiveness?
- Focus on Your Emotions: Acknowledge and process your emotions, give yourself permission to recognize and accept the feelings that have been triggered in you and welcome them, accept your discomfort without judgment.
- Instead of criticizing yourself: understand, learn and grow from your vulnerability, failures and embarrassments. Reminding yourself that you did the best you could with the tools and knowledge you had at the time, will help you forgive yourself and move forward.
- Be Kind to Yourself: It’s pretty clear how important self-compassion is on the journey of self-healing so give yourself the gift of time to take care of yourself and your needs. You can take a break from your usual daily routine just to spoil yourself a little.
- Take Action: If the mistake made hurt someone else, you need to determine the best course of action. Consider what you can do to rectify the mistake with honor and self-respect, and then put it in action. Rectifying an error will lift your burden and help you move beyond a past mistake that is still affecting your current life.
- Focus on Renewal: Falling into the trap of pondering, self-hatred, or even pity can be damaging and make it difficult to maintain your self-esteem and motivation. Focus on replacing or repairing whatever was broken or lost and making better choices in the future.
When you learn to forgive yourself you actually improve your well-being and productivity, you let go of all the guilt and shame you feel, you realize that you’re not perfect and that it’s ok to make mistakes sometimes and you begin to establish realistic expectations for yourself. Forgiving ourselves can make it a whole lot easier to forgive others.
What The Bible Says About forgiveness:
“Philippians 3:13 [AMP] – I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own (yet); but one thing I do (it is my one aspiration): forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”
“Luke 6:37 [AMP] – Judge not (neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure), and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.”
“1 Peter 5:7 [AMP] – Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”
“Romans 8:1 [AMP] – Therefore, (there is) now no condemnation (no adjudging guilt of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live (and) walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the spirit.”
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