You hear it all the time, whether it be in self-help books, spiritual seminars or inspirational stories, about the power of forgiveness, and how it can set you free. When I heard these words my mind immediately went to those who had hurt me in some way, and how forgiving them would heal me. Not until recently, after diving into all the spiritual and inspirational books I could get my hands on did I realize I was missing something so obvious if it were a snake it would have bit me. The concept of forgiveness should not only extend to those around you, but also within you. Mind. Blown. What an eye-opening concept when you truly think about it, which is exactly why I started with the idea of forgiving yourself as my first official post on the journey to happy.
There are so many things I want to share with you that I struggled for a few days trying to determine what the subject of my next post would be. My head was swimming with ideas, but the concept of self-forgiveness kept nagging at me. I finally understood why (again, snake = bit). To begin any journey, whatever it may be, you must forgive the past to move forward. The fact is though, those words can be so over-stated that they become background noise. You see it and hear it in memes, affirmations and posts all around social media, but what does it really mean? Forgive your past to move on to the future. Ok. Done. Ha. I wish it were that easy.
To truly forgive yourself, you will need to dig deep and probably face some truths you’ve been trying to avoid. You will need to let go of the guilt you keep so close to your heart that sometimes you forget it’s even there. You know, that guilt that tricks you into believing you don’t deserve to be happy. For me, this was a very scary concept to face.
My past was something I never dealt with on that level. I mean, I looked back on it and I acknowledged it, and even blamed a lot of people for it (which is another post), but never really faced it internally. I never allowed myself to own it so I could let it go. Among many reasons, my heavy guilt mostly came from what I felt I put my children through. Two divorces were hard enough, but I moved my daughter 10 times by the time she was ten, and my son 8 times and he turns twelve this year. I’m not proud of these stats, and even though I did, and still do believe, those moves were necessary for our future, that guilt halted any belief in the possibility of happiness without me even realizing it. Subconsciously, I had convinced myself that someone who could do what I did, whether it be for good reason or not, should not be allowed to be happy or have an opportunity to succeed. Because these thoughts were subconscious and based on the belief that other people’s judgment of me is what mattered, I would consistently convince myself that if people only knew my truth, they would understand and except me for my decisions and then all would be ok. I lived like that every day.
It wasn’t until I decided it was time to get real about finding my purpose/path in this amazing life, did I realize that the I had to give myself a break. It was time for me to stop the smoke and mirrors and face my past and my decisions, own them, and then forgive myself for being human. Then, Let It Go.
So where do I start and how do I let go of something I’ve held onto every day of my life? It wasn’t easy, and I won’t lie, it’s an ongoing process that I work on consistently. For me, I started to forgive myself when I recognized the guilt and pinpointed what it was I was truly feeling and why. I did this by practicing meditation, which I won’t detail now, but I highly recommend as a jump start. Once I determined that there was guilt and where it came from, I journaled it, I put it on paper so I could see it, I even cried as read it back to myself, as that guilt can run deep to your core, and then I tore that shit up, and I let it go. After physically and mentally letting it go, I made a commitment that I would be more gentle with myself, I would allow myself to feel, and as hard as it may be for me because it is so engrained, let the judgment of others run off me like rain. I had to learn to love myself, for all of who I was, and who I now am. Although some days are harder than others, I practice this commitment Every Day, and it has made a tremendous difference in my life. I am lighter, happier, and this piece of the puzzle has helped me gain the confidence to write this blog. It takes remarkable courage to face your past and your guilt, and it takes even more strength to let it go, but it is an extremely important and necessary step to find your true happy.
No matter what your inner thoughts believe, no matter what past you may have lived, no matter what you may think others will think because of who you once were, YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. Repeat that to yourself, repeat it as many times as it takes for you to believe it, YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. Holding on to the guilt of your past will drain you and your spirit, blocking the ability to have real joy in your life, so give yourself a break, be gentle, learn to love your whole self and let go. You will find that the door will swing open to incredible possibilities.
P.S. If you’d like to learn just a little more about me and why I started this blog, please check out the About page either at the link above or in the drop-down menu at the top.
Also, the following link is a suggested meditation that incorporates forgiveness, I hope you enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca8tAjaKhLM