I’m going to say something very controversial in self-help circles. This isn’t a popular viewpoint, but it is something I have discovered through my years of practice. I’m going to tell you that all those people who have done you wrong, hurt you, betrayed you, stomped on your heart, and called you names – don’t forgive them.
“But isn’t being spiritual about forgiving everyone and loving them? Isn’t that what being a good person is?”
Here’s the thing, forgiveness is incredibly important. I would argue that it is the most important aspect of healing there is. My entire healing practice is based on forgiveness and I have witnessed people’s lives changes instantly with just a small dose of well-placed forgiveness. But here is my secret: it isn’t forgiving others that matters, but forgiving yourself.
The mind is a funny thing. When we go through difficult experiences, even if we logically know those experiences aren’t our fault, some part of us forms a belief that what happened is our fault. Our mind likes to take everything personally. We want so desperately to understand why something happened, and the mind’s logical conclusion is that we must have done something wrong or that we are bad in some way.
I’m not sure why the mind is wired this way, but it is. And it isn’t a problem, if we know how to bypass the mind and get back into our loving.
We do this through self-forgiveness.
The next time you are in a difficult situation, I want you to try something. Just for a second, forget about the other person or people involved. I want you to place a hand on your heart, close your eyes, and say to yourself:
I am so sorry you had to go through what you did.
I love you.
Please forgive me.
I forgive myself.
And take a deep breath. Forgive yourself for just having had to go through what you did.
You will likely feel a release in your body and the return of joy.
The really exciting thing is, that once we forgive ourselves, oftentimes forgiveness towards the person who wronged us starts to happen spontaneously. We don’t have to force it, or make ourselves forgive someone when we are still struggling with real hurt.
All we have to do is reach into that part of ourselves that was hurt, and offer ourselves the love and forgiveness we think we should be offering to another.
Love and forgive yourself first and foremost.
Once you have forgiven yourself, it might feel natural to then do a similar forgiveness process with the person who harmed you. Feel free to if it feels natural. But please don’t force yourself.
Love yourself so much that you offer yourself forgiveness and acceptance above all. Stay gentle and soft with yourself, letting yourself know you will never betray yourself by offering forgiveness to someone else when you aren’t ready. Just keep loving yourself and forgiving yourself for where you are at. The rest will take care of itself.