Lately, I notice there are frequent mentions of forgiveness as a critical element on our pathway to personal growth and overall well-being-ness. References are in articles, blogs, books, meditation programs online, in the news – you name it, there’s an urgent and essential call to forgive. Often times, we limit our thinking of forgiveness as something we extend to others for what they’ve done or even for who they are implicitly.
What if we are missing the point? What if forgiveness is only about looking inward, and releasing judgements, grudges and bad feelings that were created as a byproduct of some external event? What if forgiveness is actually less about other people, and is more about accepting ourselves as lovable even with our imperfections?
During one of my meditations several months ago, I asked for awareness of those to whom I needed to extend forgiveness. Yes, I was “others focused”. My revelation was that in every situation where I perceived harm done by someone requiring my forgiveness, I also played a role in the relationship that needed forgiveness as well. I’m not saying that others’ bad behavior is okay – but I am saying that on the balance of things, I needed to forgive myself in every situation for the mistakes that I had made as well.
Why do you suppose that it’s so hard to extend forgiveness to ourselves? In many respects, we are perfectionists and can’t stand the thought that somehow we have fallen short. Maybe along the way, we have decided to define “falling short” to mean we are bad, unlovable, or insufficient. Forgiving ourselves means that something needs forgiving, and perhaps that’s just too painful to face. Many of my coaching and hypnotherapy clients really struggle with forgiving themselves and letting go of the pain.
My one wish for all of my clients is for them to offer forgiveness and to find a calm and peaceful place of acceptance within themselves. Meditation and journaling can really help with this process, so look for past blogs here where I give you a little nudge towards using these free tools! When you’re ready to take a hard look, I’m here to be useful to your process.
Forgiveness really is an inside job.
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