Do you find yourself in situations where, after a hard and rough day, you hit the bed hoping to go to sleep soon but its been more than half an hour and all you can think about is – ONLY IF I HAD….
It could be something that happened today or that week but it can extend to that month or even that decade. A relentless and familiar assault of unpleasantness overcomes you. It’s the worst time of the day for you, being with your own thoughts and going to bed.
If you are someone for whom self judgment and self criticism comes more naturally than you would like to admit, it’s time that you learn to forgive yourself.
And immediately I can imagine you throw a side glance and a smirk of sarcasm my way, “Yea Right!! like I don’t know that and haven’t tried it?”. You shoot a dirty look.
It’s easy to preach to the choir, make an intellectual argument about “the process to let go”, and list many reasons why it is a good idea to forgive yourself and move on. You must have read many a articles and books about it. And the conversation that you have with yourself so many times which goes something like, “hey you, come on, it is time to stop this…”, that the words start to feel hollow and empty for it just doesn’t cut it.
It baffles me time and again how much we depend upon logic and reasoning in the matters of the heart. And you know it – It just doesn’t work. You know it. So, today, here and now, it is time to admit it and stop resorting to the traditional fallbacks, logic and reasoning – the why, how, and what if.
Why Is It So Hard To Forgive Yourself
In one simple line – You are angry. Just sieve through all the logic and reasoning and observe the emotion at the very top, It is anger.
Unlike what most think, anger is not basic or natural emotion. Anger is the result of fermentation. Anger is caused by unfulfilled desires. Shri Krishna beautifully explains to arjuna in the chapter 2, verse 62 and 63 of the Bhagwad Gita, he says,
A thought, a want came up. You thought about it and imagined it vividly. It felt good. It got strengthened. It became alive. You started to work for it. Struggle and sacrifices were made without questions. You weaved a life around it in your head. You Saw yourself happy as the desire got fulfilled in your mind. Many other new desires and wants were born that seemed beautiful and possible as a result of that fulfillment. Now, you have created this whole world in your mind which has led to attachment.
You find it difficult to forgive yourself and move on because whatever you did or didn’t do crashed the life you had built up in your mind
Forgiving Yourself Versus Forgiving Others
When we are with our friend, colleague, or sibling comforting them in their time of distress, when they are going through self blame, guilt, and regret, it is quite easier. You are able to make sense, put things in the right perspective. If they have hurt you and you are reconciling with them, you may pardon your friend for a wrong deed but not forgive yourself for the same thing.
I have experienced this first hand and I am sure you must have experienced it too. Why is it so difficult when the role is inverted!?
Do You Find It Hard To Ask For Forgiveness
“Ask and you shall receive” is a well known edict from the bible. It takes saint-like character and mindset to not hold someone at fault who has wronged you. For the rest of us when there is communication, only then it leads to a resolution. When was the last time you forgave someone who did not ask for it?
This rule is very much applicable to our own self. You know what, let’s do it right now. Look in the mirror in your room or in the selfie camera of your mobile and ask yourself the permission to forgive yourself. See how it feels. Don’t think about it, just do it right away.
Could you gather enough courage to ask yourself for forgiveness. And, even when you have asked yourself for permission, did you receive a wholehearted blessing for a pardon. So what do you do?
The Childhood Connect
To explain it in the language of Transactional Analysis (TA), the ability to forgive yourself is something that is imparted on you in your childhood. How your parents treated you plays an extraordinarily significant role.
If the critical parent (ego state) in you is more dominant than the nurturing parent (ego state), then you will always struggle to forgive yourself. Simply because this is what you have been taught. That is your childhood programming. It is natural for you to be critical towards yourself rather than nurturing and compassionate.
How Do I Stop Punishing Myself For Past Mistakes
Forgiving yourself may NOT be an excruciating task as almost everyone says it is. So many people find it difficult and painful since they have an intellectual approach to it. That is why post after post that you read keeps feeding you that it is so difficult. But knowing what I know and having helped so many people come out of guilt and regret, let me tell you it is not!
Here are three simple and effective ways you can start to the journey to forgive yourself and let go by-passing your intellect and reasoning.
1. Trauma Tapping Technique
The Trauma Tapping Technique is one of the best ways and the easiest method to get rid of the guilt and regret that you carry. It has been used to treat far worse memories and experiences like war crimes in Africa.
The points that you tap work on disrupting your neural pathways that are responsible for carrying the feelings, pain, and hurt. There is a method to this. It simple and profound.
You can download the free e-book to learn the technique and the also check out the amazing work done by those people on this website
2. Rebirthing Breathwork
Rebirthing Breathwork has been around for more than 50 years now, thanks to its founder Leonard Orr and has been instrumental in healing millions of people worldwide. I have been practicing rebirthing breathwork on myself and also have been teaching others with great results in a matter of a few minutes.
Your breath is the connection between your body, mind, and subconscious. Rebirthing breathwork activates your life-force energy aka your Prana or Chi to give you instant relief from the clutches of emotional pain and trauma.
There is nothing religious about it. The impact of breathwork on the human psyche is well-known. The wonder of it can only be felt when practiced. Checkout this article for more in-depth understanding of how it works.
3. Stop Living in Denial
Denial is a form of defense mechanism that involves rejecting the reality of a situation to avoid feeling the pain and the hurt
In Lucifer, the web-series on Netflix, people went to hell only when they felt deep guilt for something they did. If there was no guilt for their actions, then behold, a loophole! Living in denial is something similar, using that loophole for emotional relief and regulation.
It may work for you in the short term and to be honest could be a survival instinct for you. If you do not recognize that you made a mistake, then what is there to be forgiven for? So, where’s the question of forgiving if no sins were committed?
If you can refute it to yourself, then you deny it to all others who come to challenge you on it.
It may even be possible that, you could even pass a lie detector test — because your mind doesn’t believe it happened because of your fault.
Forgiving Yourself and Self Compassion
Forgiving yourself is an aspect of self compassion. Forgiving yourself, letting go and moving on (mind you, both are different things) is a way to make peace with the way you see yourself. The overwhelming feelings of Guilt, shame, and disappointment changes our self image and so it is important to work on these feelings in an energetic manner.
Now, to forgive yourself does not imply parroting the words, “I forgive myself.” Honestly, doing only that does not mean anything significant to the entire process of self-forgiveness.
To Forgive yourself means working on the anger, guilt, and bitterness in yourself with compassion, warmth, and kindness. Self-forgiveness helps you become a tender and understanding friend to yourself. Self-forgiveness could be the most precious present you could offer yourself. Letting go and moving on means giving yourself the permission to be happy, living in the present moment.