Self-forgiveness frees us. However, it requires giving up and releasing the guilt and shame that goes along with what we have or have not done that is causing us guilt.
Guilt is the principal thief of emotional happiness, but it is only a trick of the mind and has no substance. The underlying causes of guilt are in the past and should therefore be relinquished.
(link for Part 1 is below)
Knowing why we said or did hurtful things makes it easier for our psyche to exonerate itself from our attitudes or actions that have hurt our self, or others. We carry guilt and shame for both hurting ourselves and others.
People who hurt themselves or others are acting from past hurts. When we understand that we were only projecting our past hurts onto ourselves or onto others helps us to allow for the release of the guilt and dissolution of any associated shame.
We have to first honestly acknowledge how we behaved, what we have said, or have or have not done in the past that is causing us to be sad, unhappy, lethargic, or dysfunctional in the present, or that caused rifts with others. We then release the emotions of it all – and free ourselves the effects on us.
Room is then made in the deepest part of our self to connect to the peace and general feeling of well-being that is our intended state and that allows us to become our Best Self.
This blog article is based on concepts in my 2 books
“Your Journey to Peace …” About here and
“Why We Are the Way We Are” About here
(Both available in Print and E-book – Cover images below)
Depending on both our innate personality and what we need to forgive our self for, this can be immediate or take years of work. Even those who have committed crimes and are in jail can tap into universal unconditional love and the forgiveness within it and experience a sense of well-being.
However, during this process of acknowledgement and release we must remember
to not get stuck in the old story of what we have or have not done.
We practice self-forgiveness when we recognize that the thoughts we had, words we uttered, deeds we did, or things we didn’t do that are causing us angst, guilt, shame, discomfort, or caused us to become dysfunctional or even an addict, and then release the associated negative emotions surrounding the issue.
Understanding that we only acted because of being misaligned from our True Self allows us to face what we have done – for release – not for self-condemnation. Peace and feelings of well-being are the goals of self-forgiveness. Adding more guilt is not.
It is the denial and burying of these shadow parts of ourselves that keep us in emotional bondage, take away our current peace of mind, and cause us to continue to act in ways that hurt ourselves or others.
We forgive ourselves for undermining becoming our Best Self by
- acknowledging and addressing the how’s and wherefores of the attitudes and/or actions that kept us in dysfunctional patterns,
- taking time to honestly look at the why’s allows our true thoughts and feelings on the subject to surface,
- journaling allows our feelings and thoughts to flow through us onto paper. It helps us connect to our innocent self that only acted out of fear,
- asking our self questions helps to connect the dots to why we acted in ways that ultimately hurt us. What were our triggers? Why did we do what we did, or did not do what we were supposed to or had planned to? Were we sad, lonely, angry, overwhelmed, or did we feel unloved or unappreciated? When we pinpoint the reason we can allow/invite the associated emotions to come to the surface,
- crying, addressing our anger or frustrations at our self, or pretend yelling at a perpetrator as if he or she were there dislodges the emotions from our psyche, and so their hold on us disappears.
As well as in my book, there are many techniques that aim to empower us and can be helpful with self-forgiveness like The Sedona Method or Byron Katie’s The Work. These can help us examine areas that might need self-forgiveness, forgiving others, forgiving situations, and forgiving the world.
Forgiving ourselves for hurting others, especially our loved ones, brings up many emotions and we will have to effectively deal with the guilt and shame if we want to overcome the effects.
We forgive ourselves for hurting others by:
- acknowledging to ourselves how we may have hurt them,
- making amends when appropriate and possible,
- releasing the shame and guilt of it all,
- getting help if the guilt and shame are overwhelming or we cannot find our way out of it all alone.
If we have been the person of authority and acted in ways that hurt, belittled, undermined, or disempowered those under our charge, once we face what we have done, are remorseful, are getting the help we need, and are aiming to change the path we are on, we too can return to wholeness and allow for our Best Self to come forth.
Forgiving ourselves for hurting our children or a loved one might be one of our greatest challenges, however it must be done if we are to move forward in life free from unconscious influences and the attitudes and behaviors they engender that create further chaos or conflict in our life.
And by us moving past the shame and guilt of hurting others and finding a new and better normal, we demonstrate to others who may not be able to face their guilt and shame and/or move past their regrets.
© Rosemary McCarthy, updated June 3rd, 2019.
See here for Part 1
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Here for About Your Journey to Peace ….”
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Copyright © 2016, 2018 by Rosemary McCarthy. All rights Reserved. To copy, share, or distribute this article (or the worksheet) simply ensure the content is copied in its entirety, is unaltered, and is distributed freely and for no monetary or personal gain, and that this copyright notice and the link for the article and the website www.spiritedfawnpublications.com are included. You can contact me at: email@example.com. Blessings, and thank you kindly, Rosemary