The previous post discussed how in forgiving others you choose to release the catabolic energy of hurt, anger and blame in favor of the anabolic energy of forgiveness in order to liberate yourself and move forward. If you read the post, you may have wondered why I didn’t mention the role and benefits of forgiving yourself for perceived errors and omissions as well.
Self-forgiveness is an infinitely more difficult, involved and potentially rewarding process, so it merits its own dedicated post.
So many of us repeatedly beat ourselves up over everything. I should have done this differently or better, I shouldn’t have done that at all, I shouldn’t have said what I did, I should have expressed what I really felt. If only I were a better person (mother, father, spouse, sibling, friend, coworker, boss), I’d have reacted differently. If only I had studied harder, if only I had cared more, if only I had cared less. Why didn’t I take a stand, why didn’t I reach out to a friend? Whatever your particular spin and phrasing, this form of endless self-castigation is fed by fear-fueled, destructive catabolic energy that keeps you stuck and holds you back.
As hard as it can be to demonstrate compassion and grace toward others, it can be even harder—seemingly impossible—to extend to ourselves.
Worn down by a relentless inner critic that finds fault with everything we think, say and do, it’s no wonder we get stuck. It’s tough to forgive yourself—let alone foster the mindfulness, imagination, discernment and discipline to make any desired changes in yourself and your life—if, at your core, you believe you’re never good enough and you don’t matter. Breaking free begins with self-forgiveness grounded in an understanding that you are good enough and you do matter.
You are a unique cocreative expression of the Divine. How could that ever not be enough?
In fact, according to Bruce D. Schneider, author of Energy Leadership and founder of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), YOU’RE ALREADY PERFECT. In his book, Relax, You’re Already Perfect, Bruce defines perfection as “unique unto itself.” Although you sometimes think, say or do things you wish you hadn’t, the endless assault of hypercritical head chatter isn’t helping you change for the better and grow, it’s keeping you stuck and holding you back.
The key is to let go of the judgmental catabolic energy of condemnation and embrace the expansive anabolic energy of self-forgiveness.
Recognize that your current approach to life isn’t aligning with your values, desires and priorities, figure out what’s not working and make the necessary adjustments. Demonstrate unconditional self-love, respect, curiosity, compassion and gratitude for the complexity of human experience, take responsibility, commit to showing up differently, make amends and move forward. Break the cycle of self-blame. When you notice aspects of yourself or your journey that feel less than optimal, CELEBRATE all the continued opportunities for growth.
Congratulations, you’re not done yet!
In the words of Saint Francis de Sales, “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them—every day begin the task anew.”
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