The Importance of Self-Forgiveness


Nobody is perfect. We are human. We make mistakes. We forget self care. We don't prioritize rest. We forget to ask for help. We forget to keep up with our personal finances. It is okay not to be perfect. But what happens is we judge ourselves when we aren't perfect. Here's how to free yourself of self judgment. 

There is a Buddhist quote that talks about anger. "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."

This is true for self judgment, self doubt and self hatred. When we are judging ourselves and others (politics, capitalism, you name it), as bad, wrong, not good enough, comparison, we are simply showing ourselves that we are angry. When we are angry we are burning ourselves. 

Self forgiveness is the practice of putting down the hot coal, the remedy, the healing. 

But do not confuse self forgiveness with allowance. Self forgiveness is not condoning toxic or unhealthy behavior, from yourself or others. Self forgiveness is putting down the hot coal so that we are not burning ourselves anymore. Self forgiveness is letting yourself off the hook. 

I first learned about self forgiveness through the University of Santa Monica in 2005. They taught us this concept of forgiving ourselves for judgments, for old beliefs, for limiting stories about ourselves, life and God. Self forgiveness was one of the many tools I learned in that school that still supports me on a daily basis. 

Self forgiveness is not about what we did or didn't do, what we said or didn't say. It is about forgiving the judgment around the action or the thought or buying into the limiting story about ourselves, others, money, love or God. 

Try it for yourself. Say the following outlaid followed by a judgment you have about yourself or others:

I forgive myself for being...

I forgive myself for thinking...

Now try saying it this way: 

I forgive myself for judging myself as...

I forgive myself for buying into the belief that...

Did you notice the difference? You don't have to forgive yourself for being a certain way or thinking a certain way. That in and of itself is another judgment. We are the way we are. We think the way we think. When we forgive ourselves for judging that we are bad or not enough for being the way we are, is freeing. When we forgive ourselves for judging the way we think as wrong, is healing. 

What is also important about self forgiveness is following up the forgiveness with what is true. The truth is you are doing the best you can. The truth is you can choose differently next time. The truth is you are enough just as you are. The truth is you can love yourself no matter what. 

Because the truth is...

When we forgive ourselves (and others) we create space, and in that spaciousness the truth about who you really are, is revealed. 

Comment below and let me know what you think!