March 3, 2017

15 Experts Share Invaluable Tips On How To Forgive Yourself & Start Moving Forward

How To Forgive Yourself and Start Moving Forward

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

# Be aware of the two barriers to forgiveness- imperfection and shame

It is true that forgiveness is desirable. If we carried all the grudges and anger and hard feelings generated over the lifetime of even a young person, we’d be weighted down and oppressed by them. Many of us are dealing with just that: trying to move through life with all the old baggage. Some of it is directed outward; some inward, toward the self.

Forgiveness is lightening. It is also an acknowledgment of our essential imperfections as human beings. And there, perhaps is the rub.

– Are we allowed to make mistakes?

– Were we permitted to do so growing up?

If we got the message that it was unacceptable, and we were, therefore, less lovable, not as good as others (those perfect ones), then the answer is a resounding “no.” So, it is first necessary to figure out if we are in any way hobbled by the belief that we’re supposed to be flawless, or by the shame that we know we’re not. Once there is some illumination around those two barriers to forgiveness, we can begin to release some of the past for which we have regret or remorse.

It is also possible that holding fast to the refusal to forgive yourself is a means of protecting others.

That may sound confusing or counter-intuitive, but think about it. If I have been badly hurt by you and you are too important for me to feel anger or resentment towards (you’re my mother or father or someone else I deeply depend on), then I might just blame myself. Inside my mind, I’ve switched things up so it seems as if I’m at fault. By doing so, I don’t risk a breach with that all-too-important person. As time passes, instead of forgiving myself, I will very likely maintain that self-blame, rather than let the underlying truth surface.

As in so many things, self-awareness is the key which opens locked emotional doors.

When you begin to know what is beneath the apparent surface of things, and you can appreciate why you’re stuck and why you don’t really deserve to be so imbedded, things begin to change.

One bit of caution: False forgiveness – a premature “rational” overlay on top of feelings which have not yet been processed – can actually make shame or its nasty cousin, guilt, last longer. You can’t do an end run, you have to do the emotional work. Take heart and continue to engage the idea of self-forgiveness, even when it hasn’t yet been digested.

You need not conclude that you never did wrong; you don’t have to deny anything. Forgiveness describes a circle around what actually happened and allows you to accept it with a heavy dose of self-love.

This is work that is worth the effort. As you put to rest the old impediments, small green shoots of forgiveness will start to appear. It will feel like a rebirth. And it is.

Karen Krett, LCSW – www.karenkrett.com

# Be kind, learn from your mistakes & self-care

Forgiveness is a tough thing isn’t it?

You are betrayed, you feel hurt and destroyed at times. How can I forgive after that? How could someone do that do me? How could someone who is supposed to love and nurture me tear me down? Ok, I forgive you, you say, you didn’t mean to hurt me, you meant well.

Wait….it was me? I made the mistakes that led me to this uncomfortable and rough spot that I am stuck in? Oh- well that is different, I can’t forgive myself. I am bad and don’t deserve my own forgiveness.

You, as much as anyone deserve your kindness.

Yes, self-forgiveness is one of the most important things for you to accomplish to protect yourself body, mind and spirit. How to do this can be tough to figure out.

Let’s start with what you would use as a basis to decide to forgive someone else. They had good intentions? They didn’t know how you would feel? They did the best they could at the time? What if when you find yourself in a tough spot due to your own choices, ask these questions about your own intentions?

It is doubtful you made a choice fully aware it would hurt you, it is most likely that you were doing the best you could with what you had at that time. So, do you not deserve that forgiveness for yourself?

Indeed you do, you are the only person from whom you can never escape despite years of running, you are stuck with you. Be kind to yourself, learn from your mistakes and provide yourself with lots of self-care.

Live with intention and awareness.

You made a mistake. After asking yourself the above questions, you think perhaps you are not so bad after all and you are worthy of your own forgiveness. How can you continue to live in a way that is kind and compassionate to you? Setting intentions is one way that I like to do it.

When you wake up before you start work or get the kids ready or walk the dogs take a minute to do a check in. How are you feeling – physically, emotionally and spiritually? Anything from yesterday still hanging around that you don’t need?

Let it go- send it away and set a new awareness for the day. When you define how and what you will do with your day, how you intend to impact others and what you will allow in your circle, you are much less likely to make decisions that you feel you need forgiveness for.

“My intention is to make the day of everyone I come in contact with a little better”,

“My intention is to honor myself by taking a walk, eating healthy foods and talking to a friend”.

As you go through your day check back in with your intention, are you staying true to it? If not, what is throwing you off track and how can you get back on track? Live with intention and awareness of how you are doing with your intentions.

Always treat yourself as well as others with kindness and compassion. Connect to others and to your inner higher self. You will be glad you did.

Jamie Stacks, LPC, LADAC – www.jamiestackstherapy.com

# Be self-compassionate and learn from your mistakes

It’s hard to admit that you’ve made a mistake or did something that had far-reaching and unintended consequences.

When you look back on the past, you’re looking at it from the eyes of who you are today, and that person would have known better. But you weren’t this person at that time, and it’s because of the mistakes you’ve made that you do have that knowledge. I’m sure you wouldn’t do that same thing today.

Not forgiving ourselves not only hurts us, but doesn’t allow us to live fully in the relationships we are making today with others because a piece of us is stuck in the past.

Find a way to make amends for what you have done by volunteering your time to a group that represents that situation or by asking the person you harmed about how they are doing now and how it affected them and if it still does today. You might be surprised at the information you learn.

Try to remember who you used to be and why that person thought it was a good idea to do what they did.

Forgive that person for not being mature enough or not having enough knowledge to do something differently or for responding to circumstances in their life that were beyond their control. Have compassion for who you once were because that person made you who you are today. Forgive your younger self. Give them the love and understanding that they did not get at the time.

By forgiving, we are acknowledging the behavior and having empathy for the person who did the behavior, not excusing what happened or ignoring it.

The final component to forgiveness is learning from what we have done so that we can do differently in the future. Make your mistakes pivotal points in your ongoing learning process. If it weren’t for our mistakes, we’d probably learn very little.

Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC – www.mantiscounselingandcoaching.org

# Follow the 4 steps to forgiveness

Forgiving yourself for your mistakes is one of the most empowering steps you can take to healing your self-worth.

You are not above, below or different than anyone else on this planet. You are human, you are fallible and you will indeed make mistakes. However, how you handle your mistakes is to choose an empowered path forward or to sink lower into your unworthiness abyss.

When I finally did the work to heal my worth after a horrific life crisis, I decided to attempt forgiving myself for any “mistake” I believed I had made.

One by one I brought my mistake to the altar and I forgave myself. Much to my complete surprise, as the process unfolded I could feel myself getting lighter and lighter. I remember sitting all alone in total amazement at what had just transpired. I finally felt free! Wow…

I had no idea how heavy a mistake here and a mistake there could be.

The freedom felt so incredible, I found myself looking for even more mistakes to forgive myself for! I knew at that moment, I had happened upon a vital step to healing my self-worth.

Below is the process I used to forgive myself. Find a solitary, quiet space, choose your mistake and begin your work.

Four Steps to Self-Forgiveness:

1. Understand your humanity– You are neither above nor below anyone else. You are not bad, wrong or different from anyone else because you have made a mistake. You did the best you could at that time. Understand your “oneness” with humanity in that you will make mistakes and they are forgivable.

2. Recognize the value– Recognize that through any forgiveness you are not condoning the mistake, but releasing its power over you. What did you learn from it? All mistakes are learning opportunities and by finding the blessing in it, you are releasing yourself from the burden of it.

3. Give it to God– Spiritually speaking we are already forgiven the minute our mistake has been made. The trick is to forgive ourselves. The Universe/God/Source is pure love and nothing you can do will ever change that. By handing our mistake over to God and asking to be returned to our Right Mind (connecting with our Higher Self), we are aligning ourselves for growth and opening our hearts to better choices in our future.

4. Let it be– Once you have gone through the self-forgiveness process, it is simply time to let… it… be. You are forgiven. To continue to revisit the mistake is to reignite its power over your self-worth and to realign you with negative energy that will only attract more negative situations to you. Let it go.

Self-forgiveness sets us free by leaving behind the imprisonment of the past and opening our minds and hearts for an empowered future!

Always remember…

You are beautiful. You are love. You matter. And you are forgivable.

Kristen Brown, Author of From Doormat To Sweet Empowerment – www.sweetempowerment.com

# Bring your shameful, angry feelings and thoughts into consciousness

The first step, in learning to forgive ourselves, is to bring these shameful, angry feelings and thoughts into consciousness.

This can be done with a therapist or you can spend some time in thoughtful reflection about areas of your life that you feel self-condemning. Create a safe and compassionate space for yourself and make a list. If you do not feel comfortable writing some of these behaviors, thoughts, or events in words you can draw a picture or a symbol that represents what happened. Bringing these areas of shame into the light can be painful but helpful in the long-
run.

As you create your list, I want you to maintain an attitude of love and compassion for yourself.

If you find yourself having angry, self-loathing thoughts or feelings, notice them mindfully and let them go, like clouds floating by in the sky. If you can, notice where these negative feelings manifest in your body. Do you feel like there’s a heavy pit in your stomach? Does your heart feel heavy? Does your head feel light? Put your hands on your body where you feel the burden and say out loud to yourself “Even though I [whatever you are forgiving yourself about] I deeply love and forgive myself”. Repeat this several times until you feel energy moving or a sense of release.

For example, a client of mine had a lot of guilt around the death of her mother.

I asked her where she felt this guilt in her body and after scanning her body with her mind she discovered that she had, what she described as, a “hard, cold, stuck feeling” in her stomach. I instructed her to put her hands over her stomach and intend to send forgiveness and love to that area while saying out loud “Even though I was not with my mother at her death I deeply love and forgive myself”. After a few minutes she began to cry and felt a huge release. She felt a lightness that she had not felt for years.

Sometimes people think that forgiving means forgetting or condoning and that if we forgive ourselves we are at risk of doing something we regret.

In my experience, forgiving ourselves does the opposite. When we are able to forgive ourselves we are able to be more fully present and conscious which helps us to be in alignment with our true values.

Jeannie Herman, MS, NCC – www.ashlandcounseling.org

# Perfectionism may be keeping you stuck

Forgiveness is hard, we can say it, but do we really mean it?

We say it to others and we say it to ourselves, but do we really believe it?

It can be a great relief to know that we can’t/won’t always get it right. There will be times we need to lay our pride down, accept we aren’t perfect and find a way to forgive ourselves. But, most of the time, it’s easier said then done, or at least, easier to extend that forgiveness to others, but a struggle to be gracious with ourselves.

Usually when we think about having to forgive ourselves, it means there has been some sort of lapse, a mistake, or a misunderstanding that needs forgiving.

Something we didn’t get right. For some of us, making mistakes, thinking of ourselves as imperfect, needing help, or realizing that we are just plain human is not a good enough excuse.

Perfectionism has a way at eating away at our self-esteem and our ability to accept our most difficult flaws. If perfectionism is a part of your life that continues to get in the way it may be helpful to look at why you work so hard to maintain it.

What are you most afraid of?

Are you worried you can’t keep up, can’t make mistakes or you can’t do it all?

It’s in those vulnerable places where we ask ourselves those hard questions.

It’s where we learn what it’s like to be human, how to be broken and not have it all together. We dig deep to find the ability to forgive ourselves not just for making mistakes or needing help, but instead forgiving ourselves for applying the unobtainable pressure that only fuels self-doubt and lack of self worth.

This is where real self forgiveness lies; in the realization that holding yourself to such a standard of perfection will only keep you stuck.

It alludes to the fact that there is more on the other side of perfection to do, to be, and to make–when really there will never be a time in life that you have successfully finished doing, being, and making.

Self forgiveness gives us the opportunity to be humble, to let go of the things that keep us stuck, and find the courage to live outside of our comfort zone and love ourselves anyways.

Kristy Koser, LPC, LPCC – www.aporiacounseling.com

# Forgiving yourself is part of the process of learning to accept and love yourself

It can be very hard to let go of blaming yourself for something that you have done.

Take Sandra, for example, who is mad at herself for messing up her last relationship. David was a great guy, but one night they got into a big argument. Sandra lost her cool and said things she now regrets, and David stopped calling her.

Even if you’ve done something you wish you hadn’t, like Sandra, it’s not good for you to hold on to those feelings of blaming yourself. Forgiving yourself is part of the process of learning to accept and love yourself, warts and all. Join the rest of us in the land of imperfection. We’re all living here, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Often people know that they would easily forgive someone else for doing the same thing that they can’t forgive themselves for doing.

It can be helpful to notice that you’re being meaner to yourself than you would be to someone else. Is it really necessary to be so hard on yourself? Some people are afraid to change this pattern.

Forgiving yourself isn’t the same as forgetting all about what happened.

It can be helpful to change your perspective to: “I’m not happy about what I did, but I need to let go of this negativity because it isn’t helping me or anyone else.” If you hurt someone else, apologizing to them can be very therapeutic for you and the other person. If you learned from your mistakes, you might view them as a growing experience.

For some, this negative view of themselves can be affected by health problems. For example, depression commonly involves experiencing guilt that is out of proportion to the situation, and people who are depressed are almost always very hard on themselves. In fact, there are a number of conditions that can make forgiving yourself much more complicated.

If this is an ongoing problem, you might consider getting help.

Many people find great benefit from therapy. It’s also wise to get a consultation with a doctor to make sure you don’t have a medical problem that is making it harder for you to move on. You deserve to do all you can to stop treating yourself badly. We all deserve love, and self-love is the most important kind of love.

Dr. Susan L. Edelman – www.beyourownbrandofsexy.com

# Follow the 3 steps below

Tired of carrying around guilt and shame over something you can’t forgive yourself for? Is it weighing heavy on your heart, psyche and body? It’s time to set yourself free!

1. Acknowledge.

Acknowledge what it is that you cannot forgive yourself for. Did you make a mistake, do something wrong, hurt someone else?

The first step in setting yourself free is to acknowledge what you did. Tell the story. Keep writing until you truly feel like you have nothing left to say on the matter. Re-tell the story, with just in the facts, as if you are a newspaper writer.

Take it a step further and write the story from the other person’s perspective.

See the different aspect that come up and recognize any feelings you have. Write them down too. Do what feels comfortable for you.

Re-read what you wrote, do you see a lesson you can learn? Can you grow from this experience? Can you put a positive spin on the situation? What gem of knowledge can you take away and apply to your life?

2. Acceptance.

Realize that you are only human. Accept that you make mistakes. We all do. Sit with this. Allow yourself to reflect and or write about what it means to be human. What expectations and standards do you hold for yourself that you might not hold for others? What has happened is in the past. You cannot go back and change it but you can move forward and learn from it.

3. Release.

This is probably the hardest step. I am asking you to send love and compassion to yourself. To love and accept yourself as you are. Sit comfortably. Breath in slowly, into your belly. Place your hands on your heart, feel the rise and fall of your chest with each slow and deep breath. Feel the inner peace each breath brings. Say to yourself, “I love you and I forgive you.”

Bonus: Burn your story paper, saying, “I release you. I no longer give you power over me or my life.”

Make a collage of all the things you love about yourself, all the wonderful things about you. When you start to feel guilt, shame or anger towards yourself, remind yourself, you are human. Look for the lessons and gaze at your collage and all the ways you are magnificent!

Margaret Bell, MA, NCC – www.forwardkindheart.com

# Accepting and embracing what could have been, as well as what is, can help you to move forward

Forgiving (for-giving) is simply a reason for giving, and who better to be given to than yourself.

Who’s really taking care of you if you’re focused on caring for everyone else? Sure, it’s nice to think that if you take care of others, someone else will take care of you; but look at it this way; if every individual took care of him/herself, everyone would be cared for. Everyone would be given to. So how and where does it all begin? It begins with you.

Whatever situation you were in, however you got there, you did the best you could with what you had at that given time.

If you could only use the mercy of looking back at yourself and your life, you’ll see that you needed someone to be there for you; but they weren’t. You needed protection, but it wasn’t there. You needed love, but couldn’t feel it. So now when others show up with these needs you find yourself helping and supporting them, only remembering how you were in lack, and vicariously you help yourself by helping them. Now that you know this, you can stop going through everyone else to give and start right with yourself.

You no longer need a reason for giving to you. Just “for-give”.

Look yourself in the mirror and say, for I give to you. No more looking to someone else to do this; it’s on you. You’ve heard the saying, we teach people how to treat us, right? Well, in spite of all the things you’ve done to yourself, and/or allowed others to do to you, you now have a reason for-giving to yourself. Be the first partaker of receiving what you have to give. When you can let go of the thoughts, the coulda, shoulda, woulda’s, and the hope of things being any different than what they were and just sit with it, you can also accept it, embrace it, and let it go. This is f-o-r-g-i-v-i-n-g.

Things happened. They cannot be changed, but accepting and embracing what could have been, as well as what is, can help you to move forward in a way that whatever it is you’re needing forgiveness for can not only strengthen and empower you, but be a shining light to others as well.

Barbara Ann Williams, LPC, MS – www.barbaraannwilliams.com

# Change the meaning

You are the toughest on yourself.

Even if you have mastered the challenge of forgiving others, you still have a tendency not to let yourself off the hook.

The truth is you have a name or two you may call yourself when you don’t live up to your own expectations. We all do – “Loser”, “Idiot”, “Mess up”… maybe better, maybe worse.

That name – whatever it is – is crucial.

That name will keep you from going on your next adventure, taking that next risk, opening your heart to welcome that wonderful love into your life.

That name is the clue to why you can’t forgive yourself. It’s about “meaning”.

You see, the most important thing is not what you did or what someone else did to you, it’s the meaning you give it. You can logically take a situation apart, look at it from every angle, release the other person but if you allow it to reinforce an opinion your heart already has of who you are (the name you call yourself), then you will never be free. You will make every mistake you make mean that you are a loser or an idiot or a mess up.

So, break the name. Change the meaning.

1. Stop avoiding your beautiful heart. Go there and find the source of that name. Someone, somewhere, who was important to you abandoned you, embarrassed you, blamed you. Your heart believed what they said or drew a conclusion. Hence, the name.

Now, when something happens and you do something imperfect, your response is, “See? It’s because you are __________”.

2. Change the meaning. It’s simple but profound. When you feel those disappointed feelings coming up tied to something that happened, STOP right there.

Let the name(s) come, but put your shoulders back and stand up tall. Look it/them in the face and say, “I won’t waste my time dwelling on whether that’s true or not. I will never be perfect but I am learning.”

3. Focus on growing. You are always, forever, a work in progress. Thank goodness! There is so much to learn in life and in love! That’s what makes it adventurous.

Good on you! The key is to learn to stand in your strength – not sit in your weaknesses. Give yourself room to grow and your life will take on whole new meanings.

Bernice McDonald, Relationship educator- www.bernicemcdonald.com

# First identify what you are upset about, why you are upset and what the upset means to you

If we want to forgive, we must first identify what we are upset about, why we are upset, and what the meaning of our upset is.

If we are responsible for this situation, then we also need to find a way to accept what has happened and move on. This can be easier or harder depending on the situation, your level of involvement and how self-critical you are.

Considering these things, I find it helpful to sit with my emotions, write, draw, walk, or engage in some activity that helps me get into my head and be with my thoughts.

Once there I try to understand my emotions, their roots, and what would help them to be soothed. Often when we make mistakes we cannot let go of some aspect of the situation and in holding onto that we prevent progress (or acceptance) due to resistance of some form.

Instead of invalidating ourselves it can be very helpful to take responsibility for our behavior, and to also acknowledge to ourselves the reasons that we acted how we did. While reasons do not justify, we often have very real reasons we took the action that we did.

Instead of beating yourself up, try loving that part of yourself that is imperfect, and give it the space to grow without judgment.

Have compassion for your humanness and do not criticize yourself for your regrets. Know that in acknowledging this part of yourself, non-judgmentally, that you can begin to change it

Try to have patience and understanding with your process of growth as a person and don’t forget that this lifetime is a never ending education.

Try to challenge your self-expectations of perfection, and trust in yourself to manage all actions, both success and failure. Remind yourself that you are not alone in your human condition, and that there is no one way to actually “get it right”.

Forgive yourself for whatever you have done, and try to see that all of your experiences, no matter how you judge them, contribute to who you are and your strengths as a person. Know that whatever distress you feel at present will fade with time, acceptance, and progress. Allow yourself to be human and to make mistakes.

Lisa Resnick, LPC, LMHC, CHHC – www.Lisaresnicktherapy.com

# Cultivate self-compassion

What did you do that was so terribly unforgivable?

That’s the way it feels, doesn’t it? Some pervasive feeling of “badness” within you, probably with little to no evidence. In my work with survivors of childhood trauma, it is the rare case in which my clients do NOT blame themselves for their caregiver’s bad behavior. Children more often see their mother’s anger, their father’s drunken bouts, as a result of their failure, with the hope that “if only I were better,” they would stop being abused and neglected, and get the normal life of their dreams. Those repeated “failures,” undefined, snowball into that generalized feeling of badness.

This is your mantra, those of you who still carry the blame that does not belong to you: it is not your fault.

Keep saying that to yourself: it is not my fault. The late Nelson Mandela, when asked how he could forgive white South Afrikaners for the tortuous decades he was unjustly imprisoned, said that it was hard, that he had to do it again, and again…and again. You will probably need to do the same.

In a Gnostic prayer, we are advised to “untie the knots of failure binding us, even as we release the strands of others’ faults,” and these Gordian knots, which you may actually sense in your throat, your chest, your gut, are of epic proportion. Imagine, as you are reminding yourself it is not your fault, that you are loosening the knots.

You might even visualize this, gently placing a compassionate hand over the tightest one in your body.

Allow yourself to sense the warmth, the pressure of this hand to the best of your ability (and in the beginning, it may not be much…this will change over time).

In releasing yourself, you allow yourself not the permission to act in the same way as they did, but instead to engage the world with your inherent goodness. You have survived, and that, my dear, is amazing.

Inga Larson, LCSW RMT – www.ingalarson.com

# Practice self-­empathy

I have heard it said that forgiveness is letting go of the pain we did not cause.

So, what about the times we need to forgive ourselves? First off, if we need to apologize for what we have done, then that can be an important step to help us move forward. But, once we have done that – where possible ­ I have found that what usually gets in the way of self­-forgiveness is perfectionism.

We often find it’s easier to be compassionate and forgive others than it is to forgive ourselves.

When we are the ones in need of forgiveness, it’s easy to fall into the trap of perfectionism and judge ourselves more harshly than others would judge us or than we would judge them in the same circumstances.

So, what’s to be done?

There is more than one way to change this pattern, but one of my favorites is to practice self-­empathy. This is a concept that Dr. Brene Brown, LCSW talks about in her books on shame – if you want to learn more about it she also has great information in her TED talks. Self-­empathy is offering yourself the same kind of reassurance, kindness and compassion you would offer a dear friend.

Begin doing this in small things – if you forget someone’s birthday, for example. It may feel strange to say phrases to yourself like, “You got busy and forgot. You didn’t do it on purpose and no harm was done. You can take a gift over tomorrow. I’m sure it will be fine. None of us are perfect and it’s not like they are mad. You’re just being hard on yourself.”

But these are the kinds of things you would say to someone else and that they would say to you, so why not treat yourself as well as you would treat a dear friend? It may sound simple, but it is effective and the more you use it, the easier it will become and the more you will believe what you’re saying. We all make mistakes! All any of us can do is make amends, learn from our mistakes and move forward by forgiving ourselves.

Chris Adams Richards, LCSW – www.southvalleytherapy.com

Follow the 3 steps below

Forgiveness is tricky business.

So tricky, in fact, that I rarely use the word. I find that it’s too complicated, too misunderstood, and too emotionally charged to be used very often. For example, does forgiving someone mean you have forgotten their transgressions? Does it mean that what they did to hurt you doesn’t matter anymore? Are they free to do it again?

The issue becomes even more complex when we talk about forgiving ourselves. Are we to suffer forever for the mistakes we have made? Surely not.

Some ideas about how to forgive yourself and move on:

1. Be Intentional.

When thinking about forgiving yourself a transgression, it can be useful to be organized about it. What is it that you have done? Why would you like to forgive yourself? What will that forgiveness mean in the long term? Writing these things down might also be useful as a way to keep your thoughts clear and organized.

2. Make a moment out of it.

Give yourself the time and space to really think through what forgiveness means, and then give it to yourself. Instead of trying to accomplish this difficult task while driving kids to soccer practice or making dinner, try carving out some time just for yourself to sit and process it all. Preferably time when you won’t be interrupted – but instead have the luxury of spending some real, quality time with yourself.

3. Let yourself move on.

Forgiving ourselves doesn’t mean we have forgotten what we have done, but it does mean letting go of the anger, guilt and shame associated with event. It will likely take some practice, but true forgiveness means allowing yourself to move on from the past with improved knowledge and behavior.

Dr. Stephanie Smith – www.drstephaniesmith.com

Change your behavior to allow the emotional wound to heal

The other night I had dinner with a friend who’s struggling. “I just need to forgive myself…” she shared.

“For what?” I asked, genuinely curious about what she needs to forgive.

“For all the anger I have toward my mother. “

A light went on in my head at this point, as I’ve worked with many clients who believe that if they could just forgive another person or themselves, everything would be different. In the conversation with my friend I learned that her mother is often mean to her, even nasty.

I asked how she responds when her mother says something mean. “Oh, I get nasty right back!”

She had an angry tone even talking about it. I gave her an empathetic smile and asked if she wanted to hear my humble opinion. Okay, rarely is my opinion humble, but at least I asked if she wanted to hear it.

I shared that we cannot heal a wound that’s continuously re-injured.

Here’s the secret to forgiving ourselves:

We have to change our behavior to allow the emotional wound to heal. The behavior in need of change may be negative thinking or having the same judgmental conversation over and over again. Or like my friend, a habitual reaction may need to be refined in order to untangle from a dynamic that’s causing you to lose energy, and therefore self-esteem.

A lack of forgiveness is a lack of healing energy.

Forgiveness is an organic process that always occurs if we don’t self-sabotage. Because spiritual energy must bring to light the psychic wound in order to for us to heal, it is tempting to distract ourselves and direct our energy toward obsessive thinking, complaining or impulsive reactivity, but the energy we lose by engaging in these behaviors is needed to activate the healing.

When we surrender and finally choose to respond more mindfully, we will likely experience a few tears and a little grief, but the sadness we feel in our heart will pass and forgiveness will ultimately take its place.

Kimberly Kingsley, Energy Coach – www.kimberlykingsley.com

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How To Build Your Child’s Emotional Well-Being Over the Long Term

What To Do When You Are Emotionally Overwhelmed (7+ Experts Reveal Fascinating Tips and Insights)

Healing vs Fixing Anxiety: Why It’s Important To Know the Difference Between the Two + Why It Matters

10+ Experts Reveal Incredibly Helpful Tips and Techniques To Overcome Overthinking

How To Release Your Resentment and Survive Your Childhood Now That You are an Adult

7+ Experts Reveal Must-Know Tips on How To Heal From Past Hurt (and Let Go)

How Your Mind Can Be a Powerful Tool For Self-Healing

15+ Proven Tips and Powerful Exercises on How To Love Yourself When You Don’t Know How To Be Loved

How To Overcome Deep, Intense Emotional Pain and Heal

How To Use Writing To Heal: 5 Stages To Writing and Healing Your Grief

How To Use the STOP Technique To Cope With Strong Emotions That Arise Suddenly

10 Effective Anxiety Management Techniques To Cope With Your Difficult Family and Thrive in Any Family Situation

How To Dissolve Your Fears Through Acceptance [Step-by-Step Exercises + Action Steps To Overcome Your Fears During Pregnancy]

25 Experts Share Amazingly Effective Strategies on How To Love Your Body Just the Way It Is

10+ Eye-Opening and Inspiring Strategies To Silence Your Inner Critic

How To Forgive Your Partner Even When He/She Is Not Sorry [Shifting Mindsets + Insightful Exercises]

How To Understand, Identify and Face Your Emotions

How To Awaken and Cultivate a Compassionate Heart

7 Experts Reveal Powerful Ways To Let Go of Regret & Move On

How To Practice the Art of Visualization

3 Steps To Effectively Identify and Clear Your Energy Blocks

Simple Yet Powerful Strategies To Naturally Reduce Stress In Your Life

How To Practice Gratitude To Boost Your Happiness [Easy To Follow Ideas & Tips]

What You Need To Know About Chakras & Kundalini [FAQs + Answers]

How To Set Your Minimum Self-Requirements For Self Care

How To Get Closer To Yourself and Understand Yourself On a Deeper Level

Why Emotional Avoidance and Numbing Won’t Help You Cope With Trauma

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