Day 28 of 29 Days of Spiritual Messages.
We all make mistakes.
Yet forgiving ourselves can be so much harder than forgiving those around us, and as a result, we carry a sense of blame for what happened and beat ourselves up in the process.
Let’s look to an anonymous quote for inspiration: “Forgiveness of self is impossible until you stop longing for a better past.”
Forgiving ourselves will always be impossible when we continue to live in the past. And until we bring forgiveness to ourselves, we will feel guilty, unforgivable, and unlovable. We will feel like a criminal. Worse yet, we will trap ourselves into falsely believing that we are cut off from our Creator.
When we feel cut off, we carry the energy of the belief that we are “bad” in our energy fields. This attracts to us circumstances that reflect this false belief about ourselves, and then we tend to act in the very ways that we held ourselves unforgivable in the first place. It becomes a vicious cycle.
While this experience is common, it is detrimental to our overall well-being. When we carry guilt, we create a space of negativity that causes a pervasive sense of powerlessness and unhappiness. We agonize over a past situation that can not be changed, dooming ourselves to relive it over and over while reinforcing the negative feelings associated with it.
Forgiving ourselves allows us to move forward, free of the emotions that no longer serve us. But to do so, we must stop longing for a better past, as today’s quote suggests. The past is gone. The only thing we can do is to make peace with it so that we can move forward.
It’s easy to say acknowledge your mistake, feel remorse, and learn from it so that you don’t make the same mistakes again, but self-forgiveness is a core issue, and we need to look inside that core in order to heal ourselves. We need to touch the space that hurts, and this is not always easy or pleasant.
If you are hanging on to guilt about something, it’s important to practice compassion and self-acceptance. It is part of the human experience to make mistakes and hurt others. But wallowing in guilt will not help you or anyone else, and it certainly won’t prevent future suffering. Forgiving yourself is about targeting and facing the specific things that you feel bad about, not about the person you are.
When you examine the guilt you feel about a particular experience, it’s important to look at what your true intention was when you did what you did. If you look deep enough, you’ll discover that your intention was to protect or take care of yourself in the best way that you knew at that time.
Maybe you didn’t know all of the options available, and perhaps you made some decisions that brought undesirable results to you and others, but you did the best that you could with what you had at that time.
Does this make you a bad person? Absolutely not. It makes you human.
Self-forgiveness is an act of love. The guilt we feel is our signal that we have strayed from our deepest life values. Rather than making guilt a permanent state of mind, we can use it to assess our misconduct and employ a course of action that leads to making amends. This, in turn, energizes us to realign with our hearts.
As you intentionally take responsibility for your actions, know that you are creating healing for yourself and anyone that you have hurt. Learn from your choices, know that you are inherently good, and always do your best. When you do, you will come home to a sense of connectedness and peace.
(Written for my nephew. I love you, RJ).