As I continue with the class I’m taking on “Learning to Love Yourself”, I get into the subject of forgiving ones’ self. Considering that my last post was on how I feel that I killed my inner child in a calculated way, I would say that this lesson may be very apropos to what I am dealing with.
The lesson states “In order to move forward, one must forgive oneself, at the very minimum. Without forgiveness there can be no love. Knowing that you were a product of your environment should help in the forgiveness process. Basically, over time you were conditioned to act, think and feel a certain way. It is a kind of hypnosis. Repetition of a word over and over again will soon enough be ingrained in your internal thoughts. And soon thereafter you will own it as one of your own.”
How true this is. Right now I am dealing with ingrained conditioning that came from being told that I was responsible for what was happening to me, that it was my fault, and that if I told or tried to stop it I would be the one to look bad. When you hear this enough it becomes so ingrained that it is the thing that you think first when something goes wrong. You did something, or that somehow you are responsible for what was happening.
Steps to Forgiveness
I write these down more as a reminded to myself than anything else. They are the list that I can review and go over time and again. Right now it is hard to keep information from going into my head and fly right back out again. I find that re-writing something in the first person and in my own words helps me to remember longer. The added benefit is that all of you get to share in it as well.
1. Foremost while I accept that I don’t have complete control over my life, I do have complete control of my thoughts. I have to start to be aware of my-self talk. Am I putting myself down? Being hard on myself? I need to stop it.
2. Everyone will have a different perception or opinion the mine. That does make either of them wrong; it means that theirs is different than mine. I need to own what is mine and do what is right for me.
3. I am not perfect! I am not perfect. Admitting this will making it easier for me to live with myself. I will make it so that I quit trying to live up to the standard that I perceive others and even I set on myself.
4. I must let go off my hatred, jealousy and resentment, I must forgive. For without it I have no control and will be forever stuck in the past. I have to make myself right with the past; while it is powerful it doesn’t have to control my present.
5. Beating myself up over what I could or should have done in the past, will not help me get stronger today.
6. Don’t dwell on the negative. If you must look for that bad, also learn to look for the good.
7. Forgiving is not as sign of weakness. Know the difference between forgiving and condoning.
To forgive means you have to make a conscious decision to not hold ill-will towards the other person, recognizing that the act may have been intended to harm, but you are a big enough person to forgive the transgressor. This is especially hard for me when I know that the person that hurt me didn’t and would never want my forgiveness. On the other hand, I know that I didn’t intentionally set out to hurt or allow myself to be hurt so maybe forgiveness of myself is something that I can try.
To condone means that you agree the act is wrong (or harmful) but you’re going to go along with it anyway, and perhaps participate in it as well.
8. Forgiving is a choice that I make. I can choose to forgive myself. This may take time and it may take a lot of work but that is what therapy is for. There is no shame is asking for help either from my therapist or God.
So this week I’m working on forgiving me. I was a child and I couldn’t help the things that happened to me. I couldn’t make them stop and I was not responsible for them. As a child I was powerless to do anything but survive the best I could, and that is what I did. Now as an adult, I have the power to forgive myself for not being able to do more.