There is an important part of Self Love that I didn’t talk about in my post A Lesson on Self Love and that is forgiveness. Both of others and of Self.
I’m sure many of you have heard this quote before but just in case, here is a reminder:
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”
― Alexander Pope,
We all make mistakes, sometimes these mistakes hurt others along the way, and sometimes we only hurt ourselves. Often times, this hurt we cause leads to layers and layers of guilt that we hold on to for ages. We bring the guilt into our very beings and it becomes harder and harder to shake.
The guilt grows until eventually it feeds into our deepest fears such as not being good enough/worthy enough etc.
The thing about forgiveness is that it releases burdens that we don’t even know we’ve been carrying.
Personally, on my journey of self discovery, I know I have been lost and I have hurt friends and lovers along the way. It has been unintentional, but I know the pain of those mistakes are hard to let go. For many years I felt unlovable for my mistakes, not deserving of the love I so dearly craved because of the pain I had caused in the past.
While I could not seek out forgiveness from others, the only way to move myself forward was to learn to forgive myself. Though this has not been an easy process, it has helped me begin to learn more about myself and the type of love I deserve.
As with many tasks on the road to self love and discovery, this is a process that often involves faking it until you make it.
The first time you try to let go, it may feel insincere. The little voices in your head will fight to keep you in chains of guilt and hurt, trying to remind you all the reasons you do not deserve forgiveness.
Stop and take a few deep breaths, this is a normal part of the process. Center yourself in the present moment, your voices of the past cannot exist here in the present.
Once you are present, take some time to either write to yourself, to those you have wronged or look in the mirror and tell yourself “I am loved, I am forgiven” (or any variation of this affirmation that feels right for you).
It is normal to feel deep emotions when you say/write these words. You may feel tears creeping up, you may not be able to look yourself in the eyes in the mirror. These are all normal reactions. It means there is something there to work through. The more you go through this exercise, the more you will release and the easier it will become.
There are so many ways to continue this work. I’m a huge fan of post it note reminders, writing on mirrors or in the steam from your shower. Writing down affirmations or writing continued letters to yourself and others.
The more this becomes a part of your routine, the more you will start to believe it, release the guilt and sadness, and eventually begin to forgive and move forward.
This is a very important part of the self love. Releasing the past brings you peace in the present and love toward the future.
It is important to release judgment of yourself and others throughout this process or it will not work. You must accept yourself for where you are and what has happened, you cannot change it, only move forward.
There is so much peace waiting for you if you are ready to put in the work.
Remember, this is for you and no one else. Are you ready to love yourself unconditionally and let go of the burdens you have been carrying around?
Dig deep and make a list of all those you wish to forgive. Repeat the above suggestions as often as you want for as many situations and people as you want. There is no harm in forgiveness.
I would love to hear about your experiences, tell me more in the comments!