What is forgiving yourself actually?
What is the act of forgiveness?
This might sound a little bit shocking, but when you understand energy and how it actually works, this explanation is going to make a lot more sense. What forgiveness actually is no longer using something the person did, said, or whatever, as an excuse to feel bad. That’s it!
When we can’t forgive someone else, or we want to forgive someone else, we’re feeling bad about something that they did in the past. And so, we’re feeling bad, and we’re using, whatever they did, or said, as an excuse to continue to feel bad.
We might be feeling blame, or anger, or guilt, or judgment, or whatever. Well, we’re feeling that, and we’re using that as an excuse until we, kind of, let them go. And so, when we’re forgiving somebody else, we’re really letting ourselves off the hook by letting that go and saying, “I choose to feel better, even though this thing’s happened; I choose to feel better anyway.” That’s what real forgiveness actually is.
When you’re forgiving somebody else, you’re actually doing it for you, not for them. And, when you’re forgiving yourself, of course, you’re doing it for yourself, as well. But, the structure of it, the mechanics of it are the same. You’re using something that you did, as an excuse to feel bad.
Often, the bad feeling that you’re experiencing isn’t so much, necessarily, because you did that thing. You’re, sort of, a heaping insult to injury, but there’s something else going on underneath, that caused the entire event, and that
you’re’ holding onto.
When you don’t step into self-forgiveness when you’re not letting that go, you’re actually holding onto, often, the initial pain that caused the entire event. And so now, you’re not shifting out of it. So essentially, when somebody else forgives you, they’re giving you permission to feel better, because you’re using this excuse, to not feel good. And, when they come along, they might say, “You know what?
And, if you actually feel better, then you use that as an excuse to feel better. They’re giving you permission to feel better. So, self-forgiveness is really about giving yourself permission, which is the only person who ever can, really, truly give you permission.
You can use permission from somebody else, to give yourself permission, but you’re still giving yourself permission. So, what we want to look at then is:
How do you give yourself permission to feel better when you’ve done something really, really bad?
We need to differentiate between guilt and shame. So, when you feel guilty about something, you feel like you’ve done something bad. When you feel shame about something, or ashamed of something, you feel like you are bad. And so, they are slightly different when you go after them.
Shame is worse than guilt, basically. It’s more encompassing. So, one of the things you want to understand is that nothing happens, randomly, nothing just happens. Everything happens for a reason.
And, I don’t mean that in the tried, “Everything happens for some mystical reason, because there are fairies out there, and they’re pulling the strings. And, we just can’t understand it.” No, we can friggin’ understand it!
It happens for a reason and we can find that reason. So, you didn’t say something hurtful to someone. You didn’t have an outbreak, you didn’t make that mistake, yeah, because you’re a bad person, or because it just happened, or because you’re stupid, or because you’re broken, or because you’re evil, or because you have an anger problem that, you know, you can’t seem to address by squashing it.
Those aren’t the reasons why they happen. Those are the reasons that we want to jump to. “I just did this because I’m weak, and I’m stupid, and I have no willpower, and I’m a horrible person.” And, you know, all of these different justifications, none of them is the truth. When you hit upon the truth, it sets you free.
If something that you’ve come up with doesn’t set you free, it’s not your truth. So, what you want to assume is, you want to kind of look at yourself through the eyes of compassion. Compassion is acceptance without judgment.
Suspend your judgment for one minute. Do it because if you’re blaming yourself, if you’re not forgiving yourself, there’s a lot of judgment. Suspend your judgment just for a minute, pretend that you’re looking at someone else, someone that you love, someone that you really, really, really love a lot.
Who could, you know, not do anything so wrong that you would never love them anymore. And, pretend that you’re looking at them. Run it through that filter and give yourself the benefit of the doubt that maybe, just maybe, you had a really valid reason for reacting the way that you did.
Now, maybe that reason would no longer seem valid to you today, that is possible, but at the time, it was valid. Now, that reason may, very well not have been conscious, that is probably, pretty much guaranteed to be true, but it doesn’t mean that you didn’t have a reason.
What happens is that we get triggered by something. Now, we get triggered by, you know, things, often, that are unknown to us. We get triggered by people and they don’t even know that they triggered us because, to them, it’s not a trigger.
Somebody says something, somebody does something, some circumstance has unfolded, again, not by accident, yeah; to trigger you, and in that trigger, now, you have started to feel bad. And, when that happens, what’s happening at that moment, is actually, the thing that you’re wanting to take a look at, there’s a part of you that is holding onto an old belief, a limiting belief, something’s not serving you anymore.
A part of you believes that this is going to cause you great pain if you were to look at that. Maybe, it’s a vulnerable part of you, and other people are definitely going to attack you, whatever. But, there’s a belief in there that says,
“Don’t, don’t go there!”
And so, you develop defensive mechanisms.
Defensive mechanisms come up, and go, “Hey! No.” And, they’re usually the ones that bust out and say something. It is a defensive mode. It might look offensive. as if you’re going on the offense.
You’re trying to, you know, push people away, but really, it is a defensive thing. You’re defending yourself, even if the other person, and even if you yourself, don’t even know what you’re defending yourself from. Even if it’s absolutely not logical; these things never are.
You, it’s like there’s a wounded animal inside you that has just been threatened and just lashed out because it was scared and threatened. Just like a wounded animal would.
Does that make the wounded animal bad?
Can we understand if we were to see the wound?
You see a cat or a dog with a, you know, wounded paw, and there’s blood, and you’re like, “Oh God, that’s got to be painful.” And, you try to go near them; and like, no, no, no, no; no. And they bark, or they hiss, or whatever.
Would you not understand that; would you not be able to have compassion for that wounded animal? Or, would you go, “Well, if you don’t want my help.” Do you know? Probably not; most of us wouldn’t do that. We would be like, “It’s ok. It’s ok, I’m going to wait until you trust me. We’re going to do this together; I’m going to help you.”
You would have compassion for that, and empathy for that wounded animal. So, you want to bring that same compassion and empathy to yourself. So, you understand that there’s a wounded part of you that lashed out, out of fear and pain. And, that wounded part of you, can cause you to do all kinds of things.
It can cause you to do things like even stealing, or, you know, things that you even consciously know are not good things. You know, it isn’t just about putting your fist through a wall, or saying something mean to someone that you love, it can cause you to take bad actions, where you’re, kind of, thinking, “Why am I doing this?”
You know, this is also what happens, when you find yourself, despite, what you really want to do, despite your best
efforts, at 3 o’clock in the morning, you open up the refrigerator and you’re eating your cheesecake that was supposed to be for a party tomorrow, or whatever. And you end up, you know, scarfing it down because you just can’t seem to help yourself.
You get some energy going, and it starts to progress, and it starts to grow. And, at the end of that, once there’s already a lot of momentum going, it causes you to take action.
So, when you’re just trying to suppress the action, “I should shut up; I shouldn’t do that.” It doesn’t work; it doesn’t work. You have to start earlier in the progression. Again, trying to change your reality through action, is a little bit like trying to get healthy by putting vitamins in your poop. It’s too late; you need to start earlier.
So, what you want to look at is, actually, what got triggered?
That original pain, you want to look for that original pain. You want to sit with that idea, you want to dissect it, you don’t want to just push all that away, and go, “Well, that was bad, I was wrong. I’m a bad person, I did a bad thing, and I should just feel guilty for the rest of my life.”
Actually, look at what really happened.
What were you really feeling?
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Why did you react that way? What were you really reacting to? Because, when you find that, you forgive yourself. It’s just like seeing the wounded animal. The wounded animal is barking, hissing, lashing out, and then you realize, “Oh!
Their paw’s broken.” Would you still feel bad about that? Or, would you go, “Oh! That’s totally understandable. I would have done the same thing.” That’s what happens. You start to understand why you did what you did, and then you can learn from that. And you can release that so that you don’t have the same defensive reaction again.
You’re healing the wounded part of yourself that needs these defensive mechanisms. And then, the defensive mechanisms can go away, they can just fall away. So, this is actually, the ultimate responsibility, rather than shirking responsibility.
When you find that underlying reason when you find the reason why you did what you did, you will be able to step into forgiveness.
Forgiveness isn’t actually an emotion, it is the lack of beating up on yourself. It is the lack of using something as an excuse to beat up on yourself; to feel bad about yourself, to feel guilty, and to feel ashamed.