When I was newly on my path I was asked to write down all the people that had harmed me, I, being in victim mode at the time, vigorously got to work, this was my chance, I thought, to point out how I had been wronged and getting it all down on paper was going to justify the place where I had found myself. When I was done I read it out loud, feeling good about my list and all of those on it, now the truth was going to come out I thought. When I was done the question was asked of me, why aren’t you on the list? The comment was made, you should be at the top of your list, you did the most damage to yourself. That hit me like a ton of bricks. What? Had this person not just heard my list of dastardly people who had all such horrible things to me? What did I have to do with that? Well, as it turns out, a lot. I had spent so much time playing the victim that I had totally lost sight that I played a role in most of what I was angrily carrying around. In fact, unless we are children, or the victim of a random crime, we always have a part. Taking responsibility for that part seemed like a daunting task.
For me, I had to tackle it as a fact-finding mission. What were the patterns of my past? And, boy where they there. When I saw it all on paper it was very obvious where my behavior was wrong time and time again. But instead of beating myself up for it, I had to learn to forgive myself and move on. It was pointed out to me that for most of my wrongdoing I did not know better, and for the times I did, I was doing the best I could at that time, not to make excuses for my behavior, but to find a way to not resent myself for it. We all can only do what we can with the tools we have, and if we don’t have the right tools, or any, we can’t fault ourselves for past decisions. Even if we do have the right tools, that doesn’t always mean we’ll use them, or use them in the right way. This is where forgiveness comes into play. Learning to forgive yourself is an integral part of self-love, of having healthy relationships in your life and to stop repeating the past. When we learn from our past, forgive ourselves for what may have gone wrong, we can let it go and move past it. And when we love ourselves we stop doing things and associating with people who don’t honor that love. Forgiveness is the key to all of those things we want and when we don’t understand why we don’t.
Learning to forgive ourselves may be the most difficult thing we do, especially for those of us that have carried that guilt and self-hatred around like a badge of honor. Let it go, let it all go and forgive yourself, and make part of that forgiveness a living amends to yourself by not repeating the past, by learning from those mistakes or events that you carried guilt around for, vow to work to not repeat those same mistakes, and even if you do, use that as a learning moment and move on. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes, allow yourself to make them and forgive yourself for the ones of your past. In doing so, you will open the door to your own freedom. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you harbor a lot of shame, guilt or self-hatred towards yourself for your past? If so, how do you do this? How does this harm you? Why do you do this? Do you point fingers at others and have a difficult time seeing your part in these relationships or events? Why do you think that is? What if you looked for your part? When we look at our past it allows us to see the patterns of our behaviors, to see where we keep making the same choices that are getting us results we don’t want. Use those old mistakes as a learning tool and forgive yourself for the choices of your past, turning those old tools that did not work into ones that do.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you