How to forgive yourself.
I’m going to put a little trigger warning on this episode in case you’re going through something on the heavy side at the moment and feeling a little more on the delicate side.
Please look after yourself and only listen when you’re ready.
This is close to home for myself and people I love at the moment and it’s something i’ve learned is important over the years of letting myself suffer needlessly and also through my study in this field over the last 8 years that is is in fact something you have more control over than you’re giving yourself credit for.
There are a LOT of inevitable times in our lives when we didn’t behave in a way that shone us in our best light.
There are inevitable times where we’ve been in situations where we’ve let things happen or enabled behaviour that we wish we wouldn’t have.
We can spend a lot of time blaming ourselves for situations that we find ourselves in.
This could be in relationships, in your business or work, in friendships, family, the way we treat ourselves, the way we treat others, the way we allow ourselves to be treated.
The things we might need to forgive ourselves for can be a bit of an endless list.
But there is so much power and liberation in forgiving yourself.
You need to acknowledge that there will be countless versions of you in this lifetime.
Each change and identity shift or upgrade comes through growth and lessons, usually via a scary or painful catalyst.
Holding onto a grudge towards yourself just adds more pain, with no outcome.
Punishing yourself or berating yourself is a surefire way to you not living the life you’re capable of and deserve.
I’ve forgiven myself for MANY things in my relatively short lifetime so far, and even knowing what I know now about myself, human behaviour and the way we tick as humans, will have to forgive myself for in the future.
We’re humans. We make mistakes. We make mistakes repeatedly!
We accept behaviour that we shouldn’t.
We stay in situations we shouldn’t.
We say things in the heat of the moment.
But how do we start to forgive ourselves for our human moments and mistakes?
We start by taking any responsibility that’s ours to take.
By that I mean ONLY what’s ours to take and recognising what isn’t ours and wasn’t within our control.
Apologise for what’s yours to apologise for.
Yes it can be confronting. But it’s also freeing.
Self reflection is a huge part of self forgiveness.
Look at the situation and your own behaviour with curiosity over judgement.
Recognise where it really wasn’t your fault!
Where and how does the behaviour make sense? (You might find it incredibly helpful to work with a therapist or counsellor for this part to help you unpick it because it will be there!)
Focus on moving forwards. Being grateful for the lessons and acknowledging that you aren’t the same person with the same wiring after this experience.
You are not destined to make the same mistakes again if you work on being conscious and self aware and seek to understand yourself.
A huge part of forgiving yourself is allowing yourself to understand your behaviour, emotions and what drives them.
It becomes a lot harder to hold onto resentment, guilt and shame towards yourself when you really see what was going on underneath it and where it makes sense.
How was that behaviour trying to protect you?
Or repeat a familiar pattern?
What was that behaviour trying to help you avoid?
Whether it was good for you or not you’re wired for your own safety!
Are you blaming yourself for something that absolutely wasn’t your fault?
It’s SO incredibly easy to do this, particularly when it comes to many forms of abuse. You are not responsible for having to predict other people’s behaviour.
I’ve forgiven myself for all sorts of things, some of which include my eating disorder from 16-18, my hideous anxiety I had through my teens and twenties, getting into abusive relationships, staying in toxic relationships, allowing myself to be used, allowing myself to be bullied, the way i’ve treated and abused my body, things i’ve said and done to other people, destructive behaviours, where i’ve given up on things. So many things.
It’s an incredibly powerful thing to learn to do.
Forgive yourself for what you did when you were in survival mode.
Forgive yourself for the times you didn’t know better.
Don’t bottle it up inside and let it eat away at you. Your body will store it and it will show up in all sorts of other ways! Anxiety, illness, aches and pains. Speak to someone non judgemental who can help you process anything that needs processing so you can truly move on.
What really matters is not what’s already done but what you choose to do next.
Treat yourself with the same compassion you’d treat a friend in a similar situation.
How will you make sure you won’t repeat the same pattern in the future?
Self reflection is super important in making sure you really process your emotions and have as much information as possible that will help you not repeat the same behaviour if you know you don’t want to.
Being able to really take a step back and grab the lessons with both hands.
You only know what you know…until you know different! That’s when everything can change.
It doesn’t mean you’ll never make a mistake, treat someone badly or allow them to treat you badly.
It does mean you’ll be able to recognise it more quickly and with more compassion.
Learning to forgive yourself can have profound effects on all areas of your life. Your emotional, mental and physical health.
Ask yourself what benefits there are to holding on and not forgiving yourself.
What story are you telling yourself about what happens if you do forgive yourself?
Are you telling yourself the same situation will happen again? Where might you unconsciously be holding on intentionally and why?
Also ask yourself if you would hold someone else to the same standard you’re holding yourself to in this situation.
We often hold ourselves to a higher standard than we would anyone else and it’s important to catch that and recognise it.
And as always, with anything we do round here, practice emotional regulation and make sure your nervous system is in a good place. The Positive Pants toolkit is ready and waiting for you at just £9.99 per month with tonnes of tools and techniques to help you do just that. The link is in my bio but it’s also in the app store.
Forgiving yourself might feel a million miles away from where you’re at right now but you will get there! I did!
You deserve the peace and freedom that comes with forgiving yourself!
Fran Excell, Success Mindset Mentor at www.franexcell.com – Helping Business Owners & Executives Overcome Stress & Self Sabotage so they can get back their time, get off the emotional rollercoaster and feel more in control.
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