Have you ever forgiven yourself?

self forgiveness

During formal forgiveness practices taught on certain meditation retreats, you can hear the proverbial pin drop as we’re led to contemplate the various stages (those who’ve harmed us intentionally or unintentionally, or either other people or ourselves whom we’ve harmed intentionally or unintentionally). Yet, when if comes to the part of forgiving ourselves, tears often flow. Many report stumbling on this category.


Why is it so difficult to forgive ourselves?


One reason I frequently hear from clients is that they sincerely don’t believe they deserve it! This has to be the saddest statement.

In the Buddha’s words, “You could go all around the world, and not meet anyone more images (3)deserving than yourself!”


Trying to self-manage Type 2, insulin-free, is no walk in the park. We humans have a knack for fallibility. It comes with the territory.


As I was struggling to learn how to be in the world with my new relationship to food, I ate foods that I’d now classify as harmful. At times I ate knowingly, other times unknowingly. I had a choice each time.

After the fact, I could berate myself, causing damage twice (firstly, the actual food I ate, then secondly, the emotional damage by being so hard on myself).


I found that by taking a forgiving approach, accepting that I’ll screw up at times, the incident and its repercussions passed far quicker. In no way did it negatively impact my ability to get back on track. On reflection, it probably helped as it brought about resolution to what happened.


I erred, acknowledged it, forgave myself and moved on.

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But, if we identify with our actions, mistaking them for who we are, we’re in trouble! How often I hear about a person referring to someone in a negative way, judging them solely based upon an erroneous behavior or spontaneous action. Typically, in the judging person’s mind, there’s no separation between the person and their behavior.

I’m not saying that we take zero responsibility for our actions, we should. But no one lives without making mistakes.


We are more than just our behavior.


Translation: We ALL do stupid or regrettable things at times. Sometimes knowingly, at others unknowingly. Yet, we all deserve to be forgiven.


What does it mean to forgive?


It doesn’t mean we condone the behavior. It doesn’t mean that it was OK, or that we’ll overlook it.


It does mean that we acknowledge an error happened, we recognize it, but we’re capable of letting go. To not do so means it becomes part of our “baggage”, dragged around feeling heavier each day.


So forgiving is part of letting go, something most of us need practice with. Having Type 2 is really a gift, as it offers us lots of practice for letting go.


Personally, I can’t imagine having stayed on the vertical learning curve it takes managing all the behavioral pieces for this condition, if every time I made a mistake, I exposed myself internally to an ongoing tape of how bad or dumb I am. Hearing that message inside my head frequently would wear me down. I’d be far more likely to have given up, believing what I was attempting was beyond my capabilities.


I don’t buy into the idea that I’m unworthy of being forgiven. I do however, buy into the idea that I’ll made mistakes, many of them!


Phrases for forgiving yourself and others.


You don’t have to recite them all, just those that apply. Take time to contemplate them as you read or say them out loud. Doing so as part of a practice, maybe picturing the person or circumstance you’re directing the forgiveness towards, repetitively over and over, your heart opens and you’ll feel lighter.


Forgiveness happens and you’re free to move on with a liberated heart!


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“If I have done anything to harm anyone,

intentionally or unintentionally,

through thought, word or deed,

I ask for forgiveness (or may I be forgiven)”.


“If anyone has done anything to harm me

intentionally or unintentionally

through thought, word or deed

I forgive them ( as best as I am able)”.


“If I have done anything to harm myself,

intentionally or unintentionally,

through thought, word or deed

I forgive myself (as best as I am able)”.


“For the ways I have harmed others,

intentionally or unintentionally,

through thought, word or deed

I forgive myself ( as best as I am able)”.


Here are some questions to ponder and share if you like. Leave your comments below


Can you share a time you forgave yourself or another?


How did it leave you feeling?


Did it become easier after the first time of practicing forgiveness?



Filed under: Mindfulness

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