Read Part 1 here.
I call it abuse because it is just as painful when we do it to ourselves as when others do it to us. We became judge and jury and found ourselves guilty of our perceived offences.
When the primary caregivers such as parents, teachers, and other societal influences are unable to love themselves unconditionally, this “learned attitude” is passed on to the next generation as shame in an attempt to control behavior.
This sense of shame differs from guilt in that guilt is about behavior. Shame is deeper and more pervasive. It is about your being and feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, being bad and unlovable become the conviction underlying your life.
Children grow up believing they are “not good enough” and become the caregivers for the next generation. And so it goes, on and on.
I am not blaming the parents and caregivers here as we parent the way we were parented. My own definition of maturity is that maturity is achieved when we are able to forgive our parents and other significant adults for being human.
What Is Self-forgiveness?
Self-forgiveness is the willingness to believe that you are worthy, that there are no mistakes rather, you are on the planet, or in Earth School (as some people call it) to learn about being human. The opportunities to learn are just that – not mistakes – just opportunities to learn.
Practical Steps to Self-forgiveness
- Examine how you perceived a certain situation and how you can chose to change your perception. Remember that the thoughts we think create the feelings, and it is our perception that creates our interpretations of the situation.
- Accept yourself and your humanness – you are not supposed to be perfect.
- Admit when you make a mistake.
- Remember that everybody is doing the best they can with what they know, and that includes you.
- Let go of past-future thinking, stay in the ‘Now.’
- Confront your emotional pain – own your own ‘stuff.’
- Appreciate the lessons that have contributed to your growth and made you who you are now.
- Say ‘I forgive myself for ____________ (whatever).’
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