The holiday season’s over and perhaps the New Year’s Resolutions you made are proving difficult to keep, or are forgotten altogether. If so, instead of feeling defeated and giving yourself something else to feel guilty about …….. forgive yourself.
“I forgive myself” or “I forgive you” are easy sentences to say but much harder to achieve. How many of us are really ready to forgive an unfaithful partner; the motorist who wrote off our car or the boss who blocked our promotion? Feeling angry and wanting revenge are common emotions in such circumstances, but holding onto feelings of resentment and revenge hurt you much more than the person who offended you. As the Chinese proverb says: “He who seeks vengeance should dig two graves – one for his enemy and one for himself.”
Research into forgiveness has burgeoned over the past two decades. Studies show that bearing a grudge and harbouring resentment affects your health as well as your wellbeing. The physiological consequences include – increased blood pressure, increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, immune suppression and impaired neurological functioning and memory.
Bearing a grudge and keeping track of every slight leads to dysfunctional relationships and often loneliness. Whereas studies show that the capacity to seek and grant forgiveness is one of the most important factors contributing to marital longevity and satisfaction. Forgiveness is critical to healthy relationships, it reduces anxiety and depression and it improves hope and self-esteem.
Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else. Forgiving someone does not mean reconciliation or that you condone the offender’s actions or behaviour. Forgiveness has been defined by the Stanford Forgiveness Project as “the peace and understanding that comes from blaming that which hurts you less, taking life experiences less personally and changing your grievance story.”
So make a commitment to yourself to let go of your own suffering, take back control and forgive.
Self-forgiveness is the best place to start. Try this –
Accept that whatever you did seemed right at the time or was accidental and nothing can be achieved by continual self-punishment. Have a conversation with the younger you. It is okay to have made a mistake. Tell yourself that you have learnt and grown through this. Symbolically release the guilt by closing your eyes, taking 3 deep breaths and on each out breath imagine the guilt, blame and punishment leaving your mind and body and say inside “I am forgiven.” Repeat this whenever you hear the punishing voice in your head.
……….and for the Tappers – (Reminder phrases are underlined)
Even though I feel guilty about what I did, I love and accept myself.
Even though I blame myself for what I did , I choose to forgive myself.
Even though I constantly punish myself for what I did, I choose to let go and forgive myself.
Even though I don’t deserve to be forgiven, I choose to forgive myself anyway.
Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed