When one hears the word “forgiveness,” what usually comes to mind is forgiving someone else. But, before we can forgive anyone else and be truly grounded, in the moment, and not living out of ego, we have to embrace self-forgiveness. Sharing this great piece about how to really look at ourselves, letting go of any judgement about what we did or didn’t do in the past, because, as the saying goes, hindsight really is 20-20.
Courtesy of the CFJ Coaching School
“Forgiveness is just another name for freedom.” – Byron Katie
When we judge ourselves — we forget who we or truly are. When we buy into the belief that “I am lazy” or “I am scared” or “I am weak” or whatever the judgment du jour, we cut ourselves off from our true nature. We equate who we are with whatever behavior or quality we dislike in the moment. We forget about who we are in our fullness, in our Spiritual essence, in our magnificence. We forget the expansive Loving that we are – and that we have all experienced of who we are in our bigness at one time or another (even if it was fleeting).
When we judge others, we are also forgetting who they are. We have our “shoulds” for how they “should” be, we have expectations running, we have some internal “rule” they are violating and they are “wrong” and we are “right.” This is all code for “they are not doing X,Y,Z they way I WANT them to…“ Generally when we are judging others, we are judging ourselves for the very same thing — yet it’s too uncomfortable to see this “thing” or this “behavior” in ourselves — so we project it onto the people around us.
We may also have judgments against the world (“life’s not fair”) or God or Spirit or the Universe (“I’m being punished”). Judging as a way of being, and specific judgments, can become so entrenched, we think they are “true facts” vs. seeing them for what they are… misunderstandings.
Self-forgiveness is a process where we take from the fullness of our Loving heart – and apply that loving to the place inside that hurts. We apply it to our small self that bought into the idea that there is something wrong with us. The part of us that forgot that we are all learning and growing and that mistakes are part of that process.
It’s been said that Self-forgiveness is the cosmic “reset” button. It’s a process that helps us clear our lens. It supports us of letting go of judgment, limitation and hurt – so we can see more clearly. As Byron Katie says “You move totally away from reality when you believe that there is a legitimate reason to suffer.” Self-forgiveness is the process of moving away from suffering into greater loving.
This process is NOT about justifying behavior that doesn’t serve us or “letting ourselves off the hook.” It’s about putting down the whip of self-denigration and picking up the balm of Self-love and Self-acceptance – so we can make choices from loving and strength and not an attempt to be “good enough.”
The process and technology of Self-Forgiveness is taught as part of the Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica*
- Center yourself in your heart
- Move into acceptance of your feelings, your upset and yourself.
- Take 100% responsibility for the disturbance inside of you
- List any judgments that you are aware of that relate to others and yourself (e.g., I am judging my father as mean and controlling. I am judging myself as mean and controlling).
- Practice Compassionate self-forgiveness for all of the judgments you are aware of. Putting your hand over your heart can assist in accessing the heart.
I forgive myself for judging my father as wrong.
I forgive myself for judging myself as a bad person.
I forgive myself for judging my friend as mean.
I forgive myself for buying into the belief that I’m not enough just as I am.
Note – the langauging is specific – ie, we don’t forgive ourselves for judging ourselves “for being mean.” We are judging ourselves as being mean – mean is not who we truly are.
- Use this process as an opportunity to apply your Loving acceptance and compassion to the places inside that hurt.
- Ask the deepest wisest part of yourself “what is the Truth?”
(e.g., the truth is I am doing the best I know how to do and so is everyone else. The truth is I’m a loving person. The truth is I am courageous).
*For more information about Self-Forgiveness or Spiritual Psychology – check out www.universityofsantamonica.edu; or read “Loyalty to your Soul” by Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick. USM also has an amazing on-line program available. www.usmonline.org