AA: TEN THINGS TO FORGIVE OURSELVES TO FREEDOM

 “By forgiving others, I am given forgiveness.  It does not matter that the other person may never accept my forgiveness. What does matter is that by my giving forgiveness, forgiveness returns to me and blesses me by its presence.” Charles Henry, MS, DD


Freedom So many of us need help to not take ourselves so seriously.  We realize nobody spends their day thinking about us like we do! Oh, we think others do all right. If they do, it is often because they have their own personal agenda attached to an incident. When others talk about us, we tend to become the pawn used to feed their own righteousness, their own ego. 

Each of us come from unique experiences and opinions. When someone takes something out of context, hears things according to their inner-recorder, it has nothing to do with us. We are not responsible for someone else says or may think, although many times, others would love for us to believe something, “is our fault!” Experience has shown that when we attempt to use these ten examples as a springboard to launch a positive change of perspective, a new and confident person will emerge, one that says, “For the first time in my life, I am free of what others think of me.”

1.     CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF:

Practice in front of your mirror. Allow yourself to mirror-back how you want to see yourself being treated. Before you begin, close your eyes and imagine the body language you would use.

As you become comfortable looking at yourself in the mirror with affection and admiration as a Child of God, forgive yourself for real or imagined threats or actions. What matters is that you connect with new thoughts about old harms: What loving thoughts can you honor yourself with? Why is it you deserve to forgive yourself for?  Ask these questions with some examples that follow.

ACTION: Some examples for mirror work may be:

  • I am doing the best I can—and so is everyone else.
  • I deserve my understanding, compassion and forgiveness.
  • I love you (your name,) as you are;
  • I no longer need to feel berated, put down or less than;
  • If I am loved by God and others just the way I am, then who am I to expect I should love myself less?
  • I know, accept and am true to myself.
  • I believe in, trust and have confidence in myself.
  • I deserve to take care of my physical, psychological and emotional self: 
  • I learn from my mistakes.
  • I forgive myself for using hurtful words against me.
  • I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
  • I am not perfect, and I’m grateflul. I am a spiritual being having a human experience of imperfection, and that’s Okay.
  • Create a positive affirmation of your worth ending with “because I say so!”.

2.     DON’T LET OTHERS LIVE RENT-FREE IN YOUR HEAD.

To the degree we do not accept our self-forgiveness, we invite others to torment us in our thoughts at  any time, sometimes all the time.

For example, Deanna had a fight with her sister over control of money. Her sister denied Deanna the right to money Deanna thought she deserved. She demanded, over many telephone conversations, her sister listen to reason and was denied the courtesy of her side of the story being heard.

Holidays came and went and Deanna became more anxious and upset every time she thought of her sister until she couldn’t be around her at family gatherings. Although Deanna never quit thinking about her sister, her resentment turned into anger, and her anger turned into hate. Deanna became jealous and hurt because she felt she had no way out. Her sister continued to dominate her thoughts, and her thoughts dominated her actions.

As another example, Tom, a good friend, had a habit of taking everything personally. It was second nature for him to believe that when something happened contrary to his expectations, he was being set up. He thought people were against him. He believed they were out to sabotage him. From the outside looking in it seemed that, regardless of the situation, Tom held the world and its people in it, hostage in his head. He began to isolate and not trust anyone. His life became lonely. It wasn’t long before he was depressed and had no idea what to do about it. After all, he was powerless against the barrage of mixed messages he received as a result of taking everyone and everything personally. 

These two situations are small examples of what can happen when we turn over all of our waking energy to thoughts of hurts and affronts, imagined or real, made by others. Unfortunately, it is not fair to us, nor is it healthy, to let someone else have so much domination and power over us.

When we take offense to what someone else does or says, we give them permission to dominate our thoughts. 

  • We let others make us sick.
  • We let others make us feel controlled.
  • We are the one who lets others make us feel less than. There must be something wrong with us.
  • We blow situations out of proportion, and they feel so much worse than we could have ever imagined them being.
  • Hurt and exasperated, we look for support from others and rumors and exaggerated explanations abound.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

  1. When we become ready to look at this situation logically, we see this is our doing, not the other person. They may not even be aware of how uncomfortable and resentful we are! We are the ones suffering and taking it personally. We can evaluate our thinking by asking, “What’s in this for me?” “At the end of the day, does this situation enrich my quality of life?
  1. Self-forgiveness is not supposed to be easy, and without incorporating empathy it can feel empty. Practices like lovingkindness meditation can help us cultivate compassion for ourselves while also offering it to others. Specific mantras such as, ‘He/She is suffering, just like me,’ allows for a gentle self-reflection sufficient for us to incorporate the other person. We acknowledge we are not alone.
  2. Self-forgiveness need not be all-or-nothing. It’s a slow process that may not result in a full release of negative feelings or an exclusively rosy view of oneself. Rather than being a form of self-indulgence, self-forgiveness might be better seen as an act of humility, an honest acknowledgment of our capacity for causing harm, as well as our potential for doing good.
  3. Make sure you’re acting in accordance with your morals and values. When we act from a place of personal integrity, these exercises and the thoughts that precipitated them become less and less.
    We have established sufficient boundaries to protect our inner-self from triggers others try to use against us and know that unless what is being said or done by someone else is for our greatest good, we need not take it personally. This is a part of someone else’s agenda, not ours.
  4. Know that forgiveness does not imply permission for us or others to continue the same behaviors. It means we turn them over to our Universal Creator, but we don’t forget. We let go of their behaviors and ask our Higher Power to do with these as It desires.

 

3.   WRITE FIVE THINGS TO FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR AND WHY

Begin with something like this, (an example only)

ACTIONI forgive myself for saying something I shouldn’t have. Someone sent me an irate email and I re-acted in kind. I took it personally and see now it was nothing more than self-righteous fear. (Who does he think he is?)  A quick reminder like, “Higher Power, I am now ready to let this irrational belief go. My serenity and freedom from resentment are the most important treasures to me,” helps to bring us back to ourselves.

We are divinely created, and must not judge ourselves, unless we want others to judge us. We are not perfect and we all make mistakes. The slogan, Live and Let Live helps to bring us to center necessary to return the focus of what is important to us back on ourselves. Keep writing until you feel free, your breathing becomes calm, and your thinking turns to gratitude.

4. BEGIN BY PRACTICING SELF-COMPASSION:

If we want to be esteem-able, we have to do esteem-able things for ourselves first, before we can do for others. Our life cycle of energy begins with us in all things, and then extends outward toward others. We start by letting ourselves off the hook from negativity, fear, and false-beliefs. As we do this,Follow Inner Guide Man our highest intuition expands universal forces of positivity. Kind beliefs forgotten now come to the surface of our thoughts to remind us that we do deserve to be lovable, kind and giving to that child that lives in each of us. When these compassionate reminders infiltrate that place of knowing deep within us, we feel almost a warm, loving compassion for ourselves. The more we practice with honor, loving ourselves for all that we are, these same behaviors become comfortable. The power of acceptance allows us to embrace all of us, those parts we don’t like and those we do. We begin to trust we are doing the best that we can, and so is everyone else.

ACTION:       Make a list of positive, high-reaching self-talk messages we can give to ourselves that begin with the words, “I deserve” “I am,” or “I am worthy of,”  to bring compassion into our lives.

5. MAKE SURE YOU’RE CHANGING YOUR REALITY!

Sounds ridiculous, I know. But I am guilty at times of imagining a situation unveiling before me that has nothing to do with truth. I project, suspect, rationalize and FEAR while setting myself up and others too, in a play of my own creation. Then I become judge and jury.

We don’t need to scare ourselves. This whole rehearsal ruminating in our head is nothing more than our ego taking it’s position at the right hand of a Higher Power, directing a situation, (as if we have some kind of special power in how a situation will unfold.)

  • We can never be sure about someone else’s motive or actions.
  • We only think we know—but we do not. We never know the rest of someone’s story: what’s unsaid in their minds, what someone thinks or doesn’t think, their justifications for or against.
  • Instead, we need to focus on what is true for us.

ACTION: Make a list of thoughts and two columns. On the left, write the situation (Sally doesn’t like me), and on the right ask, “are these
thoughts truth or self-sabotaging thoughts?  Yes or no? Then make one more column to indicate proof. If there is no proof then this is only a story, part of a play we created that we can let go of.

6.  PRACTICE LOVE AND KINDNESS–TO YOURSELF.

Do you treat yourself as you would a precious loved one?  If not, then this is where to begin.  You are worthy of everything you so graciously give to others.  What does that look like?

ACTION:       Begin exploring the power of gratitude by writing how you can exhibit self-love to yourself with three written, per day and keep them personal.

 

7.  DON’T ALLOW SELF- CRITICISM TO INFILTRATE YOUR PSYCHE.

Many times, without awareness, we demean and batter ourselves emotionally as negative self-talk takes over our vocabulary. We describe who or what we are in response to something we’ve done or not done. In so doing, we’ve become our worst critic.

This self-talk is injurious not only to ourselves but to those who love us. By criticizing ourselves, we give others permission to not only feel likewise, but to join in. For some great suggestions on positive self talk, also visit Psychologytoday.comIn the meantime, here are a few positive reflections to use instead of negative and hurtful feedback:

  • No one is perfect and in the eyes of our Universal Creator, we are all the same.
  • No one is better than anyone else. To protect ourselves from negativity, reaffirm our own goodness as a sacred act. If we don’t know what these attributes are, it is imperative that we find them.
  • Do you know your attributes are as many as your shortcomings?
  • Can you name them?
  • Focus on your own goodness; which is where your strengths are.

ACTION: In quiet meditation, practice awareness of how we talk to ourselves. Practice exchanging demeaning negative words for gentle, affirming words. Begin to act as-if we are what we tell ourselves we are. This is the beginning of a love of self and where this exists within us, we also find compassion.

8.  FIND YOUR BALANCE.

Oh, how comfortable we are working and doing for others!  So much so that our committee says, “See? You’re way tooo busy to take time out for yourself.” Going out of our way, taking care of, responding to needs of others is automatic for so many of us. Gifting ourselves with the same nurturing, the same time, the same focus and attention we give others, seems to be foreign. Some people call it selfishness. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

How is it we so easily neglect ourselves. We become the last ones to honor and support our own energy and goodness? We cannot afford to exhaust our precious self. This is breeding ground for resentments. We deserve to put ourselves first: physically, emotionally and spiritually so we will have sufficient reserves away to then give to others.

ACTION:      Make a list each day of things you can do for you (and you alone) and list them in order of priority.  Carry them over to the next day if needed.  They can be something as small as fixing a pair of pants, calling a friend, putting our feet up or getting a much-needed manicure. By keeping the focus on ourselves, an immediate reminder of what we can control. At the same time, balance to give and provide for others becomes accomplished freely, in a manner and time that has accommodated our well-being without our having to sacrifice ourselves in the process.

Then, keep a running list to do at least one of these each day for you.

9. BECOME WILLING TO FORGIVE.

Sometimes perceived or real hurts take a big space in our heart and more work is necessary.  Some hurts leave quickly; others have festered too long and require extra attention, having attached themselves too deeply to our psyche.

ACTION:      Develop a prayer for willingness that sounds something like this: “My creator, please help me to be free of uncertainty, pain and guilt. Help me to become willing to forgive myself or (someone else) for what I did to cause harm. I don’t want to carry this any longer.”

10.  MOVE TOWARD SELF-LOVE.

The last step in building self-esteem is moving toward loving yourself. Think kind thoughts toward yourself and show yourself some compassion. If we can learn to think of ourselves as our best friend, and speak to ourselves with the same love and kindness we speak to others we love, we find that we’ve become our own priority.

We have reaffirmed to the Universe and those around us that we believe we are worth it, and we attract the same compassion from others.  The truth remains: we have always been worth it–we just never gave ourselves the time to ‘see’ it from our vantage point!

Practice makes Progress.

Let’s don’t forget that Rome wasn’t made in a day; and forgiveness often comes layer by layer. Often in different seasons.  When the student is ready, our teacher appears providing the ways and the means to be free from the ties that bond us to our own bondage. It will happen for you if you want it bad enough.

If you’ve enjoyed what you heard, I hope you’ll venture around, visit my Journaling with a Purpose course and my shopping page. You may be surprised! Don’t forget your freebies and all things Miracles here!

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