“To err is human, to forgive divine.- Alexander Pope”
Human beings are flawed by nature. So, it is natural for us to make mistakes sometimes. The worst part about it is that people we love can get hurt sometimes. That hurt and pain can really make us hate ourselves for years. It is easier to forgive others sometimes but not oneself. Our self-critical nature makes it harder for us to get over our pain and forgive ourselves. But the biggest hurdle a person faces when it comes to forgiveness is to overcome his or her tendency to wallow in guilt. It may sound absurd but a lot of us use this as an excuse to not move forward and make an actual change in life. Forgiveness can heal our broken souls but it can be hard to achieve.
Forgiveness is the only way which allows people to move on to a better terrain. People think that to forgive oneself means to condone bad behavior or actions. But that is not true. Forgiveness means to acknowledge what happened was wrong and make peace with the trauma. That is the only way to move forward. There is a season for everything. Guilt, repentance, sorrow will all have their seasons because they are important. But they will eventually pass and the world will move on. And we need to move on too. We can’t remain stuck in one season and look at the world as it passes by. So, here is a list of things to ensure forgiving yourself.
Look At The Bigger Picture
It is not about you. You can wallow in self-pity and guilt and be miserable for the rest of your life. But when you do that you are not just harming yourself but everyone who loves you. So, you can’t let one mistake make you and your loved ones miserable. So, you need to find the will inside to forgive yourself.
2. Recognize Your Offense
a. When we failed at making something big work in our lives like marriage
b. When we have hurt someone
c. When some of our actions have ruined a part of our lives like substance abuse
d. When we didn’t do what we were suppose to do at a given point in time like intervene in a matter or put away money for something.
Failing in one these categories can ruin us with guilt and hatred towards oneself. So, acknowledge which of these is your reason before you start your journey.
3. Talk To Your Confidantes
Find a way to vocalize your guilt and journey of forgiveness you are embarking upon and share it with some of your loved ones. Let them know that you are going to need their support in this. We often think that we must suffer alone and in silence. But everyone is dealing with something. So, share it with your loved ones what you are feeling.
Recognize As It Comes
It is important for people to recognize the emotions that make them feel miserable and sad. Only when you recognize them, you can do something about them. So, when these feelings come pouring, you need to acknowledge them and use your power to stop them. Remember reliving your past in your head wont change your past. So, you need to stop reliving it over and over again. The best thing to do is to change the narrative. Think of the incident as a flawed individual’s triumphant feat of overcoming guilt.
5. Make An Effort To Set Things Right
When all the feelings come back to you, then take two deep breaths and while taking the third one, think about something that makes you calm. This will help you to feel present in your body and senses. Now that you have control over you emotions, make an effort to make things right. If you couldn’t be there for your family earlier, make an effort to be there. Put things in right perspective and work harder. And things will definitely change for better.