The past can be a difficult thing to accept but one’s past does not have to define who you are but rather it can serve as a reflection of who you were at the time and a stepping stone towards the beautiful person you were always meant to be…. Michele DeVille
Forgiving others can be difficult and can keep people stuck in life but what about forgiveness when it is learning to forgive oneself and letting go of the mistakes of the past? In talking to others and in looking at my own life, forgiving ourselves is truly one of the biggest challenges most people face at some point. Why? Needing to forgive ourselves means that we must face the hard truth and accept that we potentially did something wrong. Forgiving ourselves becomes a challenge because we often assign a label to ourselves and our identity becomes entangled with what we did versus who we really are.
Mistakes made often embed in our hearts and our minds leaving people to struggle with low self-worth, low self-esteem and in turn we stop believing in ourselves. It is hard to love ourselves and we become very good at repeatedly beating ourselves up and unfortunately the end result is that we sometimes go back to the patterns or coping mechanisms that caused the pain and mistakes in the first place. It becomes a vicious cycle if we cannot forgive ourselves and let go of the past.
The other significant issue that stands in the way of forgiving ourselves is that we live in an unforgiving world and a society that is quick to pass judgement on everyone but themselves. People can be hypocritical and will judge without walking in another’s shoes and to feel judged by others can make it difficult to not harshly judge ourselves.
Mistakes are never easy to face or accept and especially when those mistakes bring pain to those we love and to ourselves. Consequences can be tough to face and sometimes the consequences of our actions resurface and stay with us for a long time making it difficult to let go and move on. However, there are a few important things to remember if you are trying to forgive yourself….
❤ Everything you have done is over now. You cannot take any of it back or change the past. Accept it, grieve it, forgive and move on.
❤ The past does not define who you are nor do the mistakes, the regrets or the poor choices.
❤ You are human and ALL humans make mistakes. Turn your mistakes into lessons and learn from them. It is sometimes through our mistakes that we grow the most and become who we were always meant to be.
❤ If you need to forgive yourself you must first understand what caused the mistakes in the first place. There is often an unresolved issue that must be worked through. Look deep within, be brutally honest, soul search and find the answers that are already there.
❤ Break the patterns and you will find peace and the freedom to live true to who you really are.
❤ Make amends with those you have hurt. They may not be able to forgive you but you can choose to forgive yourself.
❤ Remember – GOOD people sometimes do bad things. Those things do not have to define who you are and while others might judge you (and they will) it is important to remember that you are a good person and never stop believing in who you are and the person you want to be. BE THAT PERSON.
❤ You know your heart even when others don’t. Stop living life according to what others expect and stop living in a prison chained to your past. Live true to your heart – that is where you will find peace.
❤ Everyone has a breaking point and there will be a catalyst that brings you to a fork in the road where you can either choose to learn from your past and change or you can continue to live in conflict alienating your authentic self.
❤ Live in the moment now and embrace every one with love. Stop living in anguish over what you should or shouldn’t have done. Sometimes you must live and learn as the person you were supposed to be THEN so you can become the person you are NOW.
❤ Sometimes we do things so that we can discover how we do NOT want to be.
❤ Mistakes are sometimes a necessary part of life – it is what you do with them moving forward from today that matters most.
❤ Life is not always easy and there are times that we do the best we can given the circumstances and conditions of the life we are trying so desperately to live.
❤ You are a good person and it is when you can forgive yourself that you will be able to focus on your strengths, begin to love yourself again and open your heart to accept good things into your life moving forward.
❤ It takes great courage to face the past, to accept ALL of who we are, to forgive and to let go but you do have the strength and you do have the courage. It is there ready to hold your hand and walk beside you.
❤ Even though you may feel alone I can promise you there are others who share in your pain and have been down some of the same roads as you. There will always be people in your life that love you, support you and believe in you despite your mistakes. It is those precious gems that will love you no matter what and will be there to catch you when you fall for they have seen your heart.
❤ Stop looking in the rear view mirror of your life and focus on what is in front of you. It is there that you will find the amazing person you were always meant to be waiting for you.
Forgiving ourselves is no easy task and it truly can keep people stuck in a place they no longer want to be. I have always found it much easier to forgive others than to forgive myself and believe me it has stood in the way of living true to my heart far too often in my journey. While my past does not define me I can honestly say that there are things in my past including some of my regrets and mistakes that have made me who I am today and in this very moment as I write this I know with certainty that I will not go down those roads again. I have learned that while it can sometimes be tough to look in the mirror and face some of my past mistakes, there is grace in humility and there is great wisdom in the wounds we must sometimes endure. I WILL emerge from the darkness of those mistakes a better person.
Learn from life’s tough lessons, survive the consequences and live true to your heart. You know who you are better than anyone else and you know what not to do moving forward. You know your life’s story thus far and regardless of what others may think it is you and only you that can write the next chapter. Make the decision that you do not ever want to make those mistakes again and believe with everything that you are today that you won’t. Life is a series of choices and you have everything you need inside of you right now to choose right, live well and write your best chapters yet. You are a good person and believe in the power of YOU moving forward. I do.