Forgiveness - for yourself and for others
It's a subject that comes up time and time again, when people are maybe struggling with something. I’d like to share some thoughts with you.
Louise is one of my favourite authors, a very inspirational woman. She wrote a wonderful book called ‘ You can heal your life’ that I would highly recommend. This is one of the most profound books I have ever read, it literally changed my life.
Louise says, quite often if we get stuck in life, it's because we have some forgiveness that needs to happen.
Just think about that – can you relate?
Forgiveness falls into two categories. Firstly -forgiveness for yourself and secondly, forgiveness for other people.
Forgiveness for yourself
Recently, I've been working with somebody who has got quite a lot of financial problems. And that is unfortunately, becoming more and more common, in this day and age. We all know about the cost of living crisis, and for various reasons, more and more people are struggling with finances. And it's something that I've struggled with in my past as well, and I know the misery that being in debt can cause.
Ask for Help
But the most important thing, if you find yourself in a financial crisis, is to reach out and ask for help.
Learn to forgive yourself
Secondly, you need to learn to forgive yourself. You may have made some mistakes in the past, but who hasn't? Holding on to those thoughts about yourself is not going to allow you to move forward.
Sometimes we find it so easy to be so critical of ourselves in a way that we'd never do for other people. So think about talking to yourself, when you hear that little voice in your head that we all have, it can sometimes can drive you crazy, that little voice that maybe said, ‘Well, you messed up there. Why did you make that mistake? Why did you do that you idiot?’
Think about how you talk to yourself
Would you say that to your best friend? I don’t think you would. We need to train that little ‘ mind, monkey’, that inner voice to talk to you as if you are your own best friend. It needs to be your friend, not your critic, we know, the world is full of critics, let’s not add to that.
How about talking to yourself with some love and some compassion? letting those things go? Yes, he may have made mistakes, who hasn't? We all have, I've made plenty. But you need to let things go.
The Serenity Prayer –
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
These are such wise words, but particularly thinking about beating yourself up for things that have happened in the past, you can't change the past but what you can do is accept responsibility. Ask for help if you need it. You know where I am, if you need any help with anything, there are so many organisations, so many people that can help you, you are not alone.
Stop beating yourself up and going round in that circle thinking you've got yourself into a mess that you can't get out of, there is no financial problem that you cannot work through.
The impact that financial worries can have on your mental health is huge.
It always has been, especially in these crazy times that we're living in. I'd ask you to start off by thinking, if this is resonating with you. Can you forgive yourself? Can you talk to yourself as you were to a good friend? We've got to move away from that negative self talk, guilt and blame for our own mental health, if we want to get better and stronger. We need to turn that little critic into your friend.
Try and detach the emotion from your self talk
Try saying ‘That's interesting. Why did you do that? And what are the lessons you can learn?’
And that's the thing about life. We all mess up. But the key thing is to not keep messing up and keep making same mistakes, we can come back and learn from it and think ‘I won't do that again’.
You Live and Learn
If you have got some financial problems that you're still living with, but you can learn from it, and you can move forward then you can plan a better and brighter future.
If you need help with that there are people who can help you. But the first thing to do is to accept responsibility for your past actions and accept responsibility for forgiving yourself.
Thoughts of bitterness can't create joy
‘You can never be free of bitterness as long as you continue to think unforgiving thoughts’ Louise Hay.
How can you be happy in this moment, if you continue to choose to be angry and resentful?
Forgiving Other People
I'm going to move on to the importance of forgiving other people in your life. I am not saying that you have to accept or condone other people's bad behaviours. But I'm asking you to think about the fact that forgiveness can set you free. If you are holding on to some resentment or some grudge, no matter what they did, if you insist on holding on to the past, you will never be free, and you'll never be truly happy and at peace.
Forgiving yourself and others can release you from all those feelings from the past. When you're stuck in life, quite often, it means that it's some forgiveness to be done. There's some resentment there that's holding you back. And let's think about how we can deal with that maybe think about it in a different way.
Don’t give away your power
When you blame other people for how you feel, you are giving away your power. Often people will say ‘Oh, he made me do that’. Or ‘she made me do that’. Other people can't really make you do anything, you always have a choice of how you react. We are intelligent people, we are grown-ups. And we can make some choices. Often that's hard when you're hurting or emotional, or somebody's done something really awful to you.
I’m not saying that you have to accept that. But we need to think about letting that resentment and that anger go. And forgiving that person, not because they deserve it. But because you do. You deserve peace, you can choose to be the better person, and you deserve to be able to move on with your life with peace and happiness.
Send them love – and let them go if you need to
I'm not saying you need to embrace somebody who has done something wrong to you. You may have to let that person go out of your life. But it's those feelings that you are carrying inside yourself. Somehow, you have to deal with those to accept that and move on.
People in your life may behave in ways that can trigger uncomfortable responses in you. However, those people are not in your head. And they didn't create the buttons that have been pushed, taking responsibility for your own feelings and reaction is mastering your ability to respond.
In other words, you can learn to consciously choose rather than simply react. So again, it's feeling about making yourself more powerful. Forgiveness can be a tricky concept for many people. And as I said before, there's a difference between forgiveness and acceptance. Forgiving somebody doesn't mean that you condone their behaviour, the act of forgiveness can take place in your own mind. You don't have to act out any scenario with a person where you tell them ‘I forgive you’. (although you can if you want to)
It really doesn't have anything else to do with the other person. The reality of true forgiveness lies in you setting yourself free from the pain, releasing yourself from the negative energy that you have chosen to hold on to.
But also, forgiveness doesn't always mean allowing the painful behaviours or actions of another to continue in your life. Sometimes Forgiveness means letting go, you can forgive that person, and then you let them go. If you take a stand and set healthy boundaries for yourself, that is often the most loving thing you can do. Not only for yourself, but for that other person as well. You can go beyond these feelings. I know it's hard and I know sometimes your buttons are pushed, and you're triggered. But you do have a choice. You can choose whether you stay stuck, and resentful, or angry. Or you can do yourself a huge favour by letting that go. And moving on to create a joyous and beautiful life. You have the freedom to make your life anything you want it to be because you have the freedom of choice. And how wonderful is that?
And so I'll leave you with that thought for this week.
You are not a prisoner of other people's behaviour. You can choose how you react.
Isn't that wonderful? You've got that choice. As always, thank you so much for reading.
I'm here if you need me or anything else that you'd like to know, please get in touch with me. There's lots of free resources on my website. I'm here for you, reach out for me.
And the last word has to go to Oscar Wilde – a bit tongue in cheek
- “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
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