Forgiveness is an Inside Job
Forgiveness. What does it mean to forgive? Do we really need to forgive people for hurting us? What about forgiving ourselves?
Forgive means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake. I’m sure anyone reading this has been done wrong in some way. Some much more than others. Forgive in Swahili is kusamehe.
There are those who say you don’t forgive certain egregious things done to you, but I disagree. Forgiveness isn’t for the other person, it’s for you to release that anger, resentment and even hatred from your body and mind. The best way to know if you have unforgiveness or resentment is that when you think of whatever happened to you, you feel a burning anger or some other emotion tied to it.
While that’s an important part of forgiveness, this article isn’t about that side of forgiveness. This is about forgiving yourself. I did a Swahili Sunday about this topic that you can listen to here:
My faith in God tells me my sin’s are forgiven because I put my trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins. I really believe that but the problem that I had for many years was that I knew God forgave me but I somehow couldn’t forgive myself for bad choices and mistakes I made in the past. Many things stayed with me for many years of my life until I worked on releasing them and forgave myself along with others whom I held resentment for. In fact it was easier to forgive others than it was to forgive myself.
I was watching a movie the other day and heard a great line.
To me this was a very profound statement because so many people live in the past and carry their past hurts, pain or mistakes into their present. What does it mean to build your life on hurts of the past? To me, it means you are always focused on yesterday, you keep repeating the mistakes of yesterday or you keep beating yourself up for things you did in the past and you don’t live in today.
Some people that live this way end up being miserable and take it out on other people. You can’t make yourself happy bringing misery to other people. Stated another way as I said in a previous post’ blowing out someone’s candle won’t make yours burn brighter.
The best way for you to achieve forgiveness of yourself is to start by being kind to yourself. I’m not sure where we came up with this idea that we are all supposed to be perfect and never make a mistake or that you are supposed to be able to operate a certain way in life when you weren’t taught some of those things as a child and therefore the mistakes you made are supposed to scar you for life. You can have a good life in spite of having a bad childhood if you do the work to recognize that and get some help moving past it if necessary.
The thing is, if you look in the mirror and don’t love the person looking back at you, that is a place to start. Ask yourself this question:
“What do I absolutely LOVE about myself today?”
In every self leadership training I have ever done, this is a hard question for many people to answer. They don’t think about loving anything about themselves. If you can’t give yourself love, how can you expect to give other people love?
I suggest people ask themselves that question every day and also say something in the mirror to themselves every single day, twice a day called a “Life Changing Procedure.” This is something created by Zig Ziglar who was an amazing motivational speaker. You can google Life Changing procedure to find it online or contact me for a pdf copy.
I can testify that these things helped me forgive myself and others for things that happened in the past. Our work here at Baskets and Beads is to empower people to have a better life. This is one way you can definitely improve your life and empower yourself. I will continue to share some of these strategies from time to time. If you want more information about these and other techniques, get in touch. Happy to help.
The secret to life isn’t about what happens to you, its what you do with what happens to you.