Do You Need to Forgive Yourself?

“Forgive yourself,” he said. This statement smacked me in my face because I thought I already had.

Learning to forgive yourself is a crucial part of any healing journey. It’s even a critical part of success.

In this life, some days are wonderful and we want to keep them on replay. Then, there are those days that we want to just wipe away from our memories. If you don’t learn to forgive yourself (and others), your past will continue to haunt and torment you. 

There are times in life when people—whether intentional or not—disappoint or hurt us. These instances have the power to leave us emotionally and mentally scarred, and even paralyzed. There are also times in life when we disappoint or harm ourselves by our own actions. When you forgive yourself, you give yourself permission to experience internal peace and healing. 

It’s easy to forgive someone when they give you an honest apology; it’s much harder to forgive when they never apologize or show no regret or remorse. It is even harder when you have no explanations for that person(s) behavior, and no possible way of getting those answers.

A little story time…

In my early 20’s, one of my mentors caused me significant emotional harm. At the time, I was looking for approval, wisdom, and guidance in life. Instead, I found myself confused and emotionally scarred. Over the next ten years, this “enemy” lived in my mind. Those initial disappointments turned into insecurity, doubt, and low self-esteem in so many areas of my life. I was emotionally scarred.

In the following years, I convinced myself that I forgave this person. However, at times, I found myself bitter and angry about the harm this person caused. They took advantage of their position in my life and I was still angry. I wanted an apology and remorse. I never received that.

One day, during one of my animated discussions about this person, a close friend said “you really hate [insert person’s name here], huh?” I was flabbergasted and appalled by the thought that I could harbor hatred toward someone. But more than that, the possibility of truth was terrifying. I quickly denied it and said “maybe a long time ago, but I forgave them. I’m good now, really.”

Hate was too strong a word for me to admit. But, my friend’s comment acted as a mirror and it was true. I hated that they misled me. I hated that I lost a mentor and I hated the fact that I was still allowing them to have control over my emotions.

After telling him that I forgive them many times (in my head), he said, “Well, then you need to forgive yourself.” 

In that moment, I realized that I was still affected. In many ways, that disappointment was still impacting my life. Since I never received an apology or acknowledgement from the person, I was unable to move on. I didn’t have closure.

I thought I had moved on. In my mind, I was stronger and more confident than anything anyone could do to me. I wanted to be unaffected. After so many years, I was upset with myself for even allowing this person to still affect me. I thought I had moved on.

Yet, he was right. It was still affecting me.

The good news: I started forgiving myself which allowed me to really start healing. While we cannot always control what other people do to us, we can control how long we allow it to impact our current reality.

Whether you already forgave the person(s) who hurt you or you are working on getting to that point, please take some time right now to start practicing forgiving yourself.

Set yourself free and start embracing your healing.

GREAT Inspiration from The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite inspirational books. Here are some excerpts to encourage you think about your “dream journey” and to inspire you to keep moving toward that dream:

“It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone when they are young. knows what their Personal Legend is […] They are not afraid to DREAM, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend […] It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your Personal Legend. It prepares your spirit and will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.”

“Don’t think about what you’ve left behind[…] If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil.”

“[But] they were looking only for gold […] They were seeking treasure of their Personal Legend without wanting actually to live out the Personal Legend. […] The Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way[…] So that we can in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward the dream. That’s the point at which most people GIVE UP. It’s the point at which as we say in the language of the desert, ‘one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’

Keep dreaming. You are destined to find it. It’s up to you to start and keep walking.