We have all been angry at someone for doing us wrong. That anger just sits inside like holding a hot coal in your hands, burning away at you slowly. This is why forgiveness is so important. Understanding why someone did something helps you to forgive them. But what about when you need to forgive yourself? It can be really hard to forgive yourself when you have made a mistake, but we all make mistakes and that is how we learn. Making mistakes is absolutely fine as long as we are always learning from our mistakes. In fact, its good to make mistakes, it encourages growth! The problem is when we keep making the same mistake over and over again that it becomes toxic and can really have a negative effect on our lives and stops you moving forward.
The quickest way to move forward is to actively forgive yourself as soon as you make the mistake, beating yourself up about something only wastes energy that could be better used on a more positive emotion. So for instance, if you decide that you would like to give up smoking, it helps to start by forgiving yourself for any damage you might have already done to your body and to others who may have inhaled your smoke passively. You can do this by placing your hands over your lungs (or chest) and saying “I’m sorry, forgive me, thank you, I love you“. I have taken this powerful phrase directly from a talk I watched by a man called Dr. Hew Len – you can read more about where this phrase originated from here. By forgiving yourself, you allow the healing to begin.
This works for both small mistakes and big mistakes (getting drunk, being jealous, over-eating, self-harming, being inconsiderate, being judgmental, telling lies, etc.) It doesn’t matter whether you made the mistake or someone else made the mistake (for instance in the case of rape or violence) you can still use this phrase to forgive your perpetrator and forgive yourself for any guilt you may be feeling about being responsible for the attack.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Louis B. Smedes