Do you sometimes lie awake at night with those endless thoughts going round and round? Have you noticed how often these thoughts are centered on the bad stuff you did, or the self-blame you carry around? Do you find it impossible or unable to figure out how to forgive yourself, even as you forgive others their transgressions against you?
Self-blame is something all of us suffer from periodically, if not constantly. We may mentally berate ourselves for our sins, or we may simply carry around an unformulated burden of self-hatred. You need to know that self-blame and shame are abuse. Abusive behavior toward yourself. Doesn’t that feel yuk?
It’s time to release all that negativity that helps no-one, especially not you.
To understand what forgiveness truly is, you first need to know that the perceived misdemeanor does not exist. That’s right; that thing you hold yourself responsible for does not exist. You are blaming yourself for – nothing.
Think about this: how often do you share a memory with another person, only to discover that their memory is completely different from yours? You wonder how that can be. You were both there, you experienced the same event, but your friend recounts an alternative viewpoint. That’s because your memory only exists in your head. It’s simply a neural connection you made at the time. Like a snapshot that only captures a fragment of the day on which it was taken.
How about approaching it from the perspective of time? We view ourselves in this ever-changing timeline, with the past firmly cemented behind the present, and the amorphous future ahead. However, that solid-feeling past is just as formless as the future. It doesn’t exist. We may have current evidence of actions taken – look at the building you are sitting in right now – but the actions themselves: the planning, construction and finishing no longer exist. So what exactly are you blaming yourself for? A distorted memory? A past action that is less substantial than mist?
The Miracle of Forgiveness
The iconic book, “A Course in Miracles” tells us this: “Nothing real can be destroyed.” Think about that for a minute. Nothing real can be destroyed. What does that mean? Everything that exists can be destroyed – the whole planet could self-destruct or be hit by a huge meteor at any time. What, then, can never be destroyed? Energy – scientists tell us that energy can never be destroyed, it can only transform from one state to another. Spiritual teachers also tell us that we live in a benevolent universe. Put those two concepts together, energy plus benevolence, and what have you got? Love. Love is energy is love and can never be destroyed.
We’re not talking about romantic love here, or any variation of human affection. This love is spirit, faith, Qi, life-force, God, source energy, universal flow, All-that-is, The Force, The Power, or whatever is your preferred name for the unseen energy that underpins and runs the universe. When you die and give up this unreal existence and this unreal body, you return to love, to source, to infinite energy. That’s where you truly live. That’s home.
When you set your addiction to self-blame against that truth, you know that none of those thoughts make any sense whatsoever and to forgive yourself becomes simple.
The Power of Forgiving Yourself
There is great power in self-forgiveness. Or rather, in understanding that there’s nothing to be forgiven in the first place. Incidentally, this also works when you are holding others to blame. There’s no past, no past action that exists now, so there’s nothing for which you can blame or forgive them.
As soon as you ‘get’ this, you immediately realize how powerful you are. No longer are you a prisoner of those demoralizing thoughts. No longer can you hold another person responsible for your current unhappiness.
You begin to understand that only in this moment can you ‘be’. You can’t interact with the past or the future, you can only be in this moment. This is your point of power. This is where you make a decision to forgive, forget, allow, make a change, love another, or indeed, whether to forgive yourself, or not. Choose now.
How to Forgive Yourself
The real meaning of forgiveness is not simply saying, “I forgive you.” Or “I forgive myself.” They are just words. You can repeat them over and over, but nothing will change.
There’s no step-by-step process to work through before you can forgive yourself. It is very simple. Whenever a self-blaming thought arises, you say to yourself, “Nothing real can be destroyed. The past does not exist. I release my current self from blame.” Breathe deeply and let relief wash through you. That feeling, that’s forgiveness.
Try it. Bring to mind one of those negative thoughts about your past. Try to make it real. You can’t, can you? See it in your mind slip into a void, a black hole, shredding and vanishing as it goes. Nothing real can be destroyed, the past does not exist. Release yourself from blame. Breathe and feel relief. Cry if you want to – it’s cleansing.
It’s unlikely you will clear everything in one go; however, you can use this technique whenever you feel the need to forgive yourself. Eventually, you will understand all that self-blame is simply a trick of the ego to enslave you to your own negative thoughts. It’s an endless cycle, and you can start to break those chains of self-blame right now.
As human beings, we will never be perfect. There is always some way of improving our behavior, thoughts, and actions. However, that is the joy of the human experience. Revel in your imperfections – they are what make you human.
You, yourself, as much as anyone else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. – Buddha