This post is part of the Weeks of Self blog series, hosted by Theresa Destrebecq of Thrive Within.
It’s time to forgive yourself. It’s time to let go of all of the little sadnesses and disappointments, the fears and worries. It’s time to let go of the hurtful comments that’ve been made to you and the boundaries that’ve been crossed. Let it go because, believe it or not, it’s hurting you.
The good news is, we don’t need to go back in time and look at all of the transgressions, the difficult times, and the crappy situations. We can scoop them up into one big collective handful and make a choice. We can forgive, surrender and seek self-love or, we can continue walking the same path wishing and hoping for change.
A Meditative Ritual for Self Forgiveness
Before we do anything I want you to know that I know it isn’t easy to forgive, let alone to ask you to forgive yourself! That’s a whole lot of trust I’m putting into you, into us, but I’m asking you to walk with me for a minute and see what happens when we do this visualization exercise together.
First, let’s take a few big, deep breaths together in through your nose and out through your nose. Long and deep. The yogis say, where there is no breath there is no life – so please don’t forget this most important step! And anytime you notice you’re holding your breath, breathe some more. It’s not a moment to beat yourself up, just a reminder that life is a constant practice of giving and receiving and you’re learning more about yourself in every moment.
Now think of the main story you’re telling yourself. Don’t worry, I’ll give you some popular examples from my life and what I’m always hearing from some of my clients and friends. I’m too fat/ugly/imperfect. // I’m not lovable. // I’m lazy. // I’m too quiet/shy/introverted. // I’m too much/too loud/too intense // I can’t have what I want because of this thing that happened to me. // Why would he/she love me if my own family doesn’t/won’t? // I don’t deserve a beautiful and happy life because of this thing I did. // and on and on the stories go.
Often these stories we tell ourselves are rooted deep. They come from painful experiences we had when we were as little as 7-10 years old! And they stay with us to teach us and to keep up from being hurt again which makes sense as a young kid but as we get older we need to adjust and take a different approach to clear out the old thoughts that are limiting us today.
Self Forgiveness Ritual Step #1: What’s your story? Be honest about the stories you’ve been holding onto about yourself. What are you telling yourself on repeat? Additionally do some homework and notice when you wake up tomorrow morning the very first thought that pops into your mind – this will give you awesome insight into the stories you’re struggling with at the moment.
Self Forgiveness Ritual Step #2: Now, I want you to see yourself as your perfect, amazing, fun, creative self at 7 years old. If it’s helpful, find a picture and have it with you for this. Look into your eyes. Notice how you loved yourself back then when you were innocent. There was absolutely nothing wrong with you then, just like there is nothing wrong with you now.
Close your eyes and with a smile on your face imagine what it might feel like you if had to tell this innocent little being the stories you’ve been carrying around with your adult self. Notice how that might make her feel to know she grows up to hate herself, to be disappointed in herself, to feel like a failure in any way because of how she looks or how someone else once treated her. But at the same time, feel her adoration and unconditional love for you through all the pain you’ve been carrying. Feel what she might feel in this moment she realizes how hard life has been for you. And yet, she has a solution for you.
Listen to the specific instructions she gives you. What does she tell you to do? You know our inner child has the most creative and unique way of seeing solutions in situations. What she tells you might not make sense but trust her and listen. When you feel like she’s told you everything you needed to hear about this honor her by giving her a gift of gratitude and thank her for supporting you in stepping into self-forgiveness.
Self Forgiveness Ritual Step #3: Go a mirror where you can look into your own eyes. I know, I know, but please go do it before you make an excuse that you can’t. Now I want you to look into your own eyes in the mirror and stay there for 3 minutes. Set the timer on your phone if you need to. I want you to look into your own eyes and remind yourself, that this is truly you. You’re more than your stories. You’re more than your fears. You’re a soul and there’s something bigger within you, than you can even possibly understand. Your soul came here to teach you a specific set of lessons and you’re doing a perfect job learning them in just the right order, and in just the right timing.
Self Forgiveness Ritual Step #4: Honor and give thanks and gratitude to yourself for what you’ve just uncovered. Find a small piece of paper write one word or phrase to remind you of the wisdom of your inner child. Or, in your journal write everything you just uncovered and learned about yourself. What surprised you? What did you already know? What was it like to look into your own eyes for 3 minutes?
When I do this practice, a lot of the time it brings me to tears and I just let it flow because I’m self-forgiving, right? I’m being humbled and I’m connecting with my true self who I haven’t been nice to and I’m reminding myself I will do better. What happens in this ritual is special and unique to you. And I hope that you will try this practice and create consistency by doing it everyday for 40 days and see what happens. You’ve already done day 1, why not keep going?
Please remember that every day when you wake up you’ll be faced with infinite possibilities and infinite choices. That’s the beautiful thing about life. Express yourself. Create moments of beauty and happiness in the little things. Encourage your family and friends to be as amazing as they can be, by being the radiant example for them. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Repeat.
What I want you to do is to believe that you’re worth it. Because you are. You really, really are.
So much love to you!!