Something that I spent most of my life believing had to come from outside of myself. Something that had to be given, or granted to me. But if that is true, why is it that you hear:
“You have to ____________ yourself before you can _____________ anyone else”?
Fill in the blank with anything: Love. Make Yourself Happy. Nurture. Feed. Please.
And there is great truth there. You have to be happy from within before you can find happiness without. We are given this message almost every day online. We are responsible for our own happiness. We must love ourselves before we can truly love another.
So why then are we not responsible for forgiving ourselves? We are capable of it. Certainly it is hard. We have each been through so much in our lives, most of it we probably blame on ourselves for one reason or another. But the best thing we can do is let it go. Forgive ourselves. Feel peace with our past and allow the things we have been holding onto to leave and make room for new beautiful experiences.
Paul Boese said, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
How beautiful those words are. The past is the past. It makes us who we are. But holding tightly to the blame we place on ourselves will not get us anywhere. By letting go, releasing it, we can create space to fill with new wonderful memories and feelings.
Here are a few examples to illustrate my point:
1) 1. When I was pregnant, I did research like crazy to plan a specific birth plan that I had in mind. I wanted to have vaginal birth, without being induced, and with little or no medical interference, (unless you count powerful pain killers which I was pretty sure I would agree to anyway). I ended up having a c-section because my baby was stuck and couldn’t descend all the way due to my pelvic bones not spreading enough. I would have been completely unprepared if it weren’t for the fact that my best friend had to have an emergency c-section with her first child and made sure that I was prepared for the remote possibility that it would happen. To this day I still struggle with a certain feeling of disappointment in myself. Like I failed somehow by not having the birth I had wanted. However, my son is healthy and beautiful. I am healthy. We both survived the delivery, and all is well with the world.
2) 2. I have a dear friend who has had several rough years in her life and her marriage. She made a terrible mistake and hurt her husband and their marriage very deeply. Time has passed. They have healed their marriage. Her husband has forgiven her, and I can safely tell you that their relationship is stronger and better than ever. Their family has grown, and it is a beautiful thing. But she still can’t seem to forgive herself for what she did. For a time there she was in a very deep depression because of it. I ache when I see how she hurts for the past. But just as I am the only one who can forgive myself for my different-than-desired child birth, she is the only one who can forgive herself for her mistake.
I invite you to take part with me in a Month of Forgiveness. I want to make a fresh start for 2011, and leave the pain and pressure in 2010. I am going to write down one thing each day for the month of December that I forgive myself for. Then on December 31st, I am going to burn my list, and let go of the past. I have created a fun little workbook for you to print out and write in, and I would like to share this with as many people as I possibly can. Let us all leave the past behind us, and light a fire of inspiration for a beautiful new year!
Click on this link Forgiveness Workbook to download your copy! Please share this with everyone you know! I feel very strongly that I'm not the only one who needs this message right now, and I want to really get it out there!
Note on the workbook*** It is designed to be printed back to back on the same page and folded in half.