Do you carry around feelings of guilt or shame? These painful emotions can weigh you down to the point of incapacitation. Emotional toxicity can harm you mentally and physically.
Often they linger insidiously, crushing you without you even knowing the source of this incessant heaviness. Many times, people take them on when they are somebody else’s burdens to bear.
Regardless of why you hold on to these feelings, it’s time to let them go. Read on to learn how to grant self-forgiveness.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
When uncomfortable feelings arise, many people instinctively bury them deep. After all, you can stop yourself from feeling it, right?
Wrong. When you bury a painful emotion, it turns toxic. Rather than dealing with the feeling all at once, it lingers, grows, and quietly attacks your subconscious mind.
This makes naming your feelings important. When you think badly about yourself, acknowledge exactly what you feel.
Holding space for all emotions validates your feelings. Once you acknowledge them, these emotions no longer need to act out for your attention, so your mind will quiet down and you may even feel physically better.
Journal Your Emotions
Sometimes acknowledging your emotions gets complicated. Your feelings may bounce around or change. Keep a journal of how you feel and why you feel that way.
This will help you better understand yourself and the situation at hand. Journaling does not need to look like neat entries, because often our brains do not think that way.
One day you may leave a mess or scribbles or words. Another, you might create poetry or write an entire story laden with emotions yet to surface.
Write often and look back to find patterns in your thinking. Don’t forget to write about why you cannot yet forgive yourself. Finding a ‘why’ gives you something to fix.
Take or Release Accountability
If you made a mistake, own up to it. Pretending like you did nothing wrong when you actually did only feeds your guilt and shame.
You cannot offer yourself forgiveness for something you won’t admit to. Get honest with yourself about everything that happened.
Accept your role in it, and do so openly with anybody the situation affected. Then, make your amends.
Or, release the accountability that you took on for somebody else. Survivors of abuse tend to take responsibility for what the abuser did to them. Forgive yourself for loving so selflessly and release the burdens that don’t belong to you.
Never underestimate the power of a sincere apology. When you apologize, it releases you from a tremendous amount of shame and guilt.
It also paves a pathway for moving forward. But, do so with purpose, or it could create more hurt.
When apologizing to another person, ask for permission. When apologizing to yourself, verbally grant permission.
Begin with acknowledgment of actions and subsequent feelings. Finish with a plan to move forward, and then open up the floor for them to speak while you actively listen.
Making amends allows you to forgive yourself for the harm you caused others and yourself. Just do not apologize for the actions of somebody who wronged you or you will find it more difficult to forgive yourself later.
Accept Your Humanity
Remember that you’re human. We all make mistakes as part of our nature.
If you want to step up towards divinity, forgive yourself. Acknowledge that humans cannot possibly reach perfection.
Then celebrate your own humanity. Recognize that flaws allow for learning and growth.
Notice the limitations that make you beautiful. Meet yourself where you are at, with love.
Flood your brain with positive practices. If you practice gratitude for who you are and the things you possess, then you will not leave space for negative emotions.
Gratitude improves mental health. You can practice it literally everywhere.
For every negative thought come up with three reasons to give thanks. Your entire mindset will improve and forgiveness will no longer feel so difficult.
Open Up to Self Love
Self-love can feel unnatural, especially to those who survived trauma. But if we don’t love ourselves, then how can we thrive?
Understand that you deserve love. This always holds true, even if you make mistakes.
Love yourself so that you may heal from your wounds. Start by rediscovering your authentic self.
Ask yourself questions about life, and answer them thoroughly. Find wonder and amazement in the person you’ve grown into.
Each day, gaze into your own eyes through a mirror and say, “I love you”. It releases oxytocin, a chemical responsible for bonding and feeling love.
Once you love yourself, you can allow forgiveness. It’s difficult to remain angry with a person who you love unconditionally.
An apology without change constitutes manipulation. Do not manipulate yourself, because then you become the fool.
Instead, consider why you felt disappointed in yourself in the first place. Perhaps, you hurt another person.
Maybe you didn’t stick to your values. Or did you remain in a situation that didn’t serve your best interest?
Whatever you did that you didn’t like, grow forward from it by taking action.
Set yourself in a new direction. Create clear boundaries for yourself and others, then take baby steps toward your goal. How can you possibly fail to forgive a person you see actively trying to do better?
Guilt and shame feel lonely. But, you do not need to move forward alone.
This process does not typically move forward in a straight line. It often gets messy.
Hire a trained professional who understands the human mind and cares about your heart. Just like a personal trainer at the gym does wonders for a weight loss journey, transformational coaching will lead you down the path to self-forgiveness.
Self-forgiveness does not simply happen. You make a choice to accept your own flaws, love yourself, and evolve, and reprieve follows.
Holding on to toxic feelings won’t allow you to rise above the chaos. Forgiveness will allow you to step into your power.
I believe in you and want to aid in your transformation. Reach out today!