Forgiving Self For Past Mistakes & General Forgiveness Strategies
- Forgiving self for past mistake.
- How can I stop punishing myself?
- General forgiveness strategies.
- Meditation / Guided Visualization: Exchanging pain for peace, surrounding yourself in pure God light, forgiving self.
Ask the Author: Question & Response
Almost seven years ago, I made a mistake that has haunted me day in and day out. Each and every day that goes by, I torture myself. I have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to move forward in my career but constantly hold myself back because I am ashamed of my past and can not find it in me to forgive myself. I know I’m a loving person and would have made different choices had I known what I know now. I am always the first to forgive anyone who hurts me, but as far as self-forgiveness it’s been almost impossible. How can I stop punishing myself? Where do I find the strength to hold my head up and stop being ashamed for being human?
– Heidi, USA
Have you ever, while asleep, experienced a dream that you thought was completely real while you were in it? Have you ever experienced a dream where regardless of how much pain you suffered, put yourself through, or how scared you were during it, you still swore that while in it – it was real? Have you ever had a dream where regardless of how confusing, regardless of how little sense it was making at the time, you still supported it as real? Anytime, regardless of physical manifestation, where you judge, criticize, condemn or pass judgment on yourself or a brother or sister, it is a dream you are currently seeing as real. You are experiencing the dream as real, so much so that while in it, you would even swear to its reality. This dream is not your truest self. This is not your real self. This is not your Godself. This is merely an illusion you are temporarily experiencing as real, believe as real, and thus support as real. Yet my dear friend, I know that inside of you, maybe deep inside of you, you know that it is okay to forgive yourself. You know that you have every right to forgive yourself. You understand that forgiveness is the real, authentic, valid and healthy thing to do. Have you ever had a bad dream or a stressful time in a dream, yet once you woke up, you were so relieved and thankful that it was merely a dream? My friend, soon you will wake up from the dream, the false learned belief, that it is not okay to forgive yourself.
Have you ever opened an e-mail you thought you wanted to look at, or that might have some useful information and unexpectedly and unknowingly infected your hard drive with a virus? A computer virus, once on the hard drive, can lie dormant until a specific word, or even a phrase is inputted. Somewhere along the line, somewhere in your life, you were learning about forgiveness and were unexpectedly and unknowingly contaminated with the idea that it is not okay to forgive yourself. This idea did not come with your hard drive. This idea simply was unconsciously accepted into it, and now you believe that it is simply a part of who you are and thus defend and support it as real. You do not defend yourself against this foreign object because somewhere within you have convinced yourself that this foreign thought system is part of your real self. Regardless of how little sense it truly makes, you keep defending it as part of who you truly are. It is not until you get that this thought system is a virus, that you unconsciously and unknowingly accepted, that you would look to clean it up.
My friend, forgiveness and self-forgiveness is your birthright. It is your inheritance. Yet regardless of how rich and wonderful your inheritance, it can not be enjoyed, nor can you benefit from it, if it is not accepted. And your decision to accept or not accept it is a choice you make, your free will. For what God has gifted you – can never be taken away from you, but it can be refused by you. Thus accept God’s inheritance or put your faith into that false learned belief that you are choosing to support; it is your choice to make. The dream, the hidden virus is your ego’s effort to replace God’s inheritance.
Whenever the emotions or incidents you experience are perceived with aversion, you have chosen to trust your egoself’s plan for the universe over God’s plan. You have chosen to have faith in the way you believe life should be, rather than having faith in God’s plan. You have chosen to depend on your perception over God’s knowledge. You probably don’t know what you are going to have for lunch tomorrow, let alone what is in the best interest of the universe.
In every circumstance, in every instant, you have been gifted with the free will to choose how you will react. You can choose to react with judgment, worry, conflict, chaos and confusion, or you can choose to react with trust, peace of mind, love and joy. Every instant, regardless of its manifestation, allows you the opportunity to begin anew, to experience life with peace of mind, love and joy. The knowledge that you have the power to react to any circumstance, any time, and in any way you desire, is the beginning of understanding the absolute power of free will.
When the Bible uses the words “Thy will be done,” it is also and equally saying “May your highest will be done.” There is no difference. Trust, peace of mind, self-forgiveness, love and joy will come about by choosing to have faith in God’s plan for your life. Your highest will and God’s will are one. God’s plan for your life is your highest will for your life. In every moment of your past, regardless of how you choose to perceive it now, you made the best decision possible with the tools you had then. Since you made the best decision possible with the tools that were available to you, then you have acted through your highest will. In a gentler light, problems, mistakes or difficult situations can be seen as lessons, learning opportunities and gifts presented to you by your Godself in order to remember your perfection and your brother’s and sister’s perfection.
When you write: “I know I’m a loving person and would have made different choices had I known what I know now.” – isn’t what you know now a result of what you have learned from the past? Thus, is not the past, in large part, responsible for what you know now? Should you regret the past, or be thankful for the lessons and knowledge it has brought you, and for the person it has now made you into? Should a person who is “always the first to forgive anyone who hurts me” not be grateful for this ability, for this gift to her brothers and sisters and to the world? And is not your past, in part, responsible for this beautiful contribution and offering that is so needed on this planet at this time? Would all your present and future brothers and sisters not bow in honor and gratitude to all the brothers and sisters of your past for helping you become the person you are today? Would your present self not bow in honor and gratitude to your past self for the person you are today?
You are the vehicle God uses to express Himself on this planet. Allow Him to flow through you. When you’re loving, forgiving, joyous and peaceful, you are allowing His expression to be experienced. Believe it or not, you make the final decision of what will flow through you and into the world. Not even God would force Himself through you. When you allow God to flow through you, this is your natural flow, this is your trueself, and this is your Godself. My friend, if you allow God to flow through you, you would want no other way. When you allow God to flow through you, peace, love, forgiveness and joy extend through you and into the world. Self-forgiveness, forgiveness and love are offered immediately to your brothers and sisters and to yourself. For what you offer your brothers and sisters, you experience and gift yourself; for it must first flow through you. Allow yourself to see and feel God’s expression being expressed through His other vehicles and all you will experience will be peace of mind, love, forgiveness and joy. You, your brothers and your sisters are, in the most literal sense, the physical expression of God on Earth.
Situations and experiences that you create in your daily existence, and have created in your past, can be perceived in two ways. Positive and true perception occurs when you work with your Godself. This means that you perceive all experiences or situations as lessons and gifts. The other way is to work with the ego and use negative or false perception. In this instance, you perceive the situations with judgment, experiencing them as errors, problems, bad decisions or plain bad luck. My dear friend, understand this, every day of your life, you can choose to live in Heaven or Hell. Every day of your life, knowingly or not, you make that choice. How much you choose to suffer is, in the end, up to you.
My dear friend, when it comes to self-forgiveness, have you not aligned yourself with the ego long enough? Your tolerance for pain may be high but it is not without limit. There will come a time in your life when you will say: “Enough is enough. I will punish myself no longer.” When that time comes, and you once again trust God’s plan, you will not only be aligning yourself with God, but you will be gifting your past to him, and thus once again becoming a vehicle for bringing all His other lost and confused sons and daughters home.
The poem that follows, “An Unknown Confederate Soldier, A Creed for Those Who Have Suffered,” is one that so eloquently summarizes our desire to follow our own plan based on what we think is best for our lives. The author shows us that when we trust God’s plan, the result is a life with much more meaning than we could possibly have imagined.
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey…
I asked for health, that I might do great things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things…
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise…
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God…
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I may enjoy all things…
I got nothing I asked for – but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among men, most richly blessed!
My dear friend, you have never been disconnected from your source. Your source is an all loving, all forgiving God. Thus if you, at the current moment, do not have the strength to forgive yourself, then invite that part of you that is connected to God to forgive that part of you that is believing and experiencing the dream that you can’t forgive yourself as real. Let me ask you, if you saw your child having a nightmare, would you judge and ridicule your child for thinking the dream is real, or would you very gently and lovingly wake her? Would you punish and convict her as guilty for what she experienced, or would you dry her tears, turn the light on and tell her that it’s all okay now? Would you continue to hold the nightmare against her, reminding her of it every day, or would you hold and comfort her until her fears melted into the nothingness from where they were created? Do you not think that God just might be as kind, gentle, loving and forgiving as you are? My dear friend, there is a part of you that understands what it is that I’m reminding you of. It is this part of you, your Godself, that I’m asking to stand up, hold its head high and awaken that part of you, your child or ego-self, that is now experiencing that nightmare as real.
Meditation / Guided Visualization:
Try the following meditation: Read completely through the following meditation a couple of times to get a feel for it. Then find a quiet place, sit down, close your eyes, relax and give it a try. This meditation is heart-centered, meaning you must use your heart and soul to guide you through the process. If you currently are emotional, or physically or spiritually tired, you might want to wait for another day. Yet, if you feel tired and still want to try it, please do as your gut tells you. You may use this meditation as many nights or times as you wish. Finally, do not judge yourself if you feel that “nothing happened.” Many times, progress does not come in the form that the ego expects. I promise you that progress will be made, for I have witnessed how one honest moment spent with God completely raises the vibration of not only this planet but also of all of its inhabitants.
Before going to bed one night, go to your room. Sit on a chair and take a couple of minutes to just concentrate on your breath. Breathe deeply. Close your eyes. With every breath you take in, feel God’s white light and love entering your body. With every out breath, feel the stresses of the day leaving your body. Visualize yourself on a chair, sitting in darkness. Then visualize a fog coming toward you. This fog is full of white light. This white light represents God’s love. Feel His light and love slowly surround and envelop you. Give Him permission to enter and ask your guardian angels and guides to also come in.
Surround yourself with the white light of protection and feel the light surrounding you, embracing you, protecting you.
Tell God, Jesus, your guardian angels and/or guides (or whatever divine energy you believe in) that you are now ready to exchange pain for peace. That you are now ready to forgive yourself. This pain can be anything from an emotionally trying time – to a time where you have yet to forgive someone or even yourself. Go back to a time when you once experienced this pain. Understand that you are now completely protected. Understand that nothing can hurt you any longer, because you are now completely surrounded by your spiritual family. They are here to assist you, to support you, and to protect you.
My dear friend, no longer choose to punish and torture yourself. Visualize yourself surrounded by not only your spiritual family but also all of your present and future brothers and sisters that will be blessed by you and your power of forgiveness and self-forgiveness. Feel them all assisting you in lifting your chin up and holding your head high. Ask them to help you accept and gift yourself with what you have so often gifted others – forgiveness. Even imagine those who were, in one way or another, involved in the painful incident – now in your corner, offering you the strength and support you need to forgive yourself, forgive others and move forward. Know that in this higher state, they will gladly do the same for you. There is now an incredible amount of love and support surrounding you and your intention to accept self-forgiveness.
Bring that pain into your thoughts and now begin to offer it to God. See yourself handing all the pain you experienced over to God. A little willingness is all it takes. Visualize yourself slowly and deliberately grabbing all the dark pain out of your body and mind, and putting it into a bag. Feel the weight of the pain that you are extracting from your body. See the bag turn black as you continue to release your pain into it. Feel the bag getting heavier and your body getting lighter. Hold this bag in front of you and offer it to God. See God gladly take this bag from you, and as He does, see it being slowly dissolved into His light. As the bag begins to dissolve, feel yourself becoming lighter, for you have finally chosen to let it go. The weight has been lifted. As you begin to feel lighter and free, feel God filling those now open spaces within your body with His light. Feel His light expanding throughout your body, filling up all the crevasses that were once dug up by the ego. By your choice, His truth now replaces your illusions. See the chains that have shackled you to the past and not allowed you to move forward break, setting you free to pursue all wonderful opportunities to move forward in your life and career.
God will gladly take all memories of pain from you because He loves you. See your pain being dissolved in His light, and feel His peace enter you. Let His love enter you; feel the waves of love entering your spirit. You and God are one. He has absolute love for you. Let Him forever take the pain away and replace it with His love. Feel His love filling the places in you where pain once lived.
He is so grateful for the exchange because He knows that one of His children has just taken another step toward Him. He is so grateful for the exchange because He knows that one of His children has just exchanged the illusion of pain for the truth of peace. He is very grateful to you and I know you’ll be grateful to Him.
Thank Him with all your heart and feel Him receiving your love and thanks. Send waves of love and light into His light that you now are. Thank Him for being there for you. Thank all of your spiritual family for their protection and support. Spend some time in the light, in quiet gratitude.
Say goodbye and let God, your guardian angels and guides go with the understanding that they are always with you, and that any moment you ask them to be with you they will be. For today, you have rediscovered a moment in time that had been hidden to you, but that you now acknowledge is always available. All you need to do now is ask, and Heaven will gladly come to you. All you need to do now is ask for forgiveness and peace. As you ask for them, you remember their ever present availability. And as you remember them, you will experience them and forever offer them to yourself and others.This question and response can be found in the book - There is Another Way: Overcoming Real World Challenges. If you enjoyed this Q&A, you'll really enjoy the book which is filled with inspiration and effective strategies for overcoming life's challenges. The book is due to come out this March. Click here to sign up for our newsletter so that you can be notified when it is ready. Thanks.