Last week I posted on Instagram about forgiving yourself and this concept continued to come up this week in sessions with clients. Forgiveness is one of those loaded “F” bombs that can be a struggle to grasp. Now add the word self along with that “F” bomb and you have a recipe for confusion, stress, and wonder. I say wonder because it can seem so impossible of a place to reach and such a wondrous place to be when you do get there.
Forgiveness is not an easy place to go and I am not going to allude you with saying it is. But forgiveness also doesn’t have to be a mountain that you feel you absolutely cannot climb. I come from the school of thought and belief that forgiving ourselves is one of the hardest things we will ever do as human beings but it is absolutely necessary to begin moving forward into a place off loving kindness for yourself.
Brene’ Brown Ph.D LMSW, has many fabulous books and Ted Talks about vulnerability and shame. How to move into this place of being a whole hearted person. If you have not read any of her work, I highly recommend her. In fact, I recommend her books and Ted Talks regularly to clients. Click her to watch her Ted Talk on Vulnerability.
I mention her work on shame because these emotions are interconnected with self-forgiveness. Shame is a powerful emotion that does not want us to move forward. It does not want us to forgive. It grows stronger and more powerful the longer we sit stuck in the emotion and the thoughts that also come with it. Shame is an emotion. It is an emotion just like joy or peace. The difference is it is an uncomfortable emotion that no one likes to feel (me included). It is also an emotion we have all have felt (unless you have some serious pathology) so we should all rejoice a little when we feel shame because that means we also have empathy and remorse. Awesome right?? Well this rejoicing is usually very quickly replaced with other intense feelings and maybe one of those feelings is self-loathing?
Ok, if you are wondering what is the point of talking about shame and self-loathing? The point is these are the emotions that keep ups stuck, they can keep us from moving towards self-forgiveness. A question I get asked often is “How do I forgive myself when I don’t even like myself?” Good point, because it is true. Before we can forgive ourselves we have to like ourselves or better yet love ourselves. I am talking big time changes in our self-worth and self-esteem.
The next question I usually get is “How do I do that?”. The answer to that question is try. Try self-compassion, try positive self-talk, try being kind to yourself, just start trying now. Forgiveness starts with self-compassion. Self-compassion starts with allowing yourself some grace, allowing yourself to make mistakes, to not be perfect, and to do things that are loving and kind to yourself.
Start asking yourself this question, “Is this being loving and kind to myself?”. If the answer is, no then you need to question why are you doing “it”. When the answer is no, the next step is to start exploring what else to do. What other choice could you be making that would be “loving and kind to you”. Start now; try it for a week and see what happens.
Hello! Welcome to my Blog on self care . I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Yoga Teacher.
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