Forgiving Yourself and Moving Forward
The Best Gift to Start the New Year: Forgiveness
As we round up December and begin to look forward to the fresh start of a new year, it may be the perfect time to give ourselves the best gift of all for new beginnings – forgiveness.
I don’t mean forgiving yourself for burning a batch of cookies, I’m talking about releasing the deep guilt and shame we may be carrying for past missteps.
Time to come clean with ourselves.
Most of us have not arrived at midlife without at least a few regrets.
Something we screwed up along the way. A bad choice or decision, or perhaps many, that we made on our journey to today.
It might have been something that happened when we were twenty or maybe forty-two. That decision that we would change if given the chance to live those moments over again.
Warning: Regret can be poisonous.
Worse yet, regret usually pals around with confidence-eroding bullies like guilt and shame.
Combined, they can be like a wall preventing us from feeling worthy of love, abundance, joy, peace, success and all-around happiness.
We can’t undo or forget the choices we’ve made – but we can start to forgive ourselves a little at a time and begin to release the heavy burden of carrying it around with us daily.
You may think you’ve moved past those regrets, but they sneak in as self-judgements.
They lay sublimely under our everyday thoughts waiting for us to have a bad day or a failure or a weak moment when they whisper in our ear that we don’t deserve goodness. That we’re stupid or inadequate or that we somehow deserve disappointments.
The shame and guilt of regret continues to bubble up, whether we realize it or not, and screws up our ability to live our best lives.
How can we be fully free to pursue and enjoy happiness and abundance when deep down inside we subconsciously don’t feel worthy of it?
Recognizing the regret is step one to forgiving yourself.
Having the courage to pull it out from under the weeds and shine some light on it may help us reduce regret’s strangle-hold.
Examining our regret, we can start to understand that those (bad) choices were a result of being human – being imperfect – and doing the best we could at that moment. We didn’t have the wisdom and hindsight about that particular situation that we have now.
Being human and imperfect, and now courageously facing that we would make different choices today – it seems natural that the next step is admitting how unfair it is not to forgive ourselves. Think about how readily we forgive those we love with a hey, you messed up, you learned something, let it go and move on!
We are approaching a new year. It’s time to start out with the gift of radical self-love.
Will will never forget our regrets, but we can find a place of compromise where self-forgiveness and self-love softens their hold on us.
“And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Be kind to yourself and love yourself enough to lift the burden of wearing those mistakes around your neck, weighing you down, dragging down your ability to receive love and life’s many gifts and to feel worthy of it all.
This New Year’s Eve – raise a glass to forgiveness. Toast to yourself as an acknowledgement and release of the burden of your regrets.
Maybe let your family and friends know that you’re toasting to self-forgiveness. You never know who else around you might benefit from loosening their own noose of imperfect-choices-past and move on from regret!
Look ahead and move forward to a new year of living your best imperfect life.
Cheers to finding joy and peace and abundance in 2019 and to chasing and embracing whatever more you’re dreaming of!
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