Forgiving our own self is so hard, it’s partially so hard because we are our own harshest critics. We expect so much from ourselves; we know our own limitations and our own capabilities, so it’s easy to be disappointed in ourselves when we don’t meet those. Here are four simple and easy ways to navigate your heart in the direction of forgiveness:
1. Validate yourself.
Sometimes other people cannot listen and advise you the way you need them to, so you have to practice doing that for yourself. One time in therapy, my therapist had me switch spots with her; I sat in her chair and she sat in mine. She wanted me to give myself the advice that I would want to hear, or that I would give someone in my position. It was this activity that taught me just how important it is to validate our own emotions. If you are sad, mad, heartbroken, anxious, or whatever it is, it is necessary to give yourself permission to feel those things, and it’s crucial that you hear your own bodies concerns and learn to not minimize them.
2. Talk to yourself like you would a best friend.
When a best friend tells you about a mistake he/she made or an unhealthy situation they were in, you don’t yell at them and cut off your friendship. That means you cannot do that with yourself either, treat yourself like you would a loved one. It’s normal to get angry, but never make someone, including yourself, feel unworthy of acceptance. Talk to yourself with the compassion and kindness you would someone you love.
3. Let life teach you, and be receptive to it.
It’s true, nothing goes away until it teaches you what you need to know. Every circumstance holds some lesson that is valuable to endure. It’s crucial to stay open to whatever life is trying to teach. If we look at every upsetting situation and we search for the lesson in it, then we are growing and gaining more wisdom. Sometimes we have to look at our circumstance with a curiosity for knowledge rather than the emotional reaction we feel initially.
4. Don’t take things personally.
One of my favorite quotes is, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” People are so quick to take everything to heart, that it ends up arising certain feelings that make it nearly impossible to feel free from. It’s important to take responsibilities for our own actions, humility is necessary, but not to the point that we are harboring things that do not belong to us. Other people’s disfigurement cannot be the cause of our own suffocation.