Hey wonderful people!

This article is inspired by two podcast episodes about forgiveness I listened to on Spotify recently, ‘Wie du dir selbst in 4 Schritten vergeben kannst’ and ‘Die 3 größten Missverständnisse über Vergebung’ by Happy, Holy & Confident hosted by Laura Malina Seiler.

Why forgiveness is important

Forgiveness and self-forgiveness are endlessly important: They are healing, how you learn, grow and move on from pain. You can't rise up unless you let go of what weighs you down - like pain caused by someone's actions or mistakes, grudges, regret of what you did or didn't do, expectations and standards you or others unreasonably forced upon you, hurt based on what did or didn't happen. Forgiveness is often not just about one mistake, person, or moment, but about something larger going on inside you that is hurting you and is part of your past.

Self forgiveness is important even when you haven't made a clear mistake. You deserve to forgive yourself for all the expectations you didn't reach and all the things you didn't do. It is one thing to have an issue with motivation and discipline to reach a goal - but it is something else entirely to pressure yourself to reach a certain standard or expectation you’ve forced upon yourself or others have forced upon you. You deserve to let go of unrealistic expectations and missed chances. You are worthy of being the best version of yourself but holding on to grudges, guilt, and regret is to keep yourself hostage from that version. Forgive yourself for all the things you didn't achieve, aren't meant for you, you were too tired for, the mornings you were too sad to jump out of bed, the extra mile you didn't run, the extra hour you didn't work... Set yourself free. Tell yourself you're doing alright, that you're okay.

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The benefits of self-forgiveness

  • Being able to forgive others

Once you are able to forgive yourself, you are able to recognize that others make mistakes because they are human, because they don't know better, because they are in pain. When you realize this, you acknowledge that the mistake made or hurt brought upon you by another is perhaps not even about you but their past or their troubles - you either just happen to be in the cross-fire or it is your role in that persons life to bring their attention to what they need to heal. Regardless, it allows you to recognize that others can learn from their mistakes, that they can grow and that they deserve to - just like you.

  • Ending the spread of pain

When you're in pain you may channel it subconsciously or consciously into something you do and spread it to others. When you forgive yourself you can break the cycle and eliminate your pain without putting the weight of it on another's shoulders.

  • Taking responsibility and control of yourself

To be able to forgive allows you to stop blaming others for your issues and emotions. It helps you take responsibility for them because you're able to manage them and move on from them.

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How self-forgiveness relates to others

Not just self-forgiveness but forgiveness as a whole is entirely about you and healing yourself. Forgiveness is not about the other person, not about whether they deserve your forgiveness or if they even asked for it or apologized. It is about freeing yourself, allowing yourself to move past the pain, and bring yourself a sense of peace. You deserve forgiveness.

When you hold a grudge against others it is you who carries the weight of that grudge, it is you who is poisoned by hatred, it is you who remains trapped in past pain.

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How to forgive yourself

Stage 1. Self-forgiveness is about accepting that the mistake occurred. This does not mean accepting the wrongdoing itself, but accepting that you've done something in the past and that you deserve to grow from it. Be brave and call up the memory... and then apologize to yourself. Stop letting the memory rot and that shame spread inside of you. Allow yourself to recognize that you're human and that you've done something that perhaps hurt someone or was wrong but that at that point in your life you didn't know better or even if you did that you acted or reacted that way out of your own pain. You're human and you're allowed to make mistakes. You are not worth less or a worse human because of your mistake.

Stage 2. Next you can face it and learn from it. Once you stop burying the memory away inside of you, you can truly understand what happened. Bad emotions and actions may be turned to due to something happening in you past or something inside of you that needs to be healed. This is the stage where you can release the shame and pain of your mistake and grow from it.

Holding a grudge is being stuck in the past. When you forgive yourself you set yourself free of the shackles that held you in that moment and allow yourself to live fully in the present. Do not fight the past - it is possibly the only fight you can't win. The past happened, it's over, you can't change it. But, you can decide how you react to it, how you learn from it, and how you live today.

Stage 3. Thank yourself for taking the time to understand and face your pain and to set yourself free from it.

What you can also do it apply the Hawaiian practice of forgiveness, Ho'oponopono. Sit or lie down in a quiet and peaceful space, close your eyes and turn your attention to yourself, and tell yourself mentally or aloud:
I'm sorry,
Please forgive me,
I love you,
Thank you.
Let this be your mantra and repeat it until you believe it.

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Summary: So, what is forgiveness?

(Self) forgiveness it not about judging yourself or others, not about what others deserve from you, not about accepting the wrongdoing and allowing it to happen again, not about moving on blindly and burying the pain.

Forgiveness is setting yourself free form the pain that a memory continues to cause. It is moving on from someone else's mistake with strength, courage, and self-love. It is offering yourself peace.

Self-forgiveness is healing from the pain and growing from your own mistake. It is moving on with acceptance, clarity, and self-love. It is offering yourself peace.

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Listening to the podcast that inspired this article and writing this article was healing for me because I have made many mistakes that I put myself down for and thought less of myself because. I accept them as part of my life and my journey and I set myself free. I offer myself peace. I forgive myself for myself. I forgive others not because their wrongdoings are suddenly right but because I don’t deserve the pain that holding on to their mistake caused me. I hope you find the strength to forgive yourself and others as well. I support you in your journey.

I am so grateful that you’re here and that you read my article. I hope you’re having a wonderful day. Namaste, @yayjulia

If you're interested in other posts I create or my other mindfulness posts why not check out these collections! Or if you want to talk feel free to send me a message!

All rights reserved. This is my writing. Please do not copy.
Note: None of the images in this article besides the affirmations and cover images are mine and all credits are given to the original owners.

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Cover image.