Many of us go our whole lives weighed down by baggage. Each of our experiences comes with choices, and each choice we make can set us free or weigh us down. Over time decisions that weigh us down can begin distorting our day-to-day reality.
The distortion is guilt. Guilt is a weighty feeling because it forces us to carry emotions from the past into the present. So not only do we have to manage our emotions right now, but we have to lug around, and therefore manage our guilt. Inevitably, the guilt resurfaces in our lives on a loop, and the baggage cycle continues.
It doesn’t have to, though.
Whenever we discuss the concept of forgiveness, it’s usually about forgiving others. We learn that forgiving others is less about them and more about us because forgiving others releases any surrounding negativity and lightens our emotional load. The same is true for forgiving ourselves.
For today’s #50forMe Challenge, we look at 3 steps to take when forgiving ourselves.
We understand that there are varying degrees of actions that take forgiveness. Some of us are forgiving ourselves for loading up on carbs at lunch, while others of us are forgiving ourselves for deep-rooted or even traumatic misrepresentations of our best selves. No matter what degree of forgiveness is necessary, we can each find comfort that we are not alone on the road to self-grace.
Get it out
One of the most powerful and therapeutic ways to release past events and the negative emotions around them is to express them with words. This can mean writing them out in a journal or on a sheet of paper. If written on loose leaf, another step could be to (find a safe outdoor space and) ignite the paper as a symbol of letting the past event and its accompanying emotions burn.
Speaking the event out loudthrough a recorder or to ourselves is a way of dispelling the events. The objective here is to begin the process of closure.
Find the lesson
Once verbalizing the source of guilt, one way to help move past it is to learn from it. It’s possible that no one enjoys the feeling of guilt, and finding the lesson can be simple. First, it takes identifying why we are feeling guilty. Did we disappoint a loved one or peer? Did we fall short of religious or personal standards? Did we break a promise or bend a rule? Once we have the answer to why the guilt surrounds the situation, we can gain insight and, therefore, be in better position to make better decisions in the future.
Resolve + Resume
Pinpointing the source of guilt and taking away the lesson are processes that can take time. The best way to forgive ourselves is to incorporate self-grace into our daily lives. For example, when we notice negative self-talk taking over our thoughts, we can utilize our self-talk safe word to re-center, rather than heading into a negativity tailspin. This mentality—showing kindness and grace to ourselves—will allow forgiveness to come naturally and ultimately permeate into our relationships with one another.
What did you think of today’s Challenge? Let us know in the comments below.