#58 How to Forgive Yourself

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.’” – Mark Twain

When I first heard this beautiful quote my heart skipped a beat, goosebumps arose throughout my body, and my eyes began to tear up. Twain tells us that even when the heel of a foot crushes the violet flower, it still permeates its sweet fragrance.

Learning how to forgive yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself in this lifetime. If you have experienced hurt and are able to forgive others and yourself, you soon come to realize that no one can take anything from you, rather in every interaction with another, you give them something to remember you by.

Before learning how to forgive yourself, you must understand why we forgive.

In a past episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show, a guest stated the definition of forgiveness perfectly when he said, ““forgiveness if giving up the hope that the past could be any different.’”

When you think about forgiveness, it’s impossible not to think about the past. It’s because of the past that you have not been able to move on. Once you internalize and completely realize that the past couldn’t be any different, then you are on your way to true healing.

How many times have you held onto a grudge or worried yourself to extreme lengths about something that has already transpired? We all have but this behavior can cause a strain in our lives.

My mom and almost everyone’s mom has always said, “Why cry over spilled milk?” It’s done now so I have a choice to move on or keep crying about that which I cannot control. I advise to choose the former.

Understanding forgiveness

To apply the concepts of forgiveness, one must understand that forgiveness is a selfish act. At times, our ego gets bruised or feels that it’s belittling itself by forgiving but it’s quite the opposite.

Forgiveness is for you. It’s not an apology to those that hurt you but rather forgiving yourself for feeling hurt, sad, fearful, angry, or worried. Forgiveness can only be possible when your mind, body, and soul have fully relinquished the burden of judgment and expectation.

Forgiving while holding onto the past is a waste of energy and causes us to die a little bit each time. This energy could be very well manifested into something more useful.

Sometimes when we hold onto anger it’s because we want another to have a taste of their own medicine. We may be waiting for karma to hit them. However, there is nothing virtuous about revenge. It makes us lose sight of our divine self. That divine part of us is pure and we must protect it. Wanting something terrible for our enemies holds no virtue. There is an old Chinese proverb that goes, “If you are going to pursue revenge, you better dig two graves.”

Techniques to forgive and let go

Time is precious — Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. If he lived with hate and could not forgive those that locked him up, South Africa and perhaps the world would be different today. You must realize that your time is valuable and every second wasted holding onto the past is a second where you are foreboding the possibility to make this world better. From the moment you are born, you are dying. How do you want to live?

Actions — Remember that if someone has hurt you, they are in fact responsible for their actions, not you. You are not forgiving them for who they are, only they can do that, vice-versa. The only action you need to take is forgiving yourself for another making you feel less precious, beautiful, and pure than you are.

Ego — Your ego isn’t real. It’s a fall sense of who you are. When I forgave others for what they did in the past, I felt relieved. How they took my sincere apology was of little concern because I did it for myself. “What others think about you is none of your business.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Meditate — When you sit in silence with your eyes closed or with your eyes open in a personal sanctuary of peace, think about forgiveness. Take a moment to breathe. Inhale and exhale all that is negative within you. Know that you have the power to let go of what is not worthy of your mind and soul.

It’s for you — When you forgive, it’s for you. It’s to make you better. Do you want to be a better version of yourself? I am sure you do. The selfish act of forgiveness makes it possible for you to harness all that is good in you and shine that onto others.

Death — As morbid as it may seem, if you come to the realization that everyone close to you can be taken away at any time for any reason will change your perspective on forgiveness. Know that all you see is dying the moment you open your eyes. Live with this sentiment and thoughts of love will become all pervading and omnipresent.

We all make mistakes — Forgive others and forgive yourself for we are not removed from making mistakes, we are only human. Being able to forgive is what makes being human divine.

Results of learning how to forgive yourself

When you forgive, you let go of the past, thus embracing the present. You will come out loving yourself more and in turn, treating the world around you better.

“Forgiveness in the most powerful thing you can do for yourself on the spiritual path. If you can’t learn to forgive, you can forget about getting to higher levels of awareness.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

With Love,

Anand Swamy

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