Why You Must Forgive Yourself & How

Forgiveness. The hardest person to forgive is oneself.

 Why You Must Forgive Yourself & How

It happens that I have a very hard forgiving myself. It is such a weight to carry around and it can be a hindrance to experiencing joy, growth and peace. I have had to practice again and again (and still practising) to forgive myself.


What makes it so hard to forgive oneself is often to do with that fact that we don't want to forget the good memories of the past and we don't want to bring the "bad" into the future. 


Good news is that we can forgive ourselves while still keeping the good memories in our heart and making sure we learn from our mistakes. 


Actually, the technique that I am going to share with you now brings in both the good and the tough from the past. It has helped me tremendously.


It takes all my focus and energy to forgive myself. When there has been an incident, episode or a moment that I know will sit in my body as regret I accept that I have to make time to go through it. 


I will share an episode from my life with you know so that the technique to forgive oneself that I use will be easier to explain.


Here we go:


I was at a signing class with my son Wisdom. There were a lot of other parents with their children. After the singing part, we all sat down to eat lunch together. The children eat and jump down the chairs to go and play. We parents play along, sit on the floor, chat and laugh. It is such a lovely time. 


Wisdom finds a little bike that he can hold on to and walk. He can't walk by himself yet but he loves the freedom of getting around by himself. So with the bike's assistant, he wonders off. I keep an eye on him as I sit and chat with another mother. 


Wisdom pushes the bike into a wall, it stops and he is standing still. He gets hold of the bike handlebars that then take a sharp turn and Wisdom loses his balance. He falls towards the back and smashes his head into the floor. I see this all happening but I am too far away to catch him. As I run towards him a swear. 


This moment plays itself in front of my eyes again and again as we are driving home in the car. I feel so terrible and I think of all the things I should have done and where I should have been. 


He had a big cry and we had a tight cuddle after the fall and he was okay. No bump on the head, no bruise or a scratch. Still, I just could not forgive myself from not catching him. 


When this happens I know that this won't just go away by itself. I have to do some work to release these stuck emotions. When we came home and as Wisdom was ready for a nap I took him along for a walk in the forest. 


While he is sleeping I went through these few steps to heal myself from that moment. I do this so that I can let go of the past so that I am able to be the most loving, thoughtful and present mom that Wisdom deserves, and that makes me feel thriving.


1. Replay, Feel & Notice:

First I go through the whole episode a few times to find out what parts that make me feel regret. Here is what I came up with:


  • Me sitting so far away from him chatting (make me feel that I am not present enough with Wisdom. Do I just want to chat with others instead of being with Wisdom?)
  • Me swearing (I really think swearing makes everything worse so I practice very hard not to swear and yet I did it)
  • The facade of me as a calm and embracing mum cracks (basically my ego was hurt)


2. Reflect & Understand:

Then I go through these three points to see what I want to learn from them as each of them I offer a variety of lessons I could bring with me onwards. For example:


As I was sitting far away from Wisdom when this fall happened, do I from now on want to always be closer to Wisdom? Do I want to make sure that he doesn't go off on his own?


I asked myself these questions, and no, I don't want to be always following him and DO want him to be able to go off on his own, feeling free ( while still supported) in his needs and wants. 


If I hadn't thought about this, I might have reacted in the future to be more clinging to Wisdom, protective and perhaps been holding him back?


I value his freedom high.


SO! Despite the fall wouldn't want to change my position in the event because of another value I have "freedom".


Are you still here? I know it seems like a long process. It does take effort and time, but it is worth it. It will give you an insight into your values, actions and heart offering you a deeper understanding of yourself and behaviour. With that understanding self-love soon flows and an ability to rest in yourself. It's a big game-changer! 


Let me take you through what I learned from that event:


  • Me sitting so far away from him chatting (make me feel that I am not present enough with Wisdom. Do I just want to chat with others instead of being with Wisdom?)


I want Wisdom to be able to wander off on his own (of course I will be there to make sure he is safe and close if he needs hugs, kisses, love and support in any way). But I don't want this episode to be a reason to limit him in play and exploring new areas. This means that now I understand why I let him wander off on his own (maybe he was two-three meters away at this point, not out of sight).


I can cross that off my regret-feeling list.


  • Me swearing (I really think swearing makes everything worse so I practice very hard not to swear and yet I did it).


Secondly, I felt my reaction was way out of balance. He had fallen. Me swearing, running and stressing might only have made the situation worse. So, what do I want to learn?


Breathe, use mindful language and approach chaotic situations with a calm, steady and grounded attitude.


It is all about being as concrete and precise as possible when framing what you would like to bring with you from the event/episode.



  • The facade of me as a calm and embracing mum cracks (basically my ego was hurt).


Third and last the image I like the other parents to have of me cracked. My ego was hurt. 




Those moments where my ego is hurt I try to celebrate instead of being embarrassed.


I remind myself that most of us don't have the time to think about others because we all spend our time thinking about what others think of us. :)



Okay, so I got down what I want to learn from this event and what might be a reaction to this event that I have to be aware of (a tendency to be over-protective and limited Wisdom's freedom).


NOW comes the technique I use to let go of this moment.


3. LET GO:

*I close my eyes, feel my body and visualise the event.


*Then I make the episode into a mental picture that I can move around in my head. I begin to let the cry and other sounds fade away as a make the image smaller and smaller as well letting it fade, draw the colours out of it and making it blurry. When it is as small as it can get I flick it so it disappears. 



*Then I bring to mind a moment I am grateful for, like Wisdom's birth. The moment you choses has to be a moment that is powerful and where you feel powerful and/grateful. Again I make it into an image. This time I zoom in on details, people's faces, I turn the volume up (as if I can now hear our hearts beating) this brings a big smile to my face.


The best mindset to be in when wanting to remember and learn is an emotional mindset (joy, laughter, gratitude or excitement). So when developing this sense of power, gratitude and joyful emotions from remembering something that we are grateful for, we are more likely to remember the lessons we want to bring onwards, meaning we repeat our mistakes a lot less and learn from them a lot quicker. This way we reprogram our selves so that next time our default reaction is not to yell or swear but to be grounded and calm.


Sometimes I have to repeat these two steps a few times to ensure that regret is all gone. 


then I breathe, feel my body, open my eyes, look into the sky, or the earth, becoming present.


It really works! Try it out!


What do you do to practice forgiveness?