Simple Steps to Self-Forgiveness

We are nearing the end of 2021 and the holiday season will be upon us sooner than we think. Many travels to see their families, and I am sure this year there will be more travel than last year. This year we might be hungry to see others and face the same family wounds, but this time with more forgiveness and patience.

For years, any family gathering had been a special occasion for me, especially after I decided to forgive my alcoholic father by changing the point of view about how that hurt originated. I didn’t need to feel resentment, it made no sense to do that anymore. I didn’t need to argue with him about small stuff just to make my point and feel a small victory as revenge for what had been done to me. I could listen to the stories from the past without the hurt and sadness in my heart.

I have forgiven a lot of people for the hurts and traumas they have caused me over years, but I had the hardest time forgiving one person, me. I just couldn’t forgive myself. How I could have allowed that to happen to me? Why would I do that to myself? Why would I believe that people in my environment would take care of me, nurture me, support me and keep me safe? What was I thinking!

Sadly, those kinds of betrayals happen a lot in our grownup life, and we keep asking ourselves the same question, how could we have allowed this happened to us?

Sadly, every time we open our hearts to someone, only to be neglected, it returns us to our childhood There is nothing wrong with having faith in other people. Sure, it hurts to be neglected, lied to, or emotionally or physically abused. But we need to remember that we are always doing the best we can with what we know and what we can do. We don’t wake up in the morning and say, “I feel I want to be hurt by that person that I just met yesterday, so I will allow this to happen to me.” If we closed the doors on faith for the future, any hope that things can turn out well for us, we would just stop existing. And that is not the way to live. The way to live is to forgive yourself. It doesn’t have to be difficult to do so. All it takes is changing your point of view and accepting yourself the way you are.

Here are 3 steps of a process that will help you to do just that.

  1. Imagine yourself as a child, maybe find an old picture of yourself. You might get very sentimental now by looking at the cute little girl or boy that just wanted to be loved and adored. If you feel like crying, cry. Let it all out.
  2. Write a letter as a protector to that child that was abused. You are an adult, and you will never abandon that child. Tell them that. Remember, you did the best you could as a child. There is nothing wrong in wanting to be loved and supported, those are human needs that should not be ignored. Don’t feel ashamed that you wanted to be hugged and cuddled, that you wanted to someone to play with and be nurtured. Acknowledge those needs and accept them.
  3. Imagine you are embracing this child. Talk to the image of yourself when you were little, listen to what they have to say, have patience, assure them that they are safe and that from now you won’t abandon them.

Above all, remember you were traumatized because you didn’t get what you needed when you were a child. Those that you believed were on your side, those that you trusted with love, they abandoned you, and even worse, didn’t provide love nor nurture you. Your job now is not to abandon yourself. That is the worst thing that you can do. And forgiving yourself for what you have been through is the most important part of the forgiveness process. You can forgive others, but if you don’t forgive yourself, you are still living in that trauma. Your little child deserves to be loved and appreciated, provided for, and protected.

Be there for yourself now, it is your turn.

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