Forgive Me Not: Self-Forgiveness
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Tonight I wanted to talk about self-forgiveness. I know many of us struggle with this, but we have to address it because there is a lot of emotional baggage that we carry that is associated with self-forgiveness. According to Dr. Fred Luskin, the director of The Stanford University Forgiveness Project, the biggest reason why we can’t forgive ourselves easily is because we burden ourselves with the memories daily. These mistakes replay over and over again in our brains, which can affect many areas in our lives. For starters, beginning a new relationship while we are still dealing with our guilt isn’t healthy for us or the relationship. Dr. Luskin states, “If you keep beating yourself up, then the person who tries to love you will beat you up too”. Think about that. It resonates some truth to me. Additionally, the mind and the body are connected, so by harboring guilt you are affecting your health. I.e. Higher cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce your ability to think straight, and tense your muscles. In extreme cases it can cause depression, suicide, and alcohol and drug abuse. Also, the article states, “you will be more withdrawn, more critical, and less open than you normally would” (Michaud, Ellen). Which means it affects your social life and how you are perceived. And last but not least, it doesn’t just affect you. Misery loves company, the people that you surround yourself with will also be affected by your somber mood. So that means the people you care about will feel miserable around you, and who wants that?
This is something that I’m going through currently; trying to forgive myself for my past mistakes. I don’t forgive people easily in general. So it’s especially difficult for me to forgive myself for things. I know that sounds strange but I believe that we are all harder on ourselves than we are on others. Well, most of the time. You and I both need to simmer down a little bit. Even though we are strong black women, we are still human beings. So forgive yourself for not being where you want to be in life. Forgive yourself for making that mistake three years ago that you’re still dealing with now. Forgive yourself for having that abortion. Whatever it is, forgive yourself. Let it go. Forgive yourself. & me too! Mind you, I’m no expert on the psychology of self-forgiveness or nothing like that, remember I only speak through my experience. But I did find an article that had some great tips on how to truly go about this, and begin to work on being a better us.
These are the main ideas I got from the article:
1. Stop Sulking in Your Mistakes and Regrets
don’t punish yourself for the rest of your life, take the time you need to cry, and wallow about your behavior but after that it’s time to put your big girl panties. As time goes on don’t dwell on the past. Instead focus your attention to something positive. Another alternative is to focus attention on your breathing. Whenever those memories began to arise in your mental, take deep breaths, breathing through your nose, holding, and then releasing through your mouth. Do this for 45 seconds, at the least.
2. These Are My Confessions…
-Be accountable and take responsibility for what you did. You do this by ACKNOWLEDGING what you have done. It is helpful to talk to a trusted confident about what you did, and how you feel about your actions or behaviors.
3. Make amends
-make it better, apologize, change your behavior. Say SORRY if you hurt someone!!! Be nicer, be kinder to you and whomever you have hurt.
4. Give Credit When Credit Is Due
-Focus on the things that you have done correctly. So instead of focusing on your past, focus on how you gave that homeless man a dollar when you got off the train, or how you were there for your friend during a tragic time.
I’m definetly going to use this to assist me and my growth. I hope this has helped. Let me know either way! MsNyquebrown@gmail.com
Link to article: Click HERE