The Importance of Self-Forgiveness - Kamini Wood

The Importance of Self-Forgiveness

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Forgiveness involves deliberately choosing to let go of feelings of resentment, guilt, and shame, and release ourselves and others out of debt. 

The importance of forgiveness lies in its benefits to our psychological well-being, physical health, and relationships. Research shows that choosing to forgive consciously allows us to make peace with the past and move on. As such, self-forgiveness and forgiveness can ease anxiety, reduce the risk of depression, help let go of negative emotions, and improve your relationships. 

Forgiveness is an Act of Self-Acceptance

Forgiveness of Self quote

Forgiveness of self is a vital process associated with good mental health. However, there is a significant difference between being accountable for your words and actions and blaming yourself.

Taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors doesn’t mean beating yourself up for what you said or did. Accepting your mistakes and understanding common humanity can help you forgive yourself and make better choices in the future.

Self-forgiveness requires you to accept those parts of yourself that you previously considered unacceptable – forgiveness of self involves understanding the difference between guilt and shame and overcoming your shame. 

We all experience self-critical thoughts when we do something wrong. However, if you let your inner critic get out of hand, healthy self-criticism may turn into self-blame, damaging your well-being.

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The Difference Between Guilt and Shame

Understanding common humanity means accepting that, as humans, we are not perfect. We make mistakes, harming ourselves and others. 

Therefore, grasping the difference between guilt and shame is essential for the self-forgiveness process and healing. 

Guilt stems from our awareness that we have done something wrong. As such, guilt can help you take responsibility for yourself by allowing you to understand your flaws and wrong choices. Guilt motivates you to improve. 

On the other hand, shame boils down to a feeling that there is something wrong at your core. It makes you feel bad about yourself as a person. As such, shame causes feelings of fault and worthlessness, often causing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

The Importance of Self-Compassion

Overcoming shame and replacing it with self-compassion can help you surmount negative thinking patterns, overcome self-judgment, and let go of the past. 

Only when you make peace with your thoughts, choices, and shame-provoking experiences, the process of self-forgiveness can begin. 

Self-compassion means treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer to a loved one. It can help you let go of negative thinking patterns and self-judgment. Self-acceptance is the root of self-forgiveness, inspiring your personal growth and helping you heal.

An essential aspect of self-compassion is understanding common humanity that can help you perceive yourself as a part of the shared human experience of imperfection. 

As such, self-compassion can help you let go of feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness, and anger. It improves self-acceptance and helps silence the inner critic that hinders your healing process. Self-compassion permits you to forgive yourself and others, let go of the painful experience and move on.

The Benefits of Forgiving Yourself

The choice to forgive yourself empowers you to take responsibility for your words and behaviors. It allows you to stop perceiving yourself as a wrongdoer or a victim. 

Once you abandon the view of yourself as a wrongdoer, you will regain self-confidence and start believing in yourself again.

With the help of self-compassion, you will feel empowered to mindfully observe your thoughts and feelings of anger, hurt, depression, shame, guilt, and self-blame, acknowledge these feelings, and then let go of them let go of them. 

Through the process of self-forgiveness, you will earn to identify negative thoughts and emotions and replace them with compassion, empathy, and love for yourself.  

How to Forgive Yourself?

1) Reflect on Your Feelings

To be able to forgive yourself, you need to mindfully focus on your feelings of resentment, guilt, and shame first. Consciously acknowledging these emotions and your self-beating thoughts without judgment can help switch from blaming to understanding yourself. 

Journaling can be a helpful tool in identifying negative thought patterns that generate distress and developing self-compassion. Expressive writing can help you deep-dive into your emotions, helping you understand reasons for your behaviors and choices in the past. It can improve your mood, help boost self-esteem, and alleviate anxiety.

Quick Journaling Tip: on one side of a paper, write down your self-criticizing thoughts. On the other side of the paper, write self-compassionate messages as a response to each negative thought.

2) Accept Accountability

Face what has happened and accept responsibility for it. As humans, we can self-forgive, forgive and heal. However, to forgive yourself, you need to take responsibility for yourself and your choices.

Don’t batter yourself for mistakes, but accept them as learning experiences and opportunities for growth. 

Feelings of guilt and remorse are normal and healthy when you have done something wrong. These emotions can help you take responsibility for your words and actions. Accepting responsibility may be the hardest step in the self-forgiveness process. However, it is a necessary step in letting go of negative emotions and moving on.

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3) Restore and Repair

Furthermore, make amends to restore damage and repair trust, if possible. Accept the possibility that the other side may not be ready to forgive you. However, repairing damage and restoring trust are essential parts of forgiveness, even if you are forgiving yourself. 

Forgiveness of self should promote a personal shift from self-blame to increased responsibility. It is a process of letting go of negative thoughts, shame, guilt, and self-blame and moving toward greater responsibility.

If we stay in a place of negativity, we are in a constant state of pain. And when consistently in that place of pain, we end up in a state overwhelm, which is not healthy. Ready to step outside of the self-critical world into what is possible?  Book a time to speak with me

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