If we are all professionals in one specific thing, it would be the art of giving ourselves a hard time. When doling out punishments for transgressions, we are typically much harsher on ourselves than others. Marianne Williamson— a notable author— has described forgiveness as “a selective remembering…a conscious decision to focus on love and let the rest go.” Where is the self-leniency we deserve?
Remaining in a cycle of self-criticism and refusing to dig yourself out of the hole brings forth no progress. Having the wherewithal to practice acceptance and make a conscious decision to learn from mistakes is the only way to propel forward.
The concept is similar to planting. The hole placed inside us cannot heal unless the seed— the seed of forgiveness— is planted to grow strong and beautiful. But don’t let the wound reopen with forces that are known to break us down.
The mind enjoys making things seem worse or more difficult than they really are. Self-resentment and criticism over a long period of time can suppress the immune system and lead to the development of chronic diseases. That fact alone provides strong evidence that forgiveness is a healthy behavior!
When your mind arrives at a shaming destination, try repeating the following mantras to yourself:
“There are many ways that I have hurt and harmed myself. I have betrayed or abandoned myself many times through thought, word, or deed, knowingly or unknowingly.
For the ways I have hurt myself through action or inaction, out of fear, pain and confusion, I now extend a full and heartfelt forgiveness. I forgive myself, I forgive myself.”
When you can adjust your perspective, you can achieve serenity. There is enough chaos and hardship in the world without us creating our own. Forgive yourself, for health’s sake!