By Blake D. Bauer //
Deep down we’re all good, loving people, and yet we all live with things that we’ve said or done that we struggle to forgive. Regardless of how bad, guilty, ashamed, angry or regretful we feel about past situations or decisions, we must eventually understand that each experience was ultimately awakening us to our true self and to the purpose of our lives. If we’ve unconsciously acted in ways that have caused ourselves or others pain, it’s always because we had lessons to learn so we could evolve and grow in a loving presence and awareness. The shame, guilt, anger and regret that we still feel and store subconsciously in our body hold jewels of wisdom that are waiting to teach us about what’s most important in life – about truth, honesty, forgiveness, acceptance and unconditional love.
If we do not open to forgiving the things in our past that we still feel shame, guilt, anger or regret around, then these aspects of our lives will stop us from finding lasting inner peace and happiness. The toxic emotions that are tied up with what remains unforgiven will drive us to create additional experiences in which we feel negatively about ourselves and our lives. We’ll continually create painful situations in the present until we realize that we’re destined to forgive ourselves and move forward with our lives.
Regardless of how bad we feel about past actions, we’re all capable and deserving of forgiveness. Each of us deserves to be forgiven for the pain we’ve caused other people, but we won’t be able to openly accept or receive this forgiveness until we understand why we acted in the ways we did. Even in situations where the person who feels hurt by our actions has not forgiven us, we can still forgive ourselves, face the guilt or shame, and grow from the experience. Everything that we do or experience in this life is meant for us to learn from, including what we perceive to be our mistakes. In fact, our so-called mistakes are actually the most important life lessons that we’ve needed to learn in order to grow in awareness, humility and compassion. If we truly want to heal and be happy, we need to understand the lessons inherent within the painful situations we’ve created, because this awareness is what eventually allows us to untie the knots of shame, guilt, anger and regret that are connected to these past experiences.
It can indeed be difficult to forgive ourselves when we’ve unintentionally hurt people we love or have loved deeply. Equally, it can be challenging to forgive ourselves when we’re being blamed for more than we’re actually responsible for in what’s become a painful situation. But at some point, regardless of how much suffering we’ve caused, or are perceived to have caused, we have to come to forgive ourselves, because our repressed feelings about the situation will not only hold us back and keep us miserable; they will also lead to toxicity in every cell of our body and every situation in our lives. Through forgiving ourselves we actually open the space for loving-kindness to shine through our thoughts, actions and spoken words, which is much better for the world than us being trapped in shame, guilt or regret. This is how we grow in wisdom and organically stop acting or reacting in unconscious ways that result in pain for ourselves or others.
Beyond forgiving ourselves for the pain we’ve caused other people, we must learn to forgive ourselves for the pain that is at the source of all the pain we’ve ever created in our lives. We must go back through each stage of our lives and forgive ourselves for compromising, betraying and hurting ourselves for the conditional love, acceptance, approval and support of other people. We must go back in time and forgive ourselves for neglecting who we truly are, because this pain that we’ve been inflicting upon ourselves since we were children is actually the underlying reason for all the pain we’ve ever created or allowed.
To find lasting inner peace, health and happiness we must eventually forgive ourselves for rejecting our true self to please others. We’re called to forgive ourselves for being so hard, so critical and so aggressive with ourselves. We have to forgive ourselves for making ourselves wrong and for running from our true feelings so regularly. This process only deepens, because we need to forgive ourselves for taking on external conditions as to ‘if’ and ‘when’ we’ll finally love ourselves in our entirety. We have to forgive ourselves for all the pain, confusion and frustration we’ve created for ourselves by living from a place of fear. Finally, we’re all challenged to accept, value, respect and be true to ourselves in every situation so we do not hurt ourselves any more, but rather create a healthy, happy and authentic life where there’s no longer anything to forgive.
The one master key to understanding how to forgive ourselves is this: do not hurt yourself again or allow yourself to be hurt by others. When you speak and act with kindness and honesty in each situation, you stop betraying yourself and you stop allowing yourself to stay in unhealthy situations. Then the loving truth behind your words and actions can heal past hurt from the inside out without being sabotaged by new self-created pain.
Excerpt from the international bestseller You Were Not Born To Suffer
About the Author
Blake D. Bauer is the author of the international bestselling book You Were Not Born To Suffer. He is a sought after wisdom teacher with an extensive background in psychology, alternative medicine, nutrition, traditional healing, mindfulness meditation, and qi gong. Based on both his personal experience overcoming deep suffering, addiction, and adversity, as well as his professional success with over 100,000 people worldwide, his pioneering work integrates what he’s found to be the most effective approaches to optimal mental, emotional and physical health.