Emotional / physical / verbal abuse.
All undeniably repentant choices and actions.
Are we all untouched by the influence of these at some level? Highly unlikely.
Let me be perfectly clear: I have never encountered a single soul, in my entire life, that hasn’t made choices that now, they deeply regret.
I myself have, at some time, participated in almost all of the above.
Some of the people I love, adore and respect the most, are the ones who have gone to their darkest depths, tasted the deepest of their sins, and then turned around, and have chosen love and light, instead. They include prostitutes and philanderers, heroin and cocaine addicts, alcoholics, drug dealers, liars, cheaters and sneaks. In my life, they have shown up as friends, lovers, teachers, boss’ and clients.
Some of them have left that part of their lives behind completely. Others haven’t quite finished learning their lessons yet. But their light, nonetheless, shines bright.
What I know is this: only people in pain, make choices that are painful. Every choice, every action, every word, is a reflection of what is going on inside. And the people who get hurt the most? Are the ones who make those choices.
It requires complete honesty, with yourself to change.
You have to ask yourself:
Why am I doing this?
What’s the driving force?
What am I getting out of this?
How does it serve me, or those around me?
If things could be different, how would they be?
And when you are ready to change, that is when you face the hardest part: forgiving yourself.
It’s hard because, it is likely that you don’t believe your deserve forgiveness (self-deprecation and lack of self-love are the main reasons those shameful choices were made in the first place). And punishing yourself has become your norm. But there is a way.
4 ways to forgive yourself when you’ve done things that you’re truly and deeply ashamed of.
1. In every moment, you are new.
You are not the same individual you were, 10 years ago, 1 year ago, a month ago, a week ago, or even 15 minutes ago. In every moment you are new. You are always growing, learning and changing. In every moment you can choose to make a new choice. You can choose to show up differently.
Let go of the past, in every moment, by practicing presence. When you are in the present moment, all that exists, all that matters, all that is meaningful, is what and who and where you are, right now.
2. Know that you are deserving.
What will it take, right now, for you for you to know, with every cell of your body, that you deserve forgiveness? That you deserve all the good that you wish for and dream of, in this world?
As Danielle LaPorte so eloquently says: Believing in your implicit worth liberates you.
But how? How? How do I believe that I am deserving when I don’t believe that I am, indeed deserving?
This is how: Prove it to yourself. Declare it to yourself. Convince yourself of it with every action, every choice, and every word you utter, from hereon. Decide that you’re ready to taste the fruits of you deepest sorrows, for they are sweeter and fuller than those of someone who has not felt your woes.
3. Change your interpretation.
Everything in life is subject to our interpretation of it. We give things meaning, and based on that meaning we decide how we feel about it. Forgiveness means that you can interpret your choices with a different perspective.
This doesn’t mean that what you have done is totally okay. What it means is that you have learned from it, and are compassionate of the being you once were, when you made that choice, and acknowledge that that isn’t who you are now.
We can decide that we are bad, evil and cruel based on our past. Or we can decide that we were young, in pain, reactive and immature, making the best choices we knew how, and now… Now we know better.
4. Commit to yourself.
We are often waiting for life to give us what we want. We ask for change. We ask for things to be different. But it all starts here. You have to commit to yourself to stop hurting yourself. To change. To love yourself implicitly. To treat yourself, like the precious soul that you are. Make a commitment to yourself, to be who you want to be. Renew your commitment every day. Keep making new commitments, until the things you’ve done in the past, are a fraction of who you once were.
You might subconsciously believe that, holding on to the past, instead of letting go and forgiving yourself; thereby continuing to punish yourself for those choices that you feel truly and deeply ashamed of; means that you won’t make those same mistakes again. This notion, however, is completely untrue.
Remember, what you focus on, you attract.
Instead, trust that you have learned your lesson, and forgive yourself by giving you permission to completely let go. It is at this point, when you fully let go, that your life will turn around, and you will start attracting all the good that you want to manifest with grace, love and ease.