Self-Forgiveness as a Spiritual Practice

Many of our religious and spiritual practices include the concept of forgiving others of whom we perceive as having wronged us in some way. Forgiveness is not necessarily for the benefit of the other person, per se, but for our own well being. When we forgive others, we are able to have closure and receive a sense of peace. The true art of forgiveness may benefit the relationship by creating more depth and connection through our own vulnerability. Yet, at other times, the relationship is ruptured beyond repair. This creates the imperative to forgive for our own healing process and to say goodbye to the relationship.

The flip side of the same coin is: what if I have been the one to have caused harm to another? This is often unintentional and, at times, intentional. In both instances, your “shadow” side may be taking a strike at the other person out of protection. During these moments, the offended person may choose not to forgive you and decide to end the relationship. You may be left with feelings of guilt, shame, powerlessness, self blame, and sorrow. There can be a sense of not being able to fix this and have closure. We generally have the belief that we need the other person to forgive us in order to move on. When this does not occur, grief may increase knowing there is no relief in sight.

The spiritual practice of Self-Forgiveness is needed, especially during these times in our lives. We are all human and make mistakes. These are incredible opportunities for our personal and spiritual growth. I have found these steps of Self-Forgiveness to be helpful during these painful moments in our lives.

Take full responsibility. Taking full responsibility for the harm you have done to the relationship will encourage personal growth. No more blaming the other person. This is a place of true honesty with yourself. It is the very first step in recovering. This step takes great courage.

Self-Awareness. Explore your inner world to begin to recognize and deal lovingly towards your protective parts that created the disruption in the relationship. Understand these parts are protecting vulnerable areas within ourselves, often our wounded inner child. Who needs attention from you? This is deep spiritual healing work.

Choose. You must make a choice to say the words I forgive myself. And you must believe it. It may seem simple after the first two steps, and in reality, it is a potent intention. We empower ourselves to release the pain. We keep the knowledge of ourselves and the life lesson going forward.

Choosing to forgive ourselves is a great act of compassion. Our compassion towards ourselves will radiate out into the world towards others. You will experience peace, joy, and humility. Your vibrational energy will rise. There are so many benefits to Self-Forgiveness. I have come to learn that healing is truly from the inside out.

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