Most think of forgiveness as letting someone else "off the hook." Some even believe that they are doing someone a favor by forgiving them. Such an idea might indicate feelings of releasing someone from punishment and guilt. You might also think that such a gesture will offer a reward. Understand that while forgiving others for the right reasons is both healthy and necessary to move forward in recovery, you also need to learn how to forgive yourself by letting yourself "off the hook."
It can be easy in early recovery to overlook the importance of self-forgiveness because you might carry a lot of resentment, guilt, and shame. However, forgiveness can set you free from the burden of judging yourself based on the person you once were. Separating yourself from the now and past events that might include victimization, guilt, and shame keeps you from trapping yourself within the confines of a somewhat mental prison. You chose sobriety, then chose recovery, and while challenging, a big part of this is bringing peace to your past through self-forgiveness.
RELEASING YOURSELF FROM THE PAST
Part of releasing yourself from thoughts of the past includes releasing others incorporated with those thoughts. Therefore, when you release another from your thought of guilt, you remove yourself and realize that you are a separate being that external events could have wounded. You free yourself from the belief that you are, or could be, the cause of another's hurt and suffering. You also release yourself from the thought that you resolve a linear chain of events you see as the past.
When you blame another or criticize their mistakes regardless of whether your perceptions are accurate, you are only hurting yourself. You reinforce a belief system of separation, guilt, victimization, and struggle in your mind and confining your awareness to the perception of suffering, disappointment, and lack.
DON'T FOCUS ON WHAT YOU DON'T LIKE
Every negative criticism, regardless of accuracy, is always a projection within your mind's eye. Thus over time, these projections can become exaggerated and even create false perceptions of yourself and the events happening in your life. These thoughts of anger and criticism restrict your mind's ability to feel love and joy. They also limit you from manifesting the ongoing creative flow of source toward expanding well-being. Focusing on what you don't like only ushers it into your life. Negative thoughts make you unhappy and continue to generate other unhappy feelings and experiences.
When you focus on what you can appreciate in yourself and others regardless of what you think you "deserve," it benefits your mental and physical health. Over time, you realize that you deserve love, appreciation, and acceptance in your life, especially from yourself. When you put appreciation before anything, you open your mind to feel love, joy, and acceptance.
Cultivating a positive outlook helps you realize certain truths about yourself. It is not about denying or repressing your experiences or darkness and negativity. It is instead a matter of re-interpreting those experiences. When you can re-interpret these experiences, you can see them as your feedback signal guiding you to change limiting beliefs that cast shadows in your mind.
GIVE AND RECEIVE
The thoughts that you extend forth to the world get reflected upon you. The quality of your state of mind also gets reflected upon you. When you can express appreciation and love for yourself, you can express these feelings to others and receive the same love and appreciation back. Understand that this only works when you truly transform from within; superficial thoughts and actions will not feel or look genuine.
Expressing appreciation for others is also not a practice to expect a reward every time you give; it is simply a way to express your thoughts and feelings healthily. Expressing such positive thoughts is a reward in itself. In this sense, forgiveness means letting go of all your reasons for not being appreciative or happy.
FREEING YOUR MIND
When you can free your mind from your perceptions of yourself and what you perceive what others think of you, you implicitly free your mind. You gain an understanding of yourself and others. Therefore, reserving judgment allows you to create a positive narrative that motivates you to heal, not harm. Such an approach and outlook provide wholeness and happiness of creativity and invulnerability. Plus, your vision of your truth and another's truth helps to awaken each of you to become more aware of yourself and your confidence and place in the world.
Forgiveness and learning how to let yourself "off the hook" is true freedom, unlike another. This does not mean that you dismiss your responsibility to yourself, others, and recovery, but instead, find understanding in the past to help create the truth about who you are today. At START UP RECOVERY, our focus is to re-establish the relationship you have with yourself and others. We work on helping you discover the confidence, motivation, and support you deserve to achieve your best success. Part of the process of transformation requires the ability to look into the past and forgive yourself. If you are carrying around guilt, shame, or resentment and are stuck as to what to do next, then the time to get help is today. START UP RECOVERY provides 24/7 admissions where you can reach out at any time. Find out more by calling START UP RECOVERY today at 310-773-3809.