How to forgive yourself, and others

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Forgiveness
To err is human; to forgive, divine ~ Alexander Pope, 1711

If you’ve never made a mistake, you’ve never made a decision. And in startupland, you’re going to make mistakes, Lots of them. That’s OK, if you learn from them, and don’t repeat them.

Can you forgive yourself for errors, and others?

Forgiveness is one of those concepts that most of the population struggle to embed and incorporate into their lives, writes Lisa Sarayeldin.

Unfortunately, forgiveness is an idea that she says is misunderstood and not recognised as a solution to many problems.

What Is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the ability to consciously let go of any feelings associated with anger, rage or resentment towards a situation or person.

It is the act of surrendering to and accepting your reality and removing any guilt, pain, and hate you have for yourself and others. Forgiveness does not mean endorsing, welcoming or excusing behaviour, nor requires you to reconcile broken relationships. Instead, it is a powerful tool that, if applied correctly, opens the door to ease, flow, love and light.

Why Is It Hard To Forgive?

For many people, forgiveness is difficult to integrate, as it means soul searching, digging deep, and healing a wound that seems unrepairable. As a result, it requires confronting issues that have caused discomfort, which most people would rather avoid.

Additionally, it demands accepting personal responsibility for one’s thoughts and feelings, a difficult task given that it is easier to blame others for misfortune. Most believe that forgiveness means letting people off easily for their wrongdoings; however, holding onto pain does not hurt anyone other than the one unable to forgive. The unforgiving also believe that the longer they remain angry at a person, the more likely the other person will change. Which, in reality, is not the case.

Releasing and letting go of erroneous thoughts and emotions involves removing all judgements. However, eliminating such views is not naturally or ardently desired, as they are widely used and accepted throughout a lifetime. It is common to be raised and modelled with judgemental and critical thought patterns, which, unfortunately, become the norm of many thinking habits.

When we judge another, we create opinions and assumptions on how a situation or person should or should not be. During this time, we move away from our own business and invest time and energy into the lives of others. This distraction generates tension and uneasy feelings within our bodies, making it harder to think clearly and forgive those around us.

In addition, we believe the reactions of others are personal attacks towards us, and although it may seem like this on a surface level, it is not the case. All behaviours of others have nothing to do with anyone other than the person performing the actions. Instead, they are an indication of what one is feeling on the inside. As many do not have this perception, they find it hard to let go and forgive those around them. This vicious cycle of doom results in people losing the courage and confidence to handle situations effectively.

Why is forgiveness important?

To see real change in your life and results, you need to remove the blockages in your body, and to do that, you need to let go of the anger and the pain. To let go of these, you must be willing and ready to extricate yourself from the negative thoughts and feelings directed at yourself and others. And the first place to begin this cleanse is with you.

Forgiving another requires self-forgiveness, not just for some circumstances and reactions but for all of them. If you do not learn to forgive yourself, feelings of guilt, hostility and shame will continuously appear. And for anyone who has experienced these emotions, you will know that these feelings are not healthy, appropriate and sustainable. Self-guilt is a useless emotion that does not serve you nor anyone around you. It has no purpose and simultaneously obstructs the gap for personal growth.

Although these erroneous emotions may please your ego for a short time, they will also amplify stress and manifest more of the same scenarios in your life. To forgive yourself and remove self-made judgements, shift your attention from the problem and place it on learning. Spend less time and energy on what you did or thought and more time on the messages behind the situation. No amount of thinking and worrying will change the past or support you in your current state.

Therefore, discover the lessons within the experience, and find the learnings behind the scene. This does not mean dismissing your reactions; it means taking responsibility and using your present time to create awareness to choose better responses. If this consciousness is not developed, similar conditions will continue to arise. However, once you can forgive yourself and remove feelings that do not contribute to your development, you will be receptive to forgiving others.

In each person’s life, mistakes will be made, and pain will be caused. This is a part of the human experience. And throughout these moments, we each have performed actions that we are not proud of, nor would we want to be judged or remembered by. Therefore, we must keep this in mind when we see or hear things that others are doing (or not doing) that we do not agree with.

We do not have the right to judge anyone or remain angry for the wrongdoings of others, as each person is on their journey and life path. Again to reinforce, this does not mean condoning or agreeing with the reactions of others; it means not taking on the behaviour of others and making it part of your life and business. When you can completely forgive another, you open the doorway for love, flow and serenity, to move freely through your mind, body and soul.

Things To Remember

Always remember that the reactions of others are not a personal attack towards you, nor are they ever about you. Rather, they reflect the thoughts and emotions of the one performing the actions. So instead of sending them negative or ill thoughts, choose to send them well wishes, even if you do not agree with their behaviour.

Look within and constantly ask yourself-

  • What is the scenario saying about me?
  • Why am I getting upset in this situation?
  • Why do these particular circumstances bother me?
  • What can I learn from this experience?

Remove judgements. Individuals are doing the best they can according to the circumstances of their current situation, and with the mindset and habits, they have.

Choose to remain in control of yourself and let go of feelings that do not serve or support you for your highest good.

You will not be free of resentment and worry until you forgive yourself and others.

Forgiveness starts and ends with you.

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Author – Lisa Sarayeldin works for Western Sydney University as an Education and Program Support Officer, on a part-time basis. She has just finished writing a book on personal development and growth, which is currently sitting with an editor. She contacted Startup News to publish the above article.