I have a lot of friends who say they want to let go of the past, but can’t seem to find the strength to forgive themselves. I was stuck here for a long time, and in some parts of my development I still am.
The most important essence of forgiveness for me is that it does not mean that you are excusing or co-signing bad behaviour or harm caused to you. It is simply letting go of the power it holds over you. It is cutting a negative cord to the past, releasing a force held over you, and giving yourself space to grow. My greatest peace has come from forgiveness, and in forgiving myself I have been able to create a foundation to correct behaviours, apologise appropriately, and do better next time. Forgiving myself makes me more loving and tolerant, as I show it to myself, I show it to others. I hold myself and others to a reasonable standard. I do not berate myself, or others, for not meeting unrealistic expectations.
We are imperfect humans. Sober or not, we will make mistakes – and that is where the work happens. It’s ok to forgive yourself and treat yourself with compassion. We can even find a language of self-compassion we have never experienced before.
What are ways you can forgive yourself for the things you did when you didn’t know any better?
Two tiny things:
- Write a little letter to your inner child, granting them forgiveness and offering them acceptance.
- Ask for help with something today.