Most of us can look back on our lives and can find one or two situations that have caused us shame. Cheating in a relationship, backstabbing a friend, and lying are just a few I can think of off the top of my head. Depending on the severity of the circumstance, this shame can stay with us our entire lives and can predict our successes and our failures.
Whether we know it or not, this shame or guilt is that little voice in the back of our minds telling us we are not worth it, not good enough. It is from this negative way of thinking that we sub-consciously start dictating what we believe we deserve, depending on the level of shame. For example: I cheated on my partner, I don’t deserve love, or I stole from my best friend I don’t deserve to be successful. To many of my readers this may seem like a foreign concept, but instead of finding forgiveness and moving on, many of us are punishing ourselves for mistakes of the past.
Why is it that we feel the need to continue to punish ourselves over and over for something that we did years ago. The hardest part about being human is admitting that we are human, and we make mistakes. Forgiveness of a friend or spouse can come easy for some depending on the transgression, so why is it so hard to forgive ourselves? I myself am guilty of this way of thinking as well, and everyday I have to convince myself that I am worthy. Worthy of a wonderful husband, of a career I love, of anything good that comes my way.
As I tell my clients, forgiveness is not about condoning what has been done but is about release and letting go. It is about freedom, it doesn’t matter if it is forgiveness of others or of our self. Mistakes are made so we may learn from them. Don’t let the shame of the past predict what you deserve in life.