Self-forgiveness and Shame

Shame holds us down and makes it hard for us to see beyond our faults. But it doesn’t have to. Like I said last week, You are not a mistake, you just make mistakes.

There is a reason this blog is grace filled loved. Extend grace to not only yourself, but others. It starts with forgiveness. It’s about not blaming yourself. It’s about stopping the feelings of anger. Forgiving yourself isn’t an easy process. It takes work.

A few years ago I wrote up this handout about self-forgiveness for one of my clients.  The steps listed below are from an article The Healthy Way to Forgive Yourself (greatergood.berkeley.edu).

  • Don’t get rid of guilt.
  • Own up.
  • Pay your dues.
  • Foster empathy for the victim.

So what do these steps mean? Accept responsibility for your actions. It’s natural and health to feel bad for what you have done. Admit you made a mistake. Have a realistic view of yourself. If you have a balanced realistic view of yourself it’s easier to cope and not tie your self-worth with your actions.

Remember that forgiveness does not equate to no consequences. Paying your dues may be making amends in someway. Don’t forget about the people your choices impacted. It’s so easy to lose sight of that when you start forgiving yourself, but that could lead you right back into a similar situation. Be humble when you forgiveness yourself.

It’s easy on paper to forgive yourself and others. The act of actually do it is difficult. But the more you forgive, the easier it becomes.

Remember that your words have power. If you let shame consume you, say that you are worthless, or something else along those lines, people will start to see you like that. If you say that you have worth, others will see it. I know that you have worth. You have value. Remember that for yourself.

Next week I will tell you about how shame has impacted me. I will talk to you then, lovelies.

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