What if we could accept that our value has nothing to do with who we are or what we do and everything to do with the fact that we simply exist?
I had a great therapist in Boston who always said, “Guilt is a useless feeling.” There’s no redemption offered by guilt; it just makes us feel like shit about ourselves. He used to say that at least with feelings of remorse there is an opportunity to take action, to make a choice to change so we do not repeat the mistake. Guilt is debilitating because there is nowhere to go with it other than self-punishment.
We talk a lot about forgiveness when it comes to relationships with others, but how often do we look at what we need to forgive in ourselves? When we block forgiveness for ourselves it often leads to guilt. We all know the feeling, the tightening up of the heart, the sick feeling in the stomach. Having nasty conversations with ourselves about ourselves. Wash, rinse repeat. Guilt soon begets shame. And then we hide. We conceal the truest parts of us. Some of us have been carrying burdens of guilt for years.
I lived here for years too. Berating myself, believing that I was a bad, unworthy fuck up and no amount of anyone telling or showing me they loved me could convince me otherwise. I denied myself the beautiful experience of truly embracing my amazing, imperfect self. I denied others the beautiful experience of truly seeing my amazing, imperfect self. I robbed myself of the experience of true intimacy. I did not believe anyone could love me because I did not believe I was lovable.
Loving myself so much that I am willing to forgive myself quickly is not selfish. It’s actually the exact opposite.
As we begin to open up to self-forgiveness, burdens start to release. There is a little more space, a little more light. To my friends out there who believe the “woo stuff,” I experience this as an opportunity to invite in more Source energy, which is love. I cannot both expand into that love and cling to self-hatred.
Giving myself grace is not letting myself off the hook. Loving myself so much that I am willing to forgive myself quickly is not selfish. It’s actually the exact opposite. When we do not believe we are worthy we inevitably find ways to reject (sabotage, avoid) true love. Living in self-forgiveness and releasing shame has allowed for me to actually look at, start to like and even love the perfectly imperfect being that I am. I have opened my heart to others and I have a daily experience of being completely loved by my inner circle.
We as a society, and especially us depressives, need to realize that we have more control over our feelings than we are led to believe and not vice versa. Yes, it is easier said than done, but it is not impossible. There are so many factors that impact us emotionally, many of which we cannot control, but we can consciously choose the lens through which we experience life. I can make a mistake and instantly regret it and in that same holy moment choose to forgive myself. I can observe a feeling of guilt or shame start to float up and choose to reject the false belief that I am a useless piece of shit. I can cling to and affirm my truth I am loved, I am supported and that my value is intrinsic in my very existence based on nothing that I do or do not do. In cultivating a lifestyle of love, the circle will never complete unless it starts and ends with loving (and forgiving) yourself.
Gabrielle Bernstein gave a beautiful talk on this, SO JUICY! — “How to Forgive Yourself Fast” by GB — https://youtu.be/1rakxPNI7_c