Take mastering the ability to play the piano. If a child has a piano teacher that encourages that child by listening to his first feeble attempts to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” without criticizing him that his timing was off, or pointing out that he played three wrong notes, that child may feel encouraged to play it again and again until he has perfected the song. But, if the child is chastened for “playing by ear” or scolded for missing a few notes, that child may feel hesitant to “try and fail” rather than to build upon baby step achievements.
Forgiveness is a choice. It is a choice to relinquish judgement about oneself or another person. It is a choice to give ourselves or another person, the benefit of the doubt. It is to assume that people are essentially good and that even good people can make errors and wind up having a “sad experience.”
When we can move from a place of self-criticism, and adopt a spirit of merciful thinking, we will become healthier. We can make a new choice in any given moment to choose to live in peace, love and joy; simply because we choose to! We can choose to bid farewell to past hurts and lay the spirit of self-blame and self-doubt to rest once and for all.
Carol: So, the most important person to forgive initially is ourselves, right?
Karyn: Yes, the most important person to forgive, I believe, is ourself. We can choose to “reconcile” ourselves to God by openly and honestly admitting that we could have made a better choice; a choice that served ourselves and those we love, with far better consequences. We can ask for forgiveness from those who we have disappointed and we can choose to “right the wrong” by making recompense for what our lack of judgement cost another person.
We can choose to see others in a greater light. We can choose to comprehend that others are making “decisions” based on their perceptions of who they believe they are, rather than the beautiful Child of God that they truly are!
We form beliefs about ourselves, beliefs that originated oftentimes in childhood and our teen years. Beliefs about being “not good enough” that got anchored into our minds-brains-hearts with strong sinews that held us captive to those beliefs. These strong cords are called “Emotions.” So, if we feel like a failure at something, it is because the emotions of self-doubt have increased to such a degree, based on past seemingly “failed attempts” to “get it right,” that we give up and tell ourselves “It is futile. I can’t win! I have failed so many times in this area of my life; it’s now useless to try!”
Carol: Please continue…
Karyn: One of my favorite things to do is to look at people’s “Before” and “After” pictures. Going on a diet requires a change of heart as well as a change of mind. “Believing in oneself changes everything!” Upon one small successful step, we can gain a new perception of our ability to master ourselves, while we “lose” not only unnecessary pounds, but the negative self-concepts that go with those pounds.
Carol: Let’s go with that scenario/example. An exercise, maybe?
Karyn: If you want to try an exercise in forgiveness, in this example or case, start with forgiving yourself for making food choices that leave you feeling lethargic, heavy, bloated and sluggish. Forgive yourself for the years you have eaten heavy breakfasts that dull your senses and admit to yourself that you are now ready to choose “light and wholesome” food choices over “dark and heavy ones.” Forgive yourself for following your sense of pleasure and “full-filling” your appetites in order to comfort yourself. Make a new choice about what you really want to experience now! Change yourself talk and begin eliminating those negative voices in your head by speaking with absolute certainty, “I choose to eat food that makes me feel contented, satisfied, light, happy! I choose to be the master of my food choices! I release the old habits, based in beliefs that I made about myself and my self-image and embrace in my mind’s eye, the image I wish to project to the world now.”
Carol: Any additional tips Karyn?
1: Practice forgiving yourself first.
2: Practice forgiving yourself for something that you really are in judgement about yourself for.
3: Exclude the need to blame others for where you are.
4: Choose to become fully accountable for the belief you have created and bought into as well the decisions you continue to make based on that faulty belief. Believing in the negative only holds you hostage in the present, to those hurts, feelings and choices of the past.
Start with choosing one criteria to forgive because we must learn how freeing it is to feel “forgiven.” When we can truly forgive ourselves for something that we negate ourselves for, we will be prepared for the next step which is to forgive anyone else involved in the situation.
Carol: Great segway to now begin Part 2: forgiving others (even as we continue or as a part of our still forgiving ourselves).
Karyn: Yes. I agree.
Carol: Please continue Karyn. This is touching on many feelings, thoughts…
Karyn: Those who are hardest on themselves are sometimes those who are harsh with others. Learning the art of forgiveness blesses our own life and then begins sending out a ripple effect that blesses the lives of everyone else around us. As our hearts are lifted out of the despair of shame, blame and self-accusation, others will sense that our inner peace, love and joy is increasing. As we up the wattage on our ability to respect, honor and cherish ourselves, we will find that it is becoming easier to forgive those who may have trespassed against us.
Carol: There are those who think they have nothing to forgive.
Karyn: Some may think they have nothing to forgive. I remember when I found my older sister crying one day. I asked her what “was the matter?” She said: “I don’t like this family!” She wailed. “Why not?” I questioned her. “Because nobody in this family lets me ever turn over a new leaf!” She sobbed her little heart out. I didn’t quite know what that meant at the time. So I walked outside and found a leaf on the tree in the front yard. I brought it to her as a gift, trying to show my ten year old compassion. “Here….” I said quietly and turned the leaf over as I placed it in her hands. “I will! I will help you turn over a new leaf!”