5 Dimensions of Self Forgiveness


Photo: berlinetapes

Editors Note: This article is written by Tina Su. She is the CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) at Think Simple Now, a personal development site focused on simplicity, clarity, self-empowerment, motivation and happiness. You can read more about Tina and her mission here.

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love.
In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness”
— Robert Muller

Popular personal development strategies are known for using tools to achieve goals, techniques to success, and ways to become financially independent. If we really focus on these topics, you will find that they are all trying to lead you down the same path; the path to happiness. A happiness filled with fulfillment, purpose and peace. In my own experience, I have found that I was missing something. And the tool missing from my toolkit was forgiveness, particularly in forgiving myself. We tend to be our own toughest critics, which results in unnecessary self guilt plaguing our minds. Since beginning to practice forgiveness regularly, I have noticed a shift in my mental attitude and clarity. I feel better about myself. I feel genuinely happier.

I practice forgiveness as part of my ‘gratitude diet’; a dedicated moment each week where I list out everything I feel grateful for. Afterwards, I list everything I forgive myself for, during the last week. I like to build my lists on paper. Once I’ve listed all items that I forgive myself for, I write freely; offering any additional thoughts I may have. The process is deeply rejuvenating and rewarding.

I quickly realized that we are not always aware that we need to forgive ourselves. It almost becomes a subconscious roadblock, keeping us away from the things we are truly seeking; happiness.

Give yourself time to forgive burdens in your life. The following five areas that you should relate in your ‘forgiveness diet’.

1. Our physical bodies – Everyone I know, even the most physically attractive people, have at some point labeled themselves as ‘ugly’. There will always be at least one feature that they physically disliked about themselves. Too short, too tall, too bony, too fat, too skinny, short legs, big nose, small eyes, thinning hair, zits, etc.

· In Your Gratitude Diet

Be thankful for each body part. Take a moment to imagine your life if you did not have that body part. Consider that there are people in more unfortunate situations than yourself. Imagine how difficult your life will be without it. I like to practice giving thanks to every part of my body for everything it provides me, for keeping me alive and giving me the opportunity to enjoy my wonderful life.

2. Our intelligence and learned abilities – Out of moments of frustration or under pressure, have you ever called yourself ‘stupid’? Maybe you haven’t, but I have. I am guilty of this. I have seen this most often with non-technical people dealing with technology. People tend to blame themselves and attribute a failure to their own intelligence. It sounds silly, yet it is so easy to fall into the trap.

· In Your Gratitude Diet

Focus on your gifts. We are all gifted in our own unique ways. We all contribute to this world differently. Write out all things you are good at.

· If you are frustrated, recognize there may be other things contributing to your frustration:

i. You are tired. Please take breaks. Rest.

ii. You are dehydrated. Drink water

iii. You are a newbie. See the progress you are making in learning something new. You are one step closer to mastering a new skill.

3. Our productivity (or lack of activity) – Can you recall looking back at your day and realizing that you didn’t do anything productive? And then, you kicked yourself for it? Again, I am guilty of this. I have seen other people close to me do this, too. This guilt can serve as a form of motivation for some, but more often it just builds a debt of bad energy. I believe there are better ways to motivate ourselves.

· In Your Gratitude Diet

Spend a few minutes in silence; close your eyes and focus on your breath. Take this moment to center yourself and reflect on what you learned today. I believe there are lessons to be learned in every moment of everyday. Seek and ye shall find. Even a seemingly unproductive day can carry valuable lessons.

· Create a plan each day for small achievable tasks towards a goal. Make sure to follow through on your plan of achievable and measurable mini-goals. It’s important to set realistic and clearly measurable goals. Set yourself up for success with small achievable tasks.

4. Bad habits –
We all have habits in our daily lives that we aren’t particularly proud of. Do you feel guilty each time you are reminded of a habit? This is self-imposed mental punishment. Not only does the punishment not feel good, but it also doesn’t help to rid ourselves of the habit. What are your habits? I constantly have to forgive myself for going to bed late and sleeping in; or getting lost for hours in my email inbox; or not getting physical exercise.

· In Your Gratitude Diet

Forgive yourself for the bad habits. First, stop labeling them as bad habits. Call them habits you are working to replace with new habits. Work on one habit at a time. Create a weekly plan with achievable goals, and then follow through. Make the goals achievable.

· Dan Millman once said (paraphrasing from a seminar I attended), “If you got up to do a jumping-jack each morning, that’s considered exercise. Do this everyday and you will form an exercise habit. The most important practice is to create the habit. Once you’ve established the routine, do two jumping-jacks. See? You’ve just doubled your exercise efficiency.” It’s a great way to look at replacing a new habit.

5. Failing to keep in touch – I watched people beat themselves up for failing to keep in touch with friends and relatives. “What? He had a second baby? Oh gosh, I thought you were referring to his first baby. I better give him a call. I feel so guilty for not keeping in touch.” I sometimes feel so guilty for failing to call my mom and dad. I’d call them, but out of guilt rather than really wanting to hear from them. I would get so concerned with releasing the guilt, that I’d miss the real point for calling in the first place. Can you relate?

· In Your Gratitude Diet

Schedule a time to connect with that old friend, or drop them a quick email to say hi. Be present; connect with ourselves first before connecting with a loved one. Remember the purpose of connecting with them, to exchange and share the joys of your life; an opportunity to connect at the soul.

Remember to be kind to ourselves. Forgiveness will help us love ourselves more. It gives us greater capacity to truly love others with openness and compassion.

What do you want to forgive yourself for? Share with us in the comments. See you there!

Posted by in Personal Development | November 26, 2007 | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumble | Print | 5 comments

  • http://lifelearningtoday.com K Stone

    Nice job Tina! It’s always so good to be reminded to review how good our life is…that for many it is worse. It’s always time to count our blessings.

  • http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com Stephen Hopson


    There you are again! I keep finding you all over the place. You are the latest sensation in the blogging world and I welcome you with open arms. Loved this article, particuarly #3 about lack of productivity. I am guilty of beating myself up over this. Your suggestion of closing my eyes, taking a deep breath and taking a moment to center myself was a great one. Keep writing!

  • http://thinksimplenow.com Tina Su – Think Simple Now

    Thanks for mentioning my post here. Much appreciated and encouraging.

    Thanks for your comment with open heart.

    Love & Gratitude,
    Think Simple Now. ~ Clarity & Happiness

  • Pingback: A Guide to Happiness via Self Forgiveness | ThinkSimpleNow.com()

  • http://www.misterinfo.de/users/erichansa erichansa

    Thank you for your informaitons.