How to Truly Forgive Yourself

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  • sad_womanWhat would happen if you were to realize that everything you have done is just a part of the natural unfolding of life, and that it is forgivable?  What would it be like if you forgave yourself for all of it?

    I have been reading the book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, and I want to share this inspirational excerpt about forgiveness:

    “What if I forgave myself?  I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have?  What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do?  What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done?  What if I’d actually wanted to fuck every one of those men? What if heroin taught me something?  What if yes was the right answer instead of no?  What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here?  What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?”

    The realization that we have already been forgiven by life is a beautiful way to live.  So much of awakening is learning to relax into the process, even if it is different from our mind’s idea or other people’s idea of what we should be doing.  As we learn to trust that life is living through us, we become more and more willing to just relax into the process and forgive ourselves.  It is important to understand that forgiveness is not about saying I did something wrong (or you did something wrong) and now it is okay.  That is the dualistic ego’s version of forgiveness.  True forgiveness is allowing things to be exactly as they were, are, and will be.  Forgiveness is not something we need to do as much as it is something that we already are.  When a challenge shows up in my life, I have learned to say, “Oh this is what life is offering.  Everything belongs here.  No need to make it any different than it is.”

    Opening to forgiveness of ourselves and others helps us realize that life is fleeting and this moment is the only moment that matters because it is all we have.  As life unfolds, know that every moment is a precious moment in your life.  When you are sitting on the toilet, it is a precious moment.  When you are waiting in line at the grocery store, it is a precious moment.  Even if you just received a diagnosis of cancer, it is a precious moment.  See if you can meet the moment without any story.  The mind is a useful tool for maneuvering through our lives, but it is also a storyteller.  It was never meant to be in charge, but we have given it the impossible task of being in control of life.  Most of us hold on tightly, trying to make life be as we think it should be, resisting what we don’t want because we are caught up in the illusion of control.  Yet, forgiving ourselves and relaxing into life is an invitation to let go.  There is something wonderful that happens when you soften out of the world of control enough to see that life is taking care of you every step of the way.

    Think of a time when you beat yourself up because your mind believed you had done something wrong.  Now open to forgiving yourself for that imagined transgression and tell yourself that it is just life unfolding, that everything you have ever done or not done has brought you to this moment.  How does that feel?

    Mary O'Malley

    Mary O’Malley is an author and counselor in Kirkland, Washington. In the early 1970’s, a powerful awakening set Mary on the path to changing her whole relationship with the challenges of life, freeing herself from a lifelong struggle with darkness. Since that time, Mary has taught extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Denmark. She is an inspirational speaker who leads retreats that transform people’s lives, provides individual counseling, and offers ongoing groups where people can come together to experience the miracle of Awakening. Her strengths lie in her ability to be fully present in the moment, integrating information, technique and insight with simplicity and compassion. Mary is committed to helping people heal their inner wars, so they can become a part of the healing of our planet. She does so by drawing on her own life experience to facilitate healing and awakening in a compassionate and powerful way. Mary’s books, which are endorsed by Eckhart Tolle and Neale Donald Walsch, include: What’s In the Way IS the Way: Moving Beyond Your Struggle into the Joy of Being Fully AliveThe Gift of Our Compulsions: A Revolutionary Approach to Self-Acceptance and HealingBelonging to Life: The Journey of Awakening; and The Magical Forest of Aliveness: A Tale of Awakening.

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