We all know how the guilt we carry in our lives can feel like a weight around our neck, slowing us down and keeping us from moving forward. Guilt causes stress and stress causes all kinds of physical illness.
But imagine a gift that can increase self-esteem, reduce stress and can be given to anybody. Imagine a gift that can lift spirits, enliven inspiration and even ignite passions. This ideal gift is not found by shopping online or at the mall or within the catalogues mounting in your mailbox. It is not something that fits into a bag or in a box, and it provides a feeling of warmth more fitting than a personalized pair of socks.
What is this perfect gift? It is a gift you give yourself – the gift of forgiveness. By being forgiving of yourself, you can then accept yourself and be more responsible for your life choices. Self-forgiveness is the willingness to believe that you are worthy of love, respect and great successes. There are dangers when we fail to forgive–dangers that have the potential to limit our relationships with others and ourselves. A failure to forgive yourself has the same consequences as a failure to forgive others. It can result in emotional bondage, uneasiness in your spirit and a cloud of uncertainty about all your relationships.
6 signs you are stuck in a rut of guilt and regret:
- Feeling unworthy
When you feel unworthy, it affects your self-esteem and self-worth. You may find yourself lacking any self-love, instead becoming caught up in unresolved self-anger, self-hatred and self-blaming.
- Being paralyzed by the past
When you cannot let go of your guilt and regrets, there might as well be a chain connecting you to them.
- Having unresolved issues
Until you resolve the issues that are weighting you down, you will likely experience feelings of helplessness and even depression.
- Being unable to forgive yourself
When you are unable to forgive yourself, you might become self-destructive, punishing yourself and showing indifference to your own needs.
- Acting defensive and distant
Your guilt may create a barrier between you and others.
- Feeling afraid of trying again
Your fear of failure, due to constantly reliving the past, may cripple any attempts to move on from the event and forgive yourself.
The act of self-forgiveness changes the energy and the physical structure of your cells and your DNA. Guilt is a very powerful and deadening emotion. Guilt can close down the energy systems of your body, and thereby lessen the flow of healing energy and love for our self and for others. The lack of forgiveness is emotionally and physically damaging.
Sometimes the most difficult person to forgive is the one you face in the mirror. Some common situations that challenge self-forgiveness include: overwhelming guilt from a failed marriage, parenting errors, family and relationship mistakes and poor financial decisions.
7 Tips to shrink your stress by forgiving yourself
If you are tired of limits your self-condemnation places on you, you can do something about it. The past cannot be changed, and the future depends on the decisions you make today. Below are seven tips to replace those self-defeating thoughts.
Let go of self-anger
The effort it takes to maintain total disdain for yourself drains your time and energy, and it limits how you receive care from others.
Accept yourself as human
Acknowledge you are not an all-knowing and all-powerful super person. Everyone has slips in their reactions and actions.
View your mistake as a learning opportunity
Own your mistake. Understand the lesson. Learn from it.
Let go of fear of the future
Be willing to take risks. You now know differently, so you can choose differently.
Trust in yourself and your goodness
You are not a bad person, but one who simply made a faulty or hasty decision. The good is still in you. You have value to contribute to others.
Admit that hiding doesn’t heal the hurt
Trying to block the burden of shame and guilt only keeps it just under the surface. Hiding the hurt placed on yourself and others keeps you chained to the past.
Imagine the gains of moving forward
Picture yourself free from the guilt, regret and self-condemnation. Live in the moment. Be intentional in new and improved decisions that open up opportunities for freedom and success.
“By far the strongest poison to the human spirit is the inability to forgive oneself or another person.”
If you or someone you love needs help, contact Centerstone at 888-291- HELP (4357) or visit http://www.centerstone.org.
If you are in crisis, call Centerstone’s 24-Hour Crisis Intervention Hotline at 800-681-7444.