What is that one thing you haven’t forgiven yourself for? Did you make a mistake? Did you hurt someone? Did you make a poor choice or decision that's been gnawing at you ever since? What do you regret?
Guilt, shame, depression, sadness, and anger are some of the negative emotions you might carry for mistakes you’ve made or regrets you have. These feelings can create a lot of heaviness in your life which only hold you back from reaching your true potential - in love, health, happiness, and success.
Here are some tips to help you forgive:
1. Change your perception. Perception is key. How you view the results of your decisions and choices determines how you move forward in life. Was that decision or choice really that bad? If you hadn't made it, you wouldn't be where you are right now. But, take a look around. Is there anything positive about the experience? It's always possible to turn a negative into a positive. Seek until you find. If you can't find anything good or feel stuck, frozen, or undeserving of moving forward with your goals and dreams, consider working on shifting your mindset.
2. Practice kindness and compassion. Be gentle with yourself. We all make mistakes. We all made choices we wished we did not make. But sometimes the best way to learn how to navigate through life is by making the turns as they come. Don’t fault yourself for making a wrong turn from time to time. Just take control of the wheel and self-correct.
3. Put things into perspective. You are a different person now than you were then. If only we knew then what we know now, maybe we could have saved ourselves from grief, heartache, or financial disaster. But hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it? Give yourself credit for doing the best you could with what you had or knew at that time. We can all mature and grow from our experiences.
4. Live in the present. Don’t let your past hold you back any longer. The past is the past. And, the future is not yet here. So, you might as well make the most of the present. The present is a gift. It’s given to allow you the opportunity to use yesterday’s lessons as fertilizer to nourish the seeds you plant today for a better tomorrow.
5. Create a plan. It's never too late to set a new goal, dream another dream, or try something new or different. Use the lessons you’ve learned along the way to create new goals and dreams. We all deserve peace, love, health, and happiness. So, don’t stop trying. Transform your experiences into wisdom and use them as fuel to try again.
6. Practice ho'oponopono. The Hawaiian practice for forgiveness and reconciliation, ho'oponopono is a tool to shift your mindset. Use it to improve how you feel about yourself, forgive yourself for making a mistake, or to forgive someone else for wronging you.
To do this exercise, first focus on your mistake or regret or how someone hurt you. Acknowledge what you appreciate about yourself or this person. Then identify what you’re sorry for saying or doing that warrants forgiveness. Then, ask for forgiveness and express gratitude. Lastly, end with the mantra, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. And, thank you.”
For example, if you made a mistake or hurt someone:
I love you. I appreciate all you have ever done for me. You were always so kind and generous even when I didn’t deserve it.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry for hurting your feelings when I cheated on you.
Please forgive me for breaking your heart and betraying your trust.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my regret.
The best way to move forward in life is to remove the weight of shame and regret so that you can move forward with your goals and dreams. You deserve the opportunity to make better choices now. And, you deserve to be forgiven.
Live, love, and lead with Aloha.