Forgiveness is a subject that has been endlessly discussed. There are pros and cons. Some people insist it is necessary in order ‘to move on’. Others say forgiveness is forced and artificial. Whatever side you’re on it is agreed that we need to let go of past hurts.
Many of my clients suffer from past hurts. They have been hurt by people and situations in their past. They struggle to come to terms these hurts. Depression symptoms, anxiety attacks, stress pressure, anger control, addiction struggles and codependency problems often are directly linked to this history.
However many of these people manage to forgive others. Over time, I have seen many come to a place of letting go. In this way they can also let go of feeling like helpless victims and can take greater charge of their lives. Depression pain, anxiety symptoms and anger issues are also decreased. Nevertheless, I have found that they then face a more difficult problem. Forgiving themselves.
“Why did I let myself be pushed around.” “Why was I so stupid.” “I could have done so much more with my life.” I have heard these and other statements countless time. They endlessly bring up their failures, shortcomings, faults. As a result they can’t live with themselves. This affects their ability to move forward and get ahead in their lives. It badly damages their positive self-esteem.
When I talk to people with depression symptoms I hear this. They attack themselves over and over. They focus on who they aren’t rather than who they are. What they can’t do rather than what they can do. Feeling this way they often have unhealthy relationships which further increases their depression symptoms. Self forgiveness becomes necessary.
How to Forgive Yourself
1/ Identify Your Inner Attacker – It can take the form of a negative inner voice. Who is it? Is it a parent, relative, teacher, friend, boss? By identifying them you can directly begin to alter your inner voice.
2/ Become your own defence attorney. When you hear the attack rush to your defence. You would do the same for a friend.
3/ Tell the truth about yourself. Most of what the attacker is saying are lies. Be honest and say the real truth of your own worth.
4/ Catalogue your strengths – Make notes, physical or mental, of what you do that is positive.
5/ Consciously create a new narrative – People with depressive symptoms and anxiety symptoms have created a negative narrative about their lives. When you create a positive narrative you are creating a better self image.
As a Toronto therapist I believe that self forgiveness is essential to self growth. It is directly connected to the reduction of signs of depression, anxiety symptoms and stress management. It is an ongoing process that requires hard work. Start today. You deserve your truth.