- Alyssa Abrahamson
Why should I forgive myself?
Introspection and evaluation?...Repentance and forgiveness?
Yep, ‘tis the season!
We’re in the midst of the “Days of Awe” in Judaism, the 10 day period between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (it’s 5781!), and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Creation, renewal, reflection, introspection, evaluation, repentance, and forgiveness are themes of the “High Holidays” season.
This time of year, in Judaism, we are encouraged to self-reflect and take stock, repent, and forgive.
In my adult life, I’ve been inspired to take this time of introspection and forgiveness to think about all the people I have hurt over the past year.
And I’ve even been brave enough to ask for forgiveness! Sometimes.
But in recent years, I've become aware of the power of self-forgiveness.
Woooboy! That’s a biggie.
Why should I forgive myself?
The answer will be different for different people.
What exactly is forgiveness anyway?
Forgiveness is an internal state of feeling; it is a conscious and intentional release of negative or harmful feelings such as anger or resentfulness towards someone (including yourself) for an offense, flaw, or mistake, real or perceived.
Forgiveness can be tricky. While you may be generous in your ability to forgive others, you may be much harder on yourself.
Self-forgiveness is about showing compassion to yourself.
When you forgive yourself, you are willing to move on without ruminating over past events that cannot be changed.
How does self-forgiveness improve your life?
Research has shown that practicing self-forgiveness improves our mental and emotional well-being; it helps us cultivate a positive attitude, healthier relationships and is associated with higher levels of focus and productivity.
Making peace with yourself and moving forward is often easier said than done. Being able to forgive yourself requires empathy, compassion, kindness, and understanding. It also requires you to accept that forgiveness is a choice.
3 Tips to Foster Self-Forgiveness
1) Acknowledge Your Emotions Your feelings are a part of who you are. In order to forgive yourself, it’s critical to acknowledge and process your emotions. Feel what you’re feeling, even if it hurts. All feelings are welcome; all feelings are valid.
2) Have a Conversation with Your Inner Critic Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize the thoughts that are getting in the way of forgiving yourself.
Write down what you hear your inner critic saying.
Then, write a self-compassionate response for each thing you wrote.
3) Consider how forgiving yourself will affect your relationship with yourself and with others. What will you gain from forgiving yourself?
It's time to forgive yourself for whatever you need to forgive yourself for and move forward with your life.
We’re seven months into a global pandemic. If that’s not a time to self reflect and practice forgiveness, I don’t know when is!
Happy Jewish New Year, Happy Fall Equinox, and Happy Self-forgiveness!
Love, Your Wellness Coach,
September 22, 2020