Forgiving ourselves is probably the hardest task to accomplish. The self-defeating thoughts that arise keep us from our True Essence of Love. We have called for love in our mind and it’s obvious by how we feel, what we say and what we do, how frightened we are inside. When we can start with self-forgiveness, even just a little wee bit, we are opening the door to self-love.
In a practice that I gave the class as part of our daily activities, the students were to take time in a meditative and prayerful space to love and accept themselves just as they are now, seeming flaws and all. In this, we forgave ourselves for the beliefs, the guilt, the shame, the hurt. We became compassionate toward ourselves and we allowed God’s compassion to pour through us. It might not have been easy, but we attempted it with a little willingness, a little faith, and a lot of trust.
As we wrote our personal self-forgiveness prayers, we forgave ourselves for past mistakes, our reasons of guilt and the like. We reaffirmed the truth of the Love God has for us and Who we are reflected in Him. We permitted God’s Love to enter despite all the ego’s protests.
Yes, we have all made mistakes. We cannot change the mistakes but we can stop here and change how we think about those mistakes. Forgiveness wipes the slate clean. It purifies us and makes us an open vessel to love. No matter what, you are forgiven. In fact, God only sees the love that you are. If He can wipe the slate clean so can you. God does not condemn you. Only you condemn yourself.
No matter what you believe you have done in your life, the guilt that you carry as a heavy burden, the remorse, the sadness, the regret, the challenges, the unjust comments, the self-degradation, all of it. Self-forgiveness is the stepping stone to recognizing that everything is just as it needs to be. It is there to help us to heal, to grow, to learn, and to allow us to blossom into who we were meant to be. You are holy. Your holiness blesses you and everyone. Let holiness bless you and shine the brilliant light upon you. Let it purify and make you whole. Even though you want to forgive yourself, there may still be a part of you that feels you do not deserve to be forgiven. Accept the love that you are. Feel it deep within you.
Say this to yourself right now:
“I love myself. I accept myself. I am as God created me. I am worth forgiving. I can start small with the willingness to forgive myself. Everything is a lesson and today I am willing to learn it. I can release the feelings of unforgiveness today. I can forgive myself. God is the Love in which I forgive myself. God is the Love in which I am blessed. I cannot be guilty because I am a Son of God. I have already been forgiven. No fear is possible in a mind beloved of God. There is no need to attack because love has forgiven me.”
“God is the Love in which I forgive. Let peace of mind be my only goal – not changing anything outside of me, including me, or seeking punishment of others and myself.”
The following is an excerpt from my own written prayer in relation to this class and topic:
I look with Your Most Holy Eyes now to see beyond all these fears and grievances that I hold so tightly within. I offer them on the altar of Love. Let them all be transformed to Love. My I know Love within. May I allow Love to permeate through what I say and do. May I remember to forgive. May forgiveness come easily to me. May I release the past and stay present in the Holy Instant. Be with me in my prayer. Support me and strengthen me always. Amen.
I offered to the class in one of our sessions various focal points for forgiving oneself. In these points or steps, the students chose one to use based on which one called to them in their heart. They meditated, contemplated, and journaled how they will continually integrate this step into their daily lives.
The Course tells us not to judge ourselves for feeling unable or unwilling to forgive ourselves. Jesus isn’t judging us. Love never judges or condemns. Actually it can be very helpful to honestly acknowledge just how much we do NOT want to forgive ourselves. What’s really going on is the ego wants us to be special and different because we think we are unforgiveable. Everyone else can be forgiven, but not us. Being unforgiveable makes us worse than everyone else and therefore special and different. The ego doesn’t care if we perceive ourselves as better or as worse than other people, just as long we are different!
As we work on self-forgiveness, we can observe these ego dynamics doing their crazy thing and simply do not judge it. Not forgiving ourselves is just an ego habit. At some point, we’ll realize that our judgments and unforgiveness against ourselves are keeping us from peace. We’ll realize that it’s just not worth it. Then we’ll say, “There must be another way.” That “other way” is to change our minds and make the choice to love ourselves again, just as the Holy Spirit loves us. God loves us and He does not want us to be in that place of hating ourselves and beating ourselves up. We just made a mistake. We are still beautiful to Him. Nothing has changed. We are still Love.
When we forgive ourselves, we can really live these words:
“Salvation is my only function here. Thus do you lay forgiveness on your mind and let all fear be gently laid aside, that love may find its rightful place in you and show you that you are the Son of God.” W-pI.99.12:4-5
–Excerpt from our book The Holy Place of Forgiveness