Apr 202019
 
Reading Time: 7 minutes

When Kindness Wars with Self-forgiveness

I want to share this with you, my beautiful magical sister or brother ~my worse moment this week~ because it was agonizing and I feel that you could relate.

I found myself at war between kindness and self-forgiveness. I had not responded as kindly and compassionately as I could have done —in hindsight, of course.

“I really really messed this up!”

The person had withdrawn and I could feel that I had not been as receptive as she needed and as a consequence, she did not feel trust enough to share any further.

Had I damaged her trust? Would she now curl inwardly and avoid others? Would she not seek help? Did she feel judged? The questions tumbled over each other, each making me feel worse and worse.

I was heavily challenged to forgive myself for this mistake, and I was surprised at the level of distress running through me.

Wrapped in self-judgment, blaming, shaming and dread.

The Shift

 I thought I had already gone through this. A bunch of years ago, I spent an entire year rewiring my habit of self-flagellating myself every single time I made a mistake.

I would call myself “stupid” and berate myself endlessly for any little mistake, like dropping something or spilling liquid over the rim of a cup.

When I began I’d have to shift about 50 times a day. Can you imagine?! Fifty freaking times a day I was calling myself stupid for any little mishap! What was I doing to myself? That was like being an abusive mother to myself. Ahgrr!

I decided to stop that self-abuse by shifting my perception and response. I would shift from calling myself:

“Stupid!”

to several variations of:

“I’m just human and I learn quickly from my mistakes, so this is my learning opportunity.”

You can imagine what it took to do this shift 50 times a day.

The good news is that after 3 months it was down to about 20 times a day. After six months I noticed that I was down to about six or so times a day.

And by the end of the year I was not doing it anymore. Alleluia! What liberation!

So why was I now flagellating myself for not having responded in the best way to someone’s need?

I felt terrible. I was agonizing as to what could I have said to be more kind, wiser and more effective.

I felt guilty about not having been as sensitive as the occasion required.

I’m not berating myself because —thank goodness— I no longer do that.  (After a year of about 7,380 shifts of perception and response! JA!)

But I could feel the impulse to do it, and there was a silent punishment in the form of feeling insensitive, of repeating to myself that I had not listened as well as I should have —given the seriousness of the situation.

I kept telling myself that I was not as compassionate as I could have been and that I should know better.

By now I had started questioning my wisdom, if I was truly as loving as I thought I was, if I was really “ready” to guide or help others…. and down the line it went.

“STOP!”

I had to call for a cease of inner activities, knowing that if I did not detain those self-diminishing voices I would spiral down into despair and self-doubt that would sabotage my very purpose and gifts and render me useless for others and myself. I refused to go there.

I knew that emotional punishment, judgment and shaming were not the answer.

The answer: “Forgive yourself.”

The Answer

Since I seemed not to be able to shift all by myself, I asked for spiritual guidance. I asked my Spiritual Guides:

“What can I do to repair the damage?”

And the answer was not about doing anything.

It was not about asking the other for forgiveness.

It was not to check what negative impact I had on the other person’s life.

Instead it was about forgiving myself.

What? I thought I had learned to do that.

But sometimes it is simply too hard to do this alone.

So I asked help from my online spiritual community. And they poured compassion and shared their own stories and told me it was OK, that this was part of being human.

And I sat with it imperfectly… accepting that I had not done my very best. …that I am not perfect… that yes, I could have done better, but I did not… that it is okay, because I am human and I learn quickly from my mistakes, so this was my learning opportunity…

… I sudden I realized that forgiveness was not just a one-time situation to shift when it got too much. It was not a habit that you overcame once for the rest of your life, like sucking your thumb.

I saw with clarity that if I am committed to assuming my power and leadership and to sharing my gifts with the world, then forgiveness must become a lifestyle.

This revelation felt like lightning striking.

But I realized rather quickly why this was striking me so hard. (After all, I am a quick learner, right?)

As the revelation poured through me I saw that yes, I’ve worked on forgiving myself; but it’s when mistakes affect others that I get into a self-flagellation mode. If it’s a mistake that only affects me, I now can let it go easily.

But when it damages another human being when my vow is to help, not damage… then things get really scary.

And then my Inner Caretaker who carries others’ weight, my Wounded Selves who feel inadequate and my Shadows who try to gain control by mocking and diminishing me… they all come out screaming!

Nothing like fear to bring out
the wounds and defenses within us.

In other to assume our leadership and share our gifts,
we need to practice self-forgiveness as we serve imperfectly.

How Lack of Forgiveness Affects our Capacity to Serve and Love

If we are “out there” relating to dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people, we are bound to mess up. We are bound to say the wrong thing, to at some point not be in our top best and not be as receptive as we could be. We are bound to say things that are not as kind, compassionate or wise.

Relating is learning. It is the deepest, most challenging laboratory for human and spiritual evolution.

It’s going to be messy. We are bound to make mistakes.

If you’ve been around me for a while, you know what I’ve shared about mistakes. I have learned that they are arrows pointing in a different direction. They are the wrong result that shows you the path to get the right result. They are part of learning and growing.

How else can we learn if not through mistakes? We are going to make mistakes. And they are going to affect others. If we go into agony, doubt ourselves, hide in our hidey-hole, pull back, punish ourselves by sabotaging our purpose, gifts, service or business….

We are no service to ourselves, others or The Divine.

I modified the Ho’ ponopono practice for self-forgiveness when we may have affected others.

Forgiving Myself

So I’m seating here, breathing forgiveness for myself.

“I am sorry.”

“I forgive myself.”

“Thank you for this mistake and the lessons and growth in it.”

“I love myself unconditionally, without judgment.”

“I love the person who was affected by my mistake and send her a blessing.”

“I ask the universe in its mercy to kindly ameliorate any harm I may have done.”

“I release any burden that is not mine and ask that this mistake be transmuted into love, wisdom and light for me and for all. It is done now. Thank you.”

Amen.

Now I joyfully ask to be shown the lessons and be embraced in acceptance, allowance, self-love, non-judgment and deep unconditional love and forgiveness.

To deeply and truly accept my mistakes now and hereon with love and without shame and do any reparation with grace, without feeling that I am bad or wrong or that I am less or must carry this burden and do not deserve to keep growing or moving forward.

I invite you to practice self-forgiveness as a lifestyle.

The Invitation

If this resonates with you; if you have been punishing yourself or agonizing about a mistake that affected others, then I invite you to join me for a minute.

This is a modified Ho’ ponopono practice from the Hawaiian shamans. The traditional practice involves four healing phrases that go like this:

“I am sorry. Please forgive me.
Thank you. I love you.”

It is a simple but powerful practice that I’ve used for a decade or so.

The way I modified it for forgiveness upon doing something that may have affected others is like this:

Go ahead and say each phrase out loud, breathing gently before each expression.

“I am sorry.”

“I forgive myself.”

“Thank you for this mistake and the lessons and growth in it.”

“I love myself unconditionally, without judgment.”

“I love the person who was affected by my mistake and send her a blessing.”

“I ask the universe in its mercy to kindly ameliorate any harm I may have done.”

“I release any burden that is not mine and ask that this mistake be transmuted into love, wisdom and light for me and for all. It is done now. Thank you.”

And remember to practice this self-forgiveness as you “go out there” in the world, on the stage, in your job, during your service hours and as you work lovingly but imperfectly on behalf of others.

Because you are just human and you learn quickly from your mistakes, so this is your learning opportunity.


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About Maria Mar

Maria Mar is a Sacred Storyteller and shaman who champions you to change your old limiting story to create the new story of your brilliance illuminating the world. She helps you awaken your magic, express your creative genius, embody your purpose and live your potential now.