Keeping Myself Together

When you start on a spiritual journey, what you don’t realize is that most of the journey is about going back to prior versions of yourself and picking them up for the ride that is your life. It’s about seeing, and re-seeing, your past, to say, I accept who I was then. It is about bringing all your prior selves together into one harmonious person who you are today.

I say this not to scare you, but to prepare you for this blast from the past that most of us undergo once we set an intent to do the inner work to heal ourselves. What happens is that your prior conduct comes forward so that you can deal with it. And often, the thing you need the most is forgiveness. Of yourself.

Many of us carry shame and blame long after we have been forgiven because we think that’s what we are supposed to do. I disagree.

Many of us carry shame and blame long after we have been forgiven because we think that’s what we are supposed to do. I disagree. I think the point of forgiveness is to free us of the binds that held us tight, so there is no reason for you to carry your unforgiveness of yourself as a badge of honor.

That’s what some folks do. They say, I could never forgive myself for that. Or, I just can’t bring myself to a place of letting go. When we use these words, we tie ourselves to the idea that forgiveness has a cost. That by forgiving we are doing something wrong. That by forgiving, we allow the prior conduct to be repeated.

Forgiveness, I have found, has no down side. It also has no limits. There is no upper limit on the amount of forgiveness, or the number of times I can forgive. There aren’t even any rules around forgiveness. You either forgive, or you don’t.

When I frame forgiveness as a binary transaction, I am better equipped to say, well of course I choose forgiveness, over unforgiveness. When I see it as an either-or choice, I am more likely to forgive. When I see it as something that is free, I tap this resource at will.

We all have pasts. We all have past conduct that we aren’t proud of. We all have a history that we would prefer not to revisit. My advice? Practice forgiving yourself for your past, and loving yourself as you are. Honestly. Just sit with your past, and then say, I forgive myself. This is the quickest way to move forward.

Note that this isn’t about painting over the past. This is about you moving on, when an issue has run its course. It’s about you being willing to say, I love and accept myself, and my past, and I am ready to move forward.

Over and over, this path of forgiveness plays out in front of us. It is a choice. Will I hold myself back, or set myself up for success? I hope the choice for you is easy. Whatever your past, practice forgiving yourself as a way of integrating your past.

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