Almost Unconditional, by Daniel F. Cleary is this weeks featured article in the Hypnosis Health Info Article Library. It seems lately that a topic of discussion in both my Seattle counseling & hypnotherapy and Bainbridge Island counseling and hypnotherapy offices has been the issue of forgiveness – especially self-forgiveness. To me, forgiveness is all about letting go of our judgements of others and of ourselves.
Often, when assisting a client toward the changes they choose in life, the issue of forgiveness arises. The anger, regret, resentment, frustration, and even depression associated with the events of the past, may at times, seem difficult to release. The idea of “letting go” of the perceived slights of the past may infer that the client has been wrong in feeling that way, even though there was certainly physical and/or emotional violation associated with the events. There is also the pattern or habit of having felt that way to consider.
ALL THAT HAS EVER OFFENDED ME
WHATEVER HAS MADE ME BITTER RESENTFUL, UNHAPPY
WITHIN AND WITHOUT
I FORGIVE EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING WHO CAN POSSIBLY NEED
FORGIVENESS IN MY
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.
I FORGIVE POSITIVELY EVERYONE,
I AM FREE AND THEY ARE FREE TOO, ALL THINGS ARE CLEARED BETWEEN US
NOW AND FOREVER.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, I FORGIVE MYSELF
FOR ANY MISTAKES I MAY FEEL I HAVE MADE
KNOWING NOW THEY WERE VALUABLE LESSONS
Read Almost Unconditional by Daniel F. Cleary
In the updated second edition of Becoming Slender For Life, I write:
Stop Judging Yourself
My take on forgiveness is to not focus on the act, but on the judgments we hold about the act. Too often I hear forgiveness
described as a sort of fairy tale about an incident—making it okay that we just ate a whole package of Oreos. But it isn’t okay and it will never be okay. Still, we don’t need to judge ourselves for it either. I encourage clients to leave their whips with me in my office. They don’t need them anymore.
Rosalie and I were talking one afternoon about forgiveness. This 50-year-old woman carried a great deal of guilt and self-judgment about her actions and choices that she’d made as a teenager and as a young woman in her 20s.
She also talked about her father and his behavior toward her as a child growing up. We discussed how forgiveness too often comes across as making actions okay, that what happened was okay, when it really wasn’t. Or forgiveness may turn into creating a fairy tale about the past. Or else it appears as if you’re rewriting history to exclude what really happened. If you were abused as a child, how do you forgive the abuser? Somehow, “I forgive you for abusing me” doesn’t seem very authentic. And if you’ve just eaten the entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s, it is difficult to make that okay.
Solution for self-judgment:
I suggested to Rosalie that forgiveness should be focused on her, that is was time to stop punishing herself for things she did 30 years ago. Self-forgiveness can be a powerful, loving process. Self-forgiveness separates who we are from our actions and judgments.
The real issue is your judgment. Your judgments of yourself and your judgments of others are what poison your psyche. By letting go of your judgments, you can put the past behind you and move on. By letting go of the judgment you are not making your behavior or someone else’s behavior okay, you are ending the negative mental self-talk.
I learned about forgiveness at the University of Santa Monica. This is the first approach that ever made sense to me. When clients are self-flagellating about how terrible they are, I encourage them to take out a piece of paper and do this exercise.
Fill in the blanks:
I forgive myself for judging myself as _________________. In the blank line, you write the judgment. For instance, I would
write: I forgive myself for judging myself as not good enough. I forgive myself for judging myself as fat. I forgive myself for judging myself as having no control.
Next, you write a person’s name and the judgment you hold of
them. I forgive myself for judging ________________ as ______________.
Examples: I forgive myself for judging my spouse as abusive. I forgive myself for judging Bob as hurtful. I forgive myself for judging Mary as skinny.
You see, our actions are our actions. They occurred, right or wrong. Whether these actions occurred one minute ago or 30 years ago, it is our judgment about the action that eats at us, that decimates our self-esteem. It’s not up to us to judge, and by letting go of the judgment we free ourselves from the continued abuse of the action. Some people have experienced inexcusable acts of abuse. But many years later, they are the ones carrying on the abuse—not the abuser. What happened, happened. There is no need to pretend it didn’t. But what hurts us now is our judgment about what happened. Our job is to let go of the judgment. Becoming Slender For Life, pages 79 – 80.
Forgiveness of judgements is often a vital part of healing. Forgiveness of judgments is essential in relationships. If you want safe, trusting, honest, healthy, vulnerable and loving relationships, forgive yourself for your judgments of your partner.
Your Hypnosis Health Info Hypnotic Suggestion for today:
I forgive myself for judging myself.
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