Are you surprised that the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season is not something wrapped up in sparkly paper and adorned with a festive bow? You can let go of the idea that there is something tangible that can make you feel as fabulous, as grateful, and as bountiful this holiday season as what you can give yourself with a little emotional ‘shopping.’
Forgiveness is the best gift you can give yourself.
Research shows that forgiveness makes us feel better and can help us live longer. But forgiveness, especially self-forgiveness, isn’t a slam dunk of a gift that is easy to acquire or easy to share.
Letting go, not forgetting, is a major component of forgiveness. And, as we all know, it isn’t easy to let go of some crummy past situations. These situations need to roll around in our heads, sometimes for years, before we can entertain letting go of them to make room for better things, more productive and healthy things.
The best way to stop the pain and anguish of past mistakes and blunders from rolling around in your psyche causing you sleepless nights and a serious hit to your self-esteem is to forgive yourself.
If you’re focused, you can do it. If you truly want to expand the goodness in your life, opening your heart to yourself and stopping the self-flagellation is a priceless gift. Resolving to finally forgive for past behavior that made others upset is so liberating. We forget sometimes that we mess up because we don’t know better. People get bashed for past episodes of sexism, racism, etc., when they behaved badly before they were enlightened to an injustice. For instance, it might have been fifteen years ago when you jokingly called someone an offensive name, not knowing doing so was hurtful. Once you know it was offensive, you apologize (if necessary and if possible), then you forgive yourself. It’s not fair to carry that mistake into today and trash yourself for your past actions.
Forgive yourself. Show kindness and compassion that you’d, in a nanosecond, show to a friend or loved one. No more, “I should have known.” If you know now and have apologized where possible and changed your behavior since an incident, then forgive yourself and move on. Give yourself the same advice you’d share with others. The fact that you are upset and holding yourself accountable shows that you care and that you have reflected and grown from the experience. So, it’s time to stop berating yourself and judging your actions.
Forgiveness — it’s the best gift!
Where can you apply forgiveness in your life today?