I Forgave Myself
I forgave myself…
- for not being as good a friend as I could have been, especially during times of their grief.
- for getting into debt. Well almost. My plan was to fully forgive after I had finished paying off all of my debts.
- for being socially awkward many times in my life, including a few recently that embarrassed me.
- for taking too long writing and editing my memoir.
- for not recognizing that I was in an abusive relationship, for putting him first to the detriment of myself, for staying way too long…
In fact, this major awakening around the concept of forgiveness I’m about to share started a few years ago, as I learned how the subconscious mind works, but really developed because there was a part in one of my book drafts where I made those exact self-forgiveness statements regarding my abusive marriage.
As I read that section again later, it occurred to me that other women who have been (or still were) in an abusive relationship might internalize those statements, and I absolutely did not want them to think that they needed forgiveness!
And if they didn’t need forgiveness, why did I?
It became crystal clear in the context of having been a victim to a perpetrator abusing me, that I needed no forgiveness. What an absurd notion—to need forgiveness for the acts of another person?!
But what about the aspects that were my choice, such as staying with him when I knew I could have safely left. Those facets were at least partially attributed to his lies and manipulation, which convoluted my choice. However, regardless of whether my choice was absolutely clear in the big picture or twisted by circumstances, the answer is still obvious that still no forgiveness is needed.
Subconscious Programming and Awareness Levels Matter
I did exactly what I was programmed to do—sacrifice myself to be loved. In this case, that deep-seeded belief system showed up as my sacrificing myself for God’s bigger picture, for my husband to have a greater chance at healing and redemption.
Why would I need forgiveness for executing a hard-wired program that, in addition to being the filter through which we all process all of our life experiences, was (in theory and intent) completely in line with my religious upbringing?
No, I didn’t need forgiveness for my acting through my subconscious program (based on the fact that that is simply how humans function)! Nor did I need forgiveness for my then-level of awareness.
I didn’t need forgiveness any more than a child needs forgiveness for falling during her attempts to learn to walk.
Thus I have two solid reasons for not needing to forgive myself—I didn’t make his choices, he did, and my programming and awareness simply were what they were.
But what if I still felt like a stupid idiot? If so, I lean toward attempting to forgive myself anyway as a solution. I’m not going to go that direction, though, because the only reason to feel stupid is if I feel shame for what happened to me, shame for what he did, shame over my choices, or shame over any other aspect.
Judgment Creates Shame, Which Creates the Desire to Be Forgiven
Shame is merely me judging myself as being wrong.
While I would make different choices today, that is only because my awareness has expanded and I have grown as a person. It’s not because “I was wrong back then and I am right now.”
Without judgment of being wrong, there is no need for forgiveness.
Judgment leads to shame, which leads to suffering, which understandably can lead to the desire to forgive oneself (or others) in order to ease that suffering.
Most of us were taught through subtle (or not so subtle) messages that judgment is the overriding law of existence—live to be judged for it, so you better be good.
I submit that the truth is something better…
I submit that we exist to LIVE!
There are natural consequences to our beliefs, thoughts, and actions. There is no judgment attached those in nature or in the Universe.
If you are a jungle cat, you either hunt to eat or you don’t eat. You don’t worry about how stupid you were that your hunt yesterday failed. You just keep going until you succeed at filling your belly.
I propose we recognize the lack of judgment in nature and remove it from ourselves. I propose we stop forgiving ourselves altogether.
Removing judgment removes shame, which removes the need for forgiveness.
I’d far rather assess whether or not my life matches my divine desires, and assess if I am currently (or will be by achieving my desires and goals) harming myself or others. From those assessments, I can make result-based decisions—what serves me and others well and what doesn’t?
There is still evaluation and improvement, if one so desires, but it is all without judgment.
So much more can be done to improve ourselves when we are not caught up in judgment and shame!
Yes, forgiveness traditionally has helped with that shame, but how infinitely more effective is our joy if we remove the root cause of it in the first place?!
I propose that we love ourselves unconditionally. I propose that we see ourselves and others without judgment.
This open approach is even more complete and effective than forgiveness, because it eliminates the need for forgiveness and it is based in pure love.