Self-forgiveness is one of the most difficult acts of kindness we can do for ourselves. Self-forgiveness is also one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. People who struggle with self-forgiveness experience more guilt and shame. They also experience more depression and anxiety. People who struggle with forgiving themselves and others are also more likely to turn to alcohol and/or other substances to deal with the pain of past mistakes. In truth, we are harming ourselves by being unwilling to let go of our past wrongdoings.
Many people think that when you forgive yourself, you are giving yourself a free pass on your history of wrongs. However, self-forgiveness is actually about allowing yourself to learn and move forward from past mistakes. Permitting yourself to move forward is what forgiveness is about in all situations. Remaining captive to the past does not let you learn, develop new skills, or build a better life. Forgiveness is about setting the past free and walking in freedom.
In life, berating yourself for past mistakes is easily done. Everyone in the world has done things they regret. You are not alone in this world of past wrongdoings. You can look at pictures or the life you missed and practice self-loathing. However, an attitude of “what if” does not bring you closer to recovery. That type of attitude hinders recovery. Recovery is all about walking in freedom. You do not enter recovery to berate yourself about past mistakes, but to build a better life.
Forgiveness of others releases you from hurt. So, practicing forgiveness of yourself will also release you from hurt.
How Self-Forgiveness Helps Recovery
Self-forgiveness helps recovery in many ways. One primary way that self-forgiveness helps is by giving you a starting point to freedom. Yes, you have made mistakes. You will have to live with those mistakes for the rest of your life, but you do not have to let them rule over you.
Focusing on all your past mistakes and living them over and over makes you more prone to struggle with depression, anxiety, and relapse. So, begin to overcome this by accepting your past mistakes.
Partaking in a 12-Step program is often comprised of making a moral inventory. This inventory is supposed to be made honestly and shared with your sponsor. By making this inventory and sharing it, you are confessing and owning your mistakes. The important thing to remember in making this inventory is not to let those mistakes own you.
Instead, permit yourself to face your faults, make amends (when you are able), and move forward by forgiving yourself. When you can do these things, you are moving forward in recovery and you are learning how to walk in freedom.
Your Higher Power intends for you to walk in freedom. He promises all things are made new. You have to accept that promise. Accept His forgiveness and walk in freedom.
Why Is True Self-Forgiveness So Difficult?
Self-forgiveness involves honesty – brutal honesty. Truthfully, avoiding issues and letting resentment, anger, and righteousness brew under the surface is much easier. Also, when we hate ourselves, we feel we are doing something right. So, practicing forgiveness is difficult because it means we must face all those nasty feelings and try to love ourselves despite our past mistakes.
Self-forgiveness also means admitting that we will never be perfect.
Things to Remember
Practicing self-forgiveness does not mean you are giving yourself permission to hurt yourself and others again. Instead, self-forgiveness is about giving yourself the space to make amends and move forward with your life instead of living in self-loathing and self-doubt.
God forgives you and knows all you have done wrong. Instead of holding your past mistakes against you, He tossed the memory of your wrongs as far as the east is from the west. He has offered complete redemption. At Renaissance Ranch, we believe this promise and want you to experience the freedom of forgiveness. Forgiveness of others and ourselves is a major step in recovery and ensures our success in life.
Believe that you deserve a second chance and stop living in the pain of the past. You are not defined by your past mistakes, but by the fact that you were created in the image of God. You have the ability to walk in freedom, but you must forgive yourself. The time has come for you to forgive yourself and believe that you deserve a better life. Learn from your past, but always keep moving forward.
Practicing self-forgiveness is a vital part of recovery; self-forgiveness allows us to learn from our past and to move forward into the life we were created to have. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to alcohol and/or other substances, you may also be struggling with self-forgiveness. At Renaissance Ranch, we recognize the value of every human being and the importance of their being able to move forward into freedom from addiction. You are not alone in your struggles, and there is hope for a future. We offer a clinically driven and gospel-centered approach to treating addiction to alcohol and/or other substances. We offer assistance for every step of the recovery process, from detoxification to life after treatment with our Band of Brothers and sober living home. We offer hope. Call us at Renaissance Ranch today at (801) 308-8898 and begin the process of learning self-forgiveness. There is a tomorrow free from your past.