For most of us as children, the word “forgiveness” was a daily part of our upbringing. We were told to turn the other cheek, and to forgive and forget. But more often than not, those instructions only applied to other people – many of whom wanted forgiving! I don’t often recall being told to forgive myself, or even being presented with the idea that it was okay to do so. For most of us, we were constantly reminded of our mistakes, by people who were constantly reminded of theirs; being told that it was the only way to learn from them. But as human being, we sometimes need the lesson more than once, or never really quite understood the cause of our pains and problems to begin with. So we repeat past blunders trying once more to get it right, and sometimes failing miserably a second time to a chorus of “I told you so’s” and “How could you be so stupid!” many of which come from inside our own heads. Unfortunately, this self blame is often what keeps us stuck in our old patterns and destined to repeat them again and again. The way out: forgive yourself.

In a time of unprecedented turmoil and stress, I see a lot of people getting stuck in self punishment and self blame. It often goes something like this; “I should have taken better care of myself and my finances. I should have stayed married. I should have put more money in saving. I shouldn’t have quit my job, bought the new car or moved house.” But it’s too late for what we should or shouldn’t have done. At the best of times I would encourage people to move on, and help them to find a way live a great life anyway – even when the original plan didn’t work out. But now this is more important than ever. We simply can’t afford to languish in our negative fantasies any longer. Regardless of what we did last week, last month, or last year, we simply have to take action and move forward, and often that starts with forgiving ourselves.

As a coach, I’ve helped many clients (and myself!) find self forgiveness by asking the following questions:

Were you in complete control of the situation, and could you have 100% guaranteed a different outcome?

Given your skills and your knowledge at the time, were you really and truly in the position to make a different choice or choices?

Did you have the unconditional loving support of friends, family and wellness professionals?

If the answer was “no” to any of those questions, chances are you’re due for a little forgiveness.

So my challenge to you this week is…… to make a list of things you need to forgive yourself for. Here are a few to get you started.

I forgive myself for….

Staying in a relationship long after I knew it was over.
Not saving more money or investing more wisely.
Getting into debt.
Not taking better care of myself, my health and my life.
Acting in a way that was in conflict with my values or personal integrity.
“Turning a blind eye” or “Not seeing it coming.”

Most of us are doing the best we can, with the resources and knowledge we possess at any given moment. Understanding and learning from our mistakes is crucial to consistently moving forward, but so is forgiving ourselves for what we did. So this week, please, show yourself a little kindness. Get in touch with that small, scared part deep inside, and unconditionally give yourself the gift of forgiveness. You are sure to melt the bonds of your past, and be on your way to a brighter future.

Until next time, take good care of yourself and your life.

Love Life and Laughter! Hunter

Author's Bio: 

Hunter Phoenix is a Certified Professional Coach who specializing in working with dynamic entrepreneurs to build their businesses and create more balance in their lives. With over 15 years experience, Hunter received the majority of her coaching training at The Ford Institute for Integrative Coaching at JFK University in Berkeley, California.

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