Practicing Forgiveness…

March 17th, 2009

Forgiveness is a tough concept.  Especially if you’ve been abused, neglected or molested.  It’s hard to even think about forgiveness if you’ve been mistreated by lovers, bosses, so-called friends, or even society (especially if you’re a Person of Color or LGBT).  How can you forgive someone who hurt you so badly?

But the kind of forgiveness I speak of is a bit different.  Self-forgiveness, also known as self-acceptance.  It’s tough too.  Abuse, neglect, and harshness can condition us to criticize and judge ourselves.  Every move we make.  Every decision.  Every thought.  These turn into opportunities for self-recrimination.  “I’m so stupid.”  “I’m ugly.”  “I’ll never compare to others.”  Self-recrimination leads to self-destructive behaviors, including all kinds of addictions.

By cultivating a gentle practice of self-forgiveness, you learn to feel better about yourself.  You learn to understand the reasons behind your actions and thoughts.  You learn how to not let these thoughts, feelings and emotions control your behaviors and life.

How can you become a student of self-forgiveness?  Some folks turn to meditation, contemplative prayer,  or yoga.  Others might add a 12-step program or therapy to their lives.  As a therapist, I believe that one of my primary roles is to help others see their inherent worth, which often fosters self-love, self-acceptance, and self-forgiveness.  Perhaps one of these practices might help you.

Feel free to call me at 202/460-6384 if you’d like to explore how therapy can help you forgive yourself.

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