Letting Go of the Guilt: The Freedom of Forgiveness

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Only when you begin to restore belief in yourself, will you be able to develop a genuinely healthy and deeply abiding intimacy. Rebuilding belief in yourself will begin to happen if you learn to let go of the guilt and begin embracing the value of forgiving yourself.

Life is hard!  You will attempt and fail at school, jobs, sports, and relationships.  However, that does not mean that you as a person are a failure!

Too often, hopes and dreams shrivel and die when you believe that you’ve tried and failed too many times.  Consequently, you falsely conclude, “You must be a failure.”  If you believe this about yourself, you’ll give up, stop trying, and never attempt anything new again.  With no one to encourage you or change this thinking, your dreams will die.

It’s even harder when you fail at something important like your relationship with your wife, child, or family.  When something like that happens, it can be very hard to forgive yourself.  You feel the weight of that failure every day.

All too often, men like yourself believe that if you hold onto these failures and never forget them, will prevent you from ever making a mistake like that in the future.

Consequently, your collection mistakes and failures begin to clutter the hallways of your heart.  The ever-growing mound of real or perceived failures becomes quite toxic. Completely contaminating your thoughts, feelings, hopes, and destroying any vision for the future.

If you fall into this trap, the deepest and most intimate part of your heart becomes a “keep out” zone.  You fear what you loved ones might think.  You barricade off part of your heart.  This prevents you from being truly intimate and allowing anyone to know you truly.

It darkens the lens through which you see your life!  It also darkens your heart!  If left unchecked, it will become a self-imposed prison!  Moreover, YOU will become your own worst enemy!

That’s why it’s vital to learn how to forgive yourself.  Furthermore, learning to forgive yourself enables you to truly forgive others.  After all, if you can’t forgive yourself, how can grant forgiveness to anyone else?  You can’t give away something you’ve never had.

Here are the critical thoughts and actions needed to forgive yourself and others.

  • Forgiveness is a CHOICE. It’s a choice you will have to remind yourself of daily.  In the beginning, it may be 100 or 1,000 times a day.  You have chosen to forgive.  You have chosen to let it go.  You have chosen to set yourself free from this failure.  You are worth forgiving!  You cannot earn it, because that places your forgiveness in the hands of someone else.  Even if you did everything they asked of you, you still may not “FEEL” forgiven.  Additionally, it gives someone else control of your life.  That never turns out well!
  • Forgiveness is NOT a feeling. Once you have chosen to forgive yourself or others, you may feel better, but don’t allow your emotions to be the measure of true forgiveness.
  • Forgiveness is often NOT forgetting. Our brains are too complex to erase a memory, but the process of forgiveness will affect your feelings.
  • Forgiveness is a PROCESS. It’s a process that takes daily discipline.  You will need to remind yourself daily that you have chosen to forgive yourself or another person.  Anytime the thought crosses your mind, anytime an emotion triggers the memory, remind yourself that you are forgiven.  As you do, each day the emotions surrounding the memory of your failure will begin to subside.  Eventually, you may recall the memory, but it won’t be laden with all the emotional baggage.  It’s the emotional baggage that is toxic to our hearts!
  • Forgiving is NOT EASY. It takes time, persistence, perseverance, and patience.

After you have chosen to forgive and worked through the daily process of forgiving, you will be able to recall the memory of the failure, but you will not be imprisoned and haunted by the emotional baggage any longer.

Learning to forgive ourselves is essential to learning to forgive others and accepting forgiveness from others!

Remember you cannot give to others what you don’t have!  If you don’t develop a forgiving nature, which starts with forgiving yourself, then true forgiveness will not be part of your life or your relationships!

Remember, YOU are unique, valuable, and worth restoring.  However, restoration takes time to carefully preserve what’s unique and valuable, while repairing what isn’t working.  Remember, “What comes easy won’t last.  What lasts won’t come easy.”

I hope today’s blog has encouraged you.  Make sure you sign up to receive blogs posted every Tuesday and Thursday. TransformingFamilies.org resources are designed to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man God created you to be.

I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘rturner@transformingfamilies.org’.  My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.

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