Let go of guilt and blame.
Published: May 20, 2012
Giving your mind and heart a fresh start.
“Forgiveness is the key to inner peace because it is the mental technique by which our thoughts are transformed from fear to love.”
- Marianne Williamson
The act of forgiving yourself shows that you are living the awakened life. Many years ago, my sister-in-law made me a beautiful pillow that says, “I’m allowed.” For me, it is a reminder that I am allowed to live my life as I see fit, to make mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes. Many people live their lives believing they are not allowed. Judgmental adults succeeded in convincing them that there are irrevocable rules which state what you can or cannot say, be or do; to hate the enemies assigned to you, to disregard all religions except the one you were born into, to dismiss those who appear different from you, and so on. At some point in your life you adopted these rules for yourself and made them a lifetime code of conduct. Yet you also found that it was impossible to live up to all of them all of the time. Consequently, you filled yourself with guilt for not having lived up to the judgmental code that was imposed upon you.
Look at any and all beliefs that you carry around with you in terms of how well they serve you in living a life of harmony and purpose. If you behave in a way that is in violation of those supposedly irrevocable rules, you have not really done something wrong! You have merely done something. And it is done. If you are plagued with remorse and guilt, then judging the action as wrong seems appropriate to prevent its recurrence. Does it really? Probably not. So instead, learn from it by deciding if it is something that you want to repeat based upon your values, and then move past it. It takes effort to determine if you are still operating on the controls imposed by others. The effort is well worth it if you are not taking responsibility for your own mind. You are allowed, plain and simple. You do not need to be forgiven by anyone else, only yourself, and even that is truly unnecessary once you accept yourself completely. You will know when you have mastered the art of self-forgiveness. When you are no longer judgmental toward others, you will have forgiven yourself and be on your path of enlightenment.
Releasing judgment of another is actually releasing judgment of yourself. Your need to put others into categories defines you, not them. When you stop doing this, you have forgiven yourself for whatever aspect of yourself you see in them. The more at ease you are with the behavior of others, even if you would not act that way yourself, the more you are at ease with yourself.
Say to yourself, “I’m allowed.” Not because I tell you you are, or because your parents are no longer in charge of you, or because some authority figure granted you permission, but simply because you are lovingly there for yourself. No guilt, no anger, no self-flagellation over things that you consider mistakes. A simple understanding that you do not fail in life, you only produce results, and you have the right to learn and grow from any results that you produce. The word “failure” is itself a judgment, and if you label yourself a failure in any context, you are judging rather than accepting yourself. Self-acceptance will turn into self-love, and when you are filled with self-love, that is what you will have to give away.
Consequently, the willingness to forgive yourself is the necessary step to being in harmony with all of the universal principles. It gives you permission to be whatever you choose. And it gives you the right to self-determination. Everything that you have done is over, regardless of your opinion about it. It simply is. Try to simply be. The past is over, and everything you did got you to the point that you are at right at this moment. Everything had to happen exactly as it did, without any exceptions in order for you to be here, reading these words in the exact location in which you find yourself right now. You needed to do it all, and all you have to do, to really learn this lesson of forgiveness, is to allow that thought in and lovingly forgive yourself. Receive the lesson from it and be in harmony with yourself and everyone that you encounter. The more peaceful you are with that idea, and the more willing you are to be gentle with yourself, the more you will find forgiveness your way of life. Which means the more you will find acceptance, which is the absence of the need to forgive, as your way of life.
If you notice others violating the values and beliefs that you hold, refuse to judge them. Reach out to help when asked, and know that where you are on your path, you can choose to be unaffected by their conduct. The more you know that you are thinking and acting in harmony with what the universe can be, the less you will be inclined to judge others. And you will have stopped judging yourself as well, and that is a glorious aspect of this process. You are treating yourself the way you truly want to be treated, as the divine being that you are. You have the intelligence that supports all life running through you at all times. You are important enough to know that, and divine enough to give it away.
Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. Wayne holds a doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor at St. John’s University in New York.