Learn How To Forgive Yourself
Are you a victim of abuse who's struggling to learn how to forgive yourself?
I spent years taking the blame and shame upon myself, and I was unable to forgive the people that scarred me and left me broken. So even though I wanted to, it took time and some serious work to forgive myself.
As an outsider to any life-altering situation, it's easy to tell someone "it's not your fault".
But as the victim, we replay it in our heads everyday. It dictates our thoughts, even if we don't realize it at first.
And for those that were told it was their fault or that they "should've" done something differently... well, being told those things contributes to the problem. You go from being hurt and vulnerable to being judged and confused. You go from fighting for what's right to fighting for your sanity... and that's not your fault either.
The mind can be a tricky place to store information. Many people repress trauma because it's just easier not to remember. It's a natural way to try and power forward with life.
Many people fall into addictions to help them to forget and cope. That's why I've always believed there's hope for addicts! Some never even elude to having gone through a traumatic experience... but it's usually always the reason they started using. I've even met people that completely blocked out trauma using addiction, but recalled it the moment they got clean. (This confirmed my belief in the fact that addicts aren't bad people, just good people put in bad situations.)
In almost all cases, we do our best to chalk it up to something we never think about all because we were led to believe it was our fault.
But it's not!
When we finally get to the time and place to address it in a healthy, therapeutic way, we find that forgiving ourselves is essential. It's a big key in the healing process because by holding onto the blame, we unknowingly condemn ourselves to emotional & mental torment. All because we've taken on those false beliefs and programming as our own, yet, it never quite sits right....
Which is why we need to find FORGIVENESS for ourselves.
If you're in that boat, read on for my top 2 tips to learn how to forgive yourself!
LOVE YOURSELF to Forgive Yourself
Another result of life-altering situations that completely upheave our mentality is the tendency for us to not truly love ourselves. We may take care of our basic needs and do what's expected of us to survive, but more often than not we don't respect our minds & bodies in a healthy manner.
Even myself - someone who would never dare try a hard drug or pop a pill that hadn't been prescribed to me - abused my body all for the sake of trying to feel better.
Coming out of therapy where I finally addressed the trauma, I realized that I intentionally overate [a lot of junk food], smoked a lot of cigarettes & weed, and drank a lot. Not just to have those temporary "feel good" sensations that made me take the focus off my pain... But because, deep down, I was punishing myself.
I secretly told myself that it would be easier to let these substances sicken my body, cause health problems, and potentially shorten my lifespan, because that was easier than facing the pain and taking any action.
But no one deserves to feel this way about themselves!
Upon coming to the realizations about how you have cared for yourself, make a plan to treat yourself better.
Eat better. Get more quality sleep. Make self-care a priority. Don't drink so much (or stop completely if you can). Get help to get off substances. Do whatever you have to do - because it will help you think more clearly and honestly, which helps the healing process!
And when you feel discouraged or as if all else fails, seriously consider:
What care, love, and attention have you been lacking?
What love do you need from others, that's been a piece of the puzzle that's missing?
And how can you make up for that by being the one that gives it to you instead?
Above all else, LOVE yourself because you need it and deserve it! After all, we're better equipped (in many regards) to love others when we start with loving ourselves first.
CONNECT WITH YOURSELF to Forgive Yourself
Forgiving yourself is going to start coming a little easier once you practice truly loving yourself. But to follow that up and be able to fully forgive yourself, you need to connect with yourself on a deeper level.
By this, I mean taking the time to be clear on WHY you're forgiving yourself and WHAT you're forgiving yourself for.
I'm sure you know the WHAT and WHY, but you can't forget the finer details...
It's deep because you have to mentally go back to recall the pain points. You need to cover all your bases so that - down the line - you don't have a moment where you get sucked back into feeling blame.
It's like working on forgiving yourself for being in the traumatic situation, but forgetting to forgive yourself for knowing the person, and all of the previous situations & circumstances that led to the moment you're healing from.
Anyone that knows what it's like to have been in these situations knows that even just being reminded of the person is triggering. This is why these outlining details are crucial to acknowledge.
It's also why many victims end up taking blame upon themselves - they may have known, and had a solid relationship with, the person prior to experiencing any red flags. But it's only natural to blame ourselves for not seeing and reacting to red flags when they weren't obvious; or worse yet (which is common), were being covered up and excused.
Yet another set of factors that aren't your fault - which is why you have to forgive yourself for that too!
I'll give you a personal example to see how deep to go:
When I was working on forgiving myself for being sexually assaulted as a child, my initial forgiveness process was over the facts that I was a young, physically powerless, vulnerable & innocent child who had no idea what was happening until it was too late. So, that part was easy... but then I had to forgive myself for (1) being so close to the person that did it to me; being related to them and having to make do while I continued to live with them, (2) not feeling safe enough to speak up about it until after I was out of reach and able to start recovering, and (3) the false beliefs, addictions (covers), and self-sabotage I put myself through to survive all that.
This reason why to cover everything surrounding and related to it: Because they were all little facts that fed me guilt and shame, even when outside help told me that wasn't my fault at all.
So whatever you have to do to sit down, think this through, and make your own list... do it. You'll be thankful you did because like I mentioned, you don't want some little lingering fact to come to mind later on and make you feel like you're being dragged back into the shame & blame game.
And with all that being said, don't beat yourself up! It will take time, it is normal to go through some emotions, but as long as you can face and process it, you WILL end up in a better place. Much love to you for being here and ready to overcome this!
|Ashley Tilson is a Holistic Trauma Recovery Specialist that helps adult men and women who are struggling with PTSD triggers and not feeling safe, free, and genuinely happy, by guiding them through life-changing strategies to heal their Inner Child, rewrite their mindset by reducing/eliminating triggers and combating negative self-talk, shed false beliefs, and align with their highest potential & purpose. You can learn more about her on her website where you can also get her FREE Break Free Guide.|