Episode 62: I Forgive Her
I’m betting there are things in your past that you regret. There’s probably even things that when you’re reminded of them you feel the urge to cringe. Most of us are carrying the heavy weight of our past with us and we bring it into our future, into our relationships, into our jobs and it’s not helping us. It’s hurting us. It’s time to let those things go. It’s hard to create a confident present and future while you’re trying to run away or hide from your past.
Episode 62: I Forgive Her
Welcome back to the show! I was just checking the reviews and I have to tell you, some of you guys just left THE best and most thoughtful reviews. I’m just so grateful for you and thankful that you took the time out of your day to do that. It really makes a difference and makes it accessible so people can find it easier so if you haven’t left a review – please, please do so. I promise, I read them. I savor them. I’m so grateful or them.
Okay, two things real quick to talk about. I’m offering two free classes this month. I’m doing the kickstart your confidence webinar again because it’s been requested and the more awareness I can get out about what confidence really is and what it’s not, the better we all are. The more confident people feel the more goodness is put out in the world and we all benefit from that so if you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time! You can check my social media pages and I’ll have links there or in the show notes from today as well.
I’m also hosting a week later the free class on Confidence for Creatives webinar. I did this last month and it was so, so fun and so powerful that I’m doing it again because it just was a huge hit so if you’re a creative. If you have an idea you want to create but you’re full of self-doubt, fear of other people then come register for that one. It’s so good!
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Okay, today I’ve got a good topic for you. This is huge when it comes to confidence because a lot of times we’re really contending with ourselves and letting our past interfere with our current self and what we want to do.
I’m introducing a practice that I call the, “I forgive her” approach. It’s helping you to not only make peace with the past but to practice giving yourself compassion, understanding, and most of all love because when you can offer this to yourself everything changes. You won’t be attacking yourself over something that happened a decade or more ago. You won’t be using your past self to dictate the future anymore. You won’t stop yourself because of that negative inner track and best of all you’ll be able to release a lot of weight you’ve been carrying around that isn’t your load to carry anymore.
Once you’re able to implement this on a regular basis it not only changes your entire world but it also overflows into your relationships with others, with your friends, family members, kids, in-laws, co-workers, and strangers on the street. It’s one of the kindest and most feel-good feelings we can create.
So that being said let’s get started.
I did a podcast a while back in episode 38 about finding confidence in your past so I want to branch out from that podcast and offer you more insight and helpful exercises to adopt into your life.
One thing we have to remember is what your past is and it’s either two things:
1.) Information – like factual information – which is really bland, like, I went to Lincoln high school
Or 2.) it’s a story and stories are optional, malleable, and just a group of thoughts strung together.
This is important to know because we tend to think of our past story as fact and we use it to criticize, belittle, and hold us back from moving forward. Which obviously isn’t productive or helpful. So let’s talk about this more.
A lot of us have this idea and belief that in order to move forward and overcome your non-productive habits you have to be mean to yourself. Otherwise, we see it as letting ourselves off the hook, maybe being complacent, or that if we’re kind to ourselves then we’re just going to do it again and so out of fear we take the other road and we say and think terrible things about ourselves and while that approach can work temporarily – although it feels terrible it doesn’t work in the long term.
In fact, it just moves us closer and closer in the opposite direction because we’re hard-wired to avoid pain – which is negative feelings, negative self-chatter, negative anything – avoid that and the next step then is to seek pleasure, seek relief and for a lot of us we turn to food, to shopping, to social media, to our buffers and that creates more negativity for us because now we’re overweight, now we’re broke, now we’re wasting time on social media instead of moving forward.
So even though it seems like it’s helping and it’s creating results it’s not in the long run and it’s just compounding terrible habits of negativity into your life.
The antidote to this then is compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and love.
I know this is a hard concept because people don’t want to love themselves yet, they can’t. They’re too close to that negative self-talk track that they don’t believe that they deserve love, kindness, or compassion of any kind and like I mentioned this then takes them right back into that primitive wiring loop of avoiding pain, seek pleasure and so we get stuck, our list of cringe-worthy past experiences grows longer and we stop ourselves from moving forward because who are we?
The antidote really is compassion, kindness, and forgiveness – which I believe all operate under the umbrella of love.
So one aspect of the confidence model that I teach is Knowing and embracing all the parts of you and being able to trust in yourself and in your abilities – those three steps make up the confidence model and what’s so good about this is taking that first step of getting to know yourself in all aspects is the springboard to helping your move forward.
We think we know ourselves and I promise you you don’t – not to the extent that you could know. We’re all doing the best we can – we always are and sometimes our best kinda stinks – really stinks but we really are doing the best we can in that moment.
People cringe when I say that because they think they should be doing better, that was clearly not their best but when we think this way we’re just creating resistance and mind drama to what is.
We don’t accept what happened because we think we should be better, we should be different, we shouldn’t have done that and I want to tell you that you need to pause and question that.
I’ve said this numerous times before but Byron Katie says, “ You can argue with reality. You’ll lose. But just 100% of the time” – that’s all
And this is what we’re doing when we can’t accept where we’re at and that that was our best at that time.
So I always invite my clients and myself to get to acceptance first. This looks like, “that happened, now what?”
It’s in the past – it’s just Information or a story and I’m telling you the story is probably not serving you. So stick to the information.
I ate a tube of Oreos.
I said words to a friend.
I did not work on my goals.
I did not call so in so.
It’s really bland when you say it factually. But it’s also one of the most compassionate and kind things you can offer yourself. The story is what hurts.
I shouldn’t have eaten those cookies. I’m so fat. I have no self-control. I hate myself.
See the difference? I ate x amount of Oreos vs I hate myself.
It’s not what you did that created the negativity but how you chose to interpret it, how you chose to tell that story and if you stand back and observe yourself – is that story helping you in the long run?
100% of the time our negative self-track isn’t productive it’s counterproductive and it’s hurting you. If you followed your model it might look something like this:
C: I ate 10 Oreos
T: I shouldn’t have eaten those, I always do this. I have no self-control. I’m going to be fat forever. I hate that I did that.
F: shame, guilt
A: not want to talk to anyone, do anything, just want to hide
R: you’re not progressing anymore, you’re not moving forward, and you’re practicing a belief that isn’t going to help you.
Dr. Everett L. Worthington Jr., Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University said, “A lot of people struggle with self-condemnation or self-blame because they’ve either done something they feel was wrong and they feel guilty, or because they feel that they’re wrong or defective in some way and they feel a sense of shame,”
Notice in both cases he says, “they feel…” which isn’t really a feeling but rather a thought. They think they did something wrong and they shouldn’t have and they feel guilty and ashamed. Or they think they’re wrong or defective and that creates guilt, shame, and fear.
It’s never because of the thing, the circumstance, and always, always because of how you’re interpreting it.
I’m betting there are things in your past that you’re still carrying that feels awful, that brings up a lot of shame and when you think about them you just cringe. You immediately create this guilty feeling and it’s not helping you move forward. It also interferes with the positive things in your life.
We use those past experiences as weapons against us. We don’t deserve things now because of our past. When we don’t get what we want we think it’s because we’re being punished about our past. When we don’t click with certain people we use our past as evidence that something really is wrong with us and it’s no wonder they don’t like us.
These things aren’t helping you. They’re not productive and they’re certainly not healing. Things that go unresolved for periods of time tend to fester and create more pain, more drama, more suffering.
The most helpful thing you can do is to take a look at the wound. Actually think about what happened and if you’re groaning I get it but listen, you need to look at your wound from an observers standpoint. This is looking at it factually not through the lens of your story. Remember, it’s your story that carries the sting, not the circumstance.
Just write out all the facts no interpretations, no should or shouldn’ts. Just facts. This is really the first step in the confidence model too – knowing you – all of you. That happened, now what?
Facts only. This step alone will alleviate so much pain because it’s not the circumstances that hurt. It’s the interpretation that hurts and when you separate the facts from the fiction you start to see that maybe that story is optional.
Then you can move into embracing all the parts of you – this is where a lot of people get self-forgiveness mixed up because they can’t embrace themselves when they’re tied so closely to their story. So you have to take out the story and then when you do that there’s room for options. You see that there’s a possibility that your story isn’t fact but really just a story and do I want to keep that story if it hurts me?
So I want you to step back and look at the past from a future perspective. One of understanding and compassion.
It’s not as hard as it sounds. It’s understanding where you coming from. If a friend came to you in tears with her painful story the last thing you’d do is jump on board and start berating her too. You’d help her understand what’s going on, why it’s okay, how it’s going to be okay.
I love the practice of forgiving my past self and anything that happened whether that’s 5 minutes ago or 15 years ago it’s in the past. So this looks like looking at our past self as if she were a good friend and you know you’d forgive your friends just about anything.
So it’s a three-part process – not hard.
1.) address who it is. Like this:
“To the girl who…”
2.) see if you can find a reason why she did what she did and there’s always a reason why and it’s always fueled by a feeling because as you know feelings move us into action so no matter what happened what actions were taken it always came because of a feeling.
So now it looks like this,
“To the girl who didn’t try out for the swim team because she was insecure about her body…”
And the last step 3.) add, “I forgive her”
It’s powerful and healing.
“To the girl who didn’t try out for the swim team because she was insecure about her body, I forgive her”
“to the girl who overate because she was feeling lonely, I forgive her”
“to the girl who hid and cried in her closet because she was feeling rejected and forgotten by her friends, I forgive her”
“To the girl who said mean things to her family because she was feeling misunderstood and defensive, I forgive her”
“To the girl who tried so hard to fit in coming across crazy and needy, I forgive her”
See how this works?
More importantly, do you notice how it feels?
There are things that you won’t want to forgive yourself for and to that, I invite you to think about this, Thomas S. Monson said, “Blame keeps wounds open, only forgiveness heals”
If you want to move forward and heal yourself it has to start with forgiveness. Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Somehow forgiveness accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way.”
And this one, “When the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves. Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive – as well as the one who is most in need of our forgiveness – is the person looking back at us in the mirror.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
It’s important to note that acceptance and forgiveness are completely different from condoning and endorsing. It’s not letting yourself off the hook or being calloused. It’s freeing you from a weight that isn’t necessary to carry so that you can move forward and become the kind of person you want to be.
The more you’re able to practice this kindness with yourself the easier it becomes to offer this to others as well and the easier it will be to mend relationships, strengthen connections, and create unity.
The more you do this the less likely you’ll make those same mistakes again. Instead of berating yourself for over-eating, you’ll love yourself enough to choose a more productive path. Lasting change can only come from a place of compassion and love.
These are the feelings we all crave and need as human beings. When we’re able to feel that love the less we’re going to outsource that or look in other places for it. When you feel good you do good.
Every time something triggers you and you recall an unpleasant experience just pause and offer yourself this profound gift. I forgive her.
It helps you rewrite the story but this time from a place of understanding and growth. You’re not that same girl anymore. Even if it’s the same offense you’re not her anymore, you’ve grown. You don’t have to punish yourself anymore.
Understand what you were lacking (it’ll always be a feeling) and why you did that –
Like, “because I was afraid,”
“because I was insecure”
Because I felt ugly
Because I felt unloved
Because I felt unwanted
Because I felt unheard
Because I jealous
Always a feeling. When you take a few minutes to do this for yourself your story changes. This time you’re coming at it from an understanding and compassionate perspective. Compassion always leads to love.
Love is the most powerful feeling and force in the world.
Love changes everything. Let love and forgiveness change you.
To the girl who…I forgive her
It’s transformative work.
You can do this.
If this is hard for you, I want to invite you to come get a free coaching session with me and I’ll help you out. You can go to www.thecatalystcoaching.com and schedule that.
Okay, friends. Have a beautiful week!