This is the time of year when we make a lot of promises and vows to ourselves that we do not (or cannot) keep. We have an entire lifetime of past mistakes made out of ignorance or when we simply forget the fullness of love that we truly are. We create suffering and pain for ourselves and then learn and grow and create new desires from that pain. We hold on to beliefs and old fears and emotions that no longer serve us, but how do we let go of the weight and walk away from our past suffering, without leaving behind the facets of ourselves that made us who we are today?
We are many faceted beings and our “Self” has many parts. We are in a constant state of evolution, with new facets of ourselves constantly being created with every new desire and every lesson learned. We harbor past selves, future selves, the parts of our current self that feel connected to love and the parts that feel separate and lonely.
When a part of us begins to believe that we are the creator of our own reality, it is easy for that facet to want to just break free and continue the journey towards enlightenment without all the other, heavy, shadowed parts of us. We want to create instant manifestation, we want instant change and we want nothing more than to cut away all the parts of us that are holding us back. We are told to just let go of our past, to put down the heavy weight and walk unencumbered into the sunrise.
Honestly, I am guilty of wanting instant change and faster growth, but lately this notion has felt bittersweet to me. The idea is appealing, and I feel like I “should” want to be free of my past, but at the same time it feels like a betrayal and I wonder if there is another way. A way that all of me, all the parts, all the facets could walk into the sunrise together as one whole being.
I know one thing for sure…
Whenever I discover a “should” in my life, there is always a new perspective nearby.
So right now, I am tuning in, listening and writing down what comes up, in an attempt to shift and clarify my perspective on letting go of the past, just a little bit. I want to fine tune this notion of letting go just enough that I can clear away the “should”.
I also know that to find a new perspective, I need to ask some new questions. So my questions are…
What if all the past versions of myself were all worthy of love?
This includes all the shadowed facets, all the “selves” that I feel ashamed of, afraid of, guilty and blameful about. What if these past selves are just trapped in darkness and shackled by ignorance? What if there were a way to free all these facets and become one, bright, weightless whole?
This is where I believe that self-forgiveness comes in. I believe that…
“Self-forgiveness is a tool we can use to counteract the blame that arises within us when we begin to truly believe that reality does not happen to us, but rather that we are responsible for creating it.”
It is the tool that we can use to set our whole self free of the heavy weight of past mistakes and part beliefs and to prevent mistakes made in the future from adding to that weight as time passes by.
When a child makes a mistake in ignorance, is it right or just to hold that mistake against them forever? Of course not! What would harboring all that blame accomplish? Nothing, it would simply be a weight in our hearts, holding us back and limiting our growth.
All the heartbreak and pain and suffering I allowed myself to endure, all the people I hurt, all the mistakes I made, were made in ignorance or in forgetfulness or because my beliefs were based in fear and not in love.
There is no need to blame myself for the pain of my past and there is no need to blame other people (because no one can create MY reality). Blame, shame, hatred, and loneliness are all based in fear and are what create the darkness and weight of my past. Holding onto these perceptions of the past is what weighs me down and holds me back. Every facet of myself is equally worthy of love and light and I believe that this is equally true for you!
Forgiving ourselves for the reality that we created in the past and for the mistakes we will make in the future is how we release the weight without cutting away our past selves.
I want to think about loving and healing my past and bringing it with me as evidence of the lessons I have learned and as documentation of my journey towards becoming more myself.
There are many times, in meditation, where I have gone back and held my past selves as they screamed and cried, just giving them love and repeating to them softly “I love you, I accept you, I forgive you, you are not wrong!” and I may have to do that many more times before they are able to stand up off the floor and accept that love.
But I am willing to do that work, because I do not want to leave behind all the beautiful past versions of myself, I just want to set them free and give them love and forgive them. I also realized, that I can ask other people for forgiveness (and I have) and I can ask the universe, or god(dess) or source for forgiveness (and I have), but that does not change the fact that I still need to forgive myself before I can move on with the freedom I desire.
I hope that this perspective gave you something to think about or at least inspired you to revisit your self-love and self-forgiveness practice. I hope that, if you have never tried self-forgiveness, that you are able to find ways of practicing that work for you and feel right and powerful to you.
For me, when I feel an old weight from the past trying to limit my present, I sit with the feelings as they come up with acceptance and love and forgiveness. Then, when I have the time, I meditate and visualize the past version of myself that most represents that old weight that came up most recently and I have an interaction during which I extend my acceptance and forgiveness and ask for that in return. I have found this to be a very humbling exercise and it tends to make me realize the extent to which I have been harboring resentment towards myself as well as irrational levels of pain caused by old beliefs I didn’t know I had.
I am sure that there are many, many other ways to practice self-forgiveness and I would love to hear about your practices in the comments below.
Sending my love to you as always,