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Self-Forgiveness Post Relationship

Let me paint a picture for you…. A girl grows up in a society where they make partnership her biggest source of satisfaction. She reads books and watches TV shows and movies that state if you give your voice, your heart, or your body, your reward will be an amazing man, happiness, and true love.

A boy grows up in this same society. It tells him his biggest sense of satisfaction is power and accumulation. It tells him he can be as ruthless, manipulative, and aggressive as he wants to be in this pursuit. It rewards him faster if he possesses those characteristics.

Girl meets boy and as planned girl gives her entire herself up to him because how else will she receive the ultimate form of satisfaction? Boy, in turn, takes everything she is willing to give because society rewards this, especially when you are a man. The girl expects a return, but the boy wants more power and time to accumulate and decides to leave her to see what else is out there.

The same society that taught the girl, also taught others, and so when she tells her story to her friends, to social media, and her family they all ask, “What did YOU do?” The formula is to give all of yourself to a prospect and receive a man as a prize. So, when you don’t get a man, it MUST be your fault. People start to despise her because her mistakes make them uncomfortable. It makes them think about themselves, their mistakes, and their patriarchal training.

The world says to give all, but it does not say to be weak. They start to scorn her and say she deserves it because the world said to give all, but it did not say to be unintelligent. They start to laugh at her because she isn’t perceptible enough to dig through every word to find the lies. So, the girl spends the rest of her life wishing she would’ve done better because even though the world created a perfect structure to create disempowered women, it’s her fault.

Do you see how society sets women up to fail and suffer? Do you see how much guilt and shame are manufactured for women? Do you see the hypocrisy, because I do! There is not one person in the history of humanity who has outsmarted mistakes. There is not one person in the history of humanity who has never been lied to or duped. If you are alive, you’ve made l mistakes. That is the nature of life. So, why continue to compare yourself against a standard that no one in the history of humanity has ever achieved? Why are you so hard on yourself for not being superhuman? Why are you so mad or so sad that you’re a human being and did something that all humans do?

Self-forgiveness is hard and if you have low self-esteem or low self-worth the process is even harder (sorry loves). Self-forgiveness is described as, “a willingness to abandon self-resentment in the face of one's acknowledged objective wrong while fostering compassion, generosity, and love toward oneself." (Enright 1996)[1]

One way to help you move towards self-forgiveness is to understand that you are not a superhuman and a mistake is something everyone in the world has done. So, stop making yourself special in this instance and look at your mistakes as common as getting sick. Everyone has gotten sick. It is an uncontrollable part of life, and so are mistakes. Beyond understanding mistakes in that context, below are some reasons why you should forgive yourself, how to forgive yourself, and common misconceptions:

Why you should forgive yourself.

  1. You worked with the tools you knew. You only have the map your community gave you, how else are you supposed to know there are other ways out there?

  2. You can become addicted. It may hurt but after a while shame, guilt, and self-hatred, can feel comfortable. It can become your equilibrium if you sit in that state.

  3. You are judging yourself against a hypothetical community or person you do not know. Most people aren’t providing you with the true picture of their life and withhold information to create an avatar that will impress you

  4. Free's you from bitterness and knocks that chip off your shoulder[2]

  5. Shame and guilt register in your body, so forgiveness can positively impact the body and relieve back tension, headaches, and anxiety attacks.

  6. It is a reminder of humanity.

How to Forgive Yourself

  1. Stop Ruminating. Like, stop it. If you hear thoughts that are harsh about yourself, tell that critical voice to stop. Call it by another name because it surely isn’t you! Your highest self would never demean you like that!

  2. Make amends. If you were wrong, apologize, make it right, and change your behavior. This is how you improve. Besides, no one on earth has improved through mistakes.

  3. Write out how you feel. Sometimes, if we don’t release the pain, it just circulates in our body or our mind. Write out your pain, and shame on a piece of paper. Then, burn it and flush it or release it in the sky.

  4. .If you are still recovering from the mistake, write out a plan of action. Create a formula. Remember anything will work if you believe it will. Also, seeing yourself at the end of the process helps you create a hopeful vision of yourself.

  5. Write out how it feels to forgive yourself, the practice will help you feel lighter than you feel now.

  6. Have a more loving and trusting relationship with yourself. Believe and know that you can protect yourself. Know that you are armed with new information and that makes you empowered.

  7. Look at your past self as inspiration. The pain, the silliness, and the failure can be transformed into a project. It can become a book, a play, an app, or a service you can market because you’ve been through it, and came out ok.

  8. Get a therapist and if you don’t have the funds self-study (watch YouTube videos, google your problem, and find what has been written on the subject)

  9. Once you forgive yourself, physically and mentally stop making yourself the bad guy. You’ve already forgiven yourself, and you’ve hopefully made amends, now stop making one mistake your whole identity.

  10. Replace guilt with gratitude. Instead of shaming yourself for everything you did wrong, start to look for the moments for which you should be grateful. Gratitude journals are godsends. [3]

Finally, structures have a large part to do with how we operate interpersonally. It is how we understand guilt, and shame, and process self-forgiveness. I also understand that acknowledging the structures does not mean that you can escape or ignore accountability. So, if you did do something wrong, or you did something where you knew better, accept it, understand what inspired your choices, understand your triggers, and use that information to make better decisions in the future. Think of the process like a science experiment, you see what did not work so that you can have the best results on the next trial.



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