We may need to forgive ourselves for the ways in which we have been unforgiving.
Many of us are familiar with the idea that we need to forgive ourselves as much as anyone else. However, forgiveness does not usually happen in isolation. Reconciliation often has a close connection to forgiveness and becoming reconciled with ourselves is part of the process of forgiving ourselves.
To reconcile means that we re-establish a relationship. To reconcile with ourselves, we need to re-establish a relationship with any unforgiving parts of ourselves which we have been avoiding. It is difficult to forgive anyone else if we have made peace with ourselves. In a sense we need to forgive ourselves for being unforgiving, then we can forgive more deeply.
Holding negative judgments about ourselves is makes it harder to forgive as it does not create the type of inner climate where forgiveness can flourish. Letting go of negative self judgments – including any feelings that “I am not forgiving enough” – allows us to become more forgiving.
We may need to heal a split which could have arisen inside us from our struggle to learn to forgive. We may need to stop brow-beating ourselves with how we ‘should’ be more forgiving and relate to ourselves as we are at this time. We need to give ourselves time to get used to being more forgiving and not try and bully ourselves into it. As we learn to reconcile with the unforgiving parts of ourselves, and also learn how to win their co-operation, we naturally become more forgiving. We can then more readily release any guilt or shame which we may have been carrying from a belief that we are not forgiving enough.
As we forgive ourselves for the ways we are unforgiving, we become more at peace with ourselves, and therefore more in an inner state to be forgiving.