A friend forgives another friend for gossiping about her. A husband forgives a wife for lying to him about her intimate relationship with another man. A mother forgives the man who murdered her daughter. The human capacity to forgive even the deepest wrongs is awe-inspiring.
For many people, forgiving others provides liberation from anger and grievance that leads to a richer and happier life. But there is an even deeper peace to be found through what might be the hardest act of all—forgiving ourselves.
The first part of any conflict we must resolve is not between “me and my neighbor,” but between “me and me.” So believes author and therapist Thom Rutledge, who has written extensively on forgiveness and self-forgiveness.
In his book The Self-Forgiveness Handbook: A Practical and Empowering Guide, Rutledge writes that the resentment and grudges we hold against ourselves are every bit as destructive as those we harbor toward others. Every time you tune in to the inner dialogue that says you are not smart enough, thin enough, successful enough, famous enough, popular enough or any version of NOT ENOUGH or berate yourself for what you did or didn’t do, you are choosing to live in blame and resentment. In the words of Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh, to truly practice forgiveness we must first forgive ourselves for not being perfect.
In her book The Unburdened Heart: Five Keys to Forgiveness and Freedom, author Mariah Burton Nelson writes, “When we treat ourselves with love and compassion, we become nicer to everyone else. We become less defensive. We don’t worry so much what others’ judgments might be, because we’re not judging ourselves.”
Forgiving yourself is not a self-indulgent way to let yourself off the hook for behaving badly. Rather, it is the result of looking deeply within yourself, recognizing when our plans go awry, taking responsibility for our actions and loving ourselves in spite of it all. Fred Luskin, psychologist and cofounder of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, writes, “Forgiving is not about condoning bad behavior; it’s about taking responsibility and becoming a hero and not a victim in the story you tell.”
To be able to say, “I behaved (thoughtlessly, unkindly, naively, etc.), I forgive myself for not being perfect and I commit to doing better in the future” could be the biggest—and most healing—act of all. When you can forgive the imperfections in yourself, it’s a lot easier to forgive them in others.
“Self-forgiveness is a commitment to love yourself no matter what,” Nelson says. “It’s the generous act of giving yourself a break. Remembering that you’re human. Offering yourself the loving kindness that you might offer, on your best days, to those you love the most, no matter what they’ve done.”
Author’s content adapted under license, © 2010 Claire Communications
FREE Coaching Opportunity
If someone offered you a precious gift for an hour of your time, would you be interested? That’s what I offer with a Complimentary Coaching Session. A comp session isn’t a brief demo or sample. It’s a full 45-minute coaching session focused on current real life challenges of your choosing plus 15 minutes to discuss your experience and any questions you may have about my approach to coaching.
There is no expectation or pressure to hire me as your ongoing coach. Providing meaningful, substantive comp sessions with no obligation is one of the ways I demonstrate gratitude and give back to the Universe a small portion of the abundance and opportunity it bestows on me daily.
The real value of a comp session? PRICELESS!
Those who have experienced comp sessions will tell you, when you come to your session open to the possibilities for transformation and fully committed to your own growth, big breakthroughs can happen!
What clients say about
the power of coaching with Deborah
“I knew Deborah before she became a Professional Life Coach. I’ve been amazed at how she has changed her life. When I decided it was time to begin making decisions about the next phase of my life, I knew immediately that Deborah was the person I wanted to work with. Her personal and professional experiences help her guide clients through coaching in a way that is individualized and delightfully eye-opening. Her warmth and sensitivity are immediately apparent, even over the phone. With gentle encouragement and permission, she will guide you through an examination of your life, including difficult experiences. She will help you gain insight from your past choices and then explore possibilities for moving forward in less encumbered ways. When you work with Deborah, your life will take on new meaning and your potential will be limitless!” Chris
“The work I did with Deborah continues to change my life. While I have learned many valuable lessons from her, the greatest was the deep insight that is available to me when I listen to and learn from my own inner wisdom. Her intuition, discernment and encouragement have taught me to trust my own intuition—creating new paths and possibilities for my life. One of Deborah’s great gifts is helping others respect and connect with their inner guidance and through that connection, to form a deeper, more meaningful bond with the collective wisdom and energy of all.” Ryan
Click here to sign up for a 60-minute
complimentary coaching session with Deborah.
What readers say about
the impact of Deborah’s book
“With the same energy and determination she applied in the professional world, Deborah has taken her considerable expertise in human potential and has now set her sights on the largest co-op in the world, humanity. ‘Choose Your Energy, Change Your Life!’ tackles what I believe are the most important questions we each must ask: who am I, where did I come from, why am I here, and what’s love got to do with it (cue Tina Turner)? These are not trivial or philosophical questions for the answers change what we do, why we do it, who and what we love. I am grateful for the opportunity to walk with Deborah on this critical journey.” JD Messenger, Award Winning Author of “11 Days in May: The Conversation That Will Change Your Life”
“To me the great thing about Deborah’s book is how ‘accessible’ she makes the ideas. The Oxygen Mask is probably the single best example. As with so many of the ideas in the book, she explains the principle in such a simple way that it’s got universal application to virtually any reader. I can imagine people having multiple moments of ‘Oh….I get it!’ throughout the book. The stories from her own life as well as stories of her clients’ experiences become stories about all of us—stories about which the reader will think, ‘I am living my own version of this.’ Well done—bravo!” Joe Calloway, Author of “Be The Best At What Matters Most”