Forgive ourselves for all harm we may have caused, even if it was well-intended.
Instruction: Forgive yourself.
What is implied in Step Nine is that we will forgive ourselves for all “religious” harm we may have caused someone, but we also want to forgive ourselves for any and all harm we may have caused in any form to any individual. Many people find it easier to forgive the entire human race than to forgive themselves. One problem with being unable to forgive ourselves is that we continue to accumulate more and more mishaps, mistakes, and wrongful deeds that we believe need to be forgiven. Once in a while, it would be nice to be able to clean the slate and start anew. Forgiveness can do that for us, and it can occur not just once in a while but on a regular basis.
Many people have degrees of errors and some kind of arbitrary grading scale. Some people’s reasoning seems to go something like this: “I can forgive myself for my actions yesterday, but what I did last month, or last year, or fifty years ago was so awful I may never be able to forgive myself.” Once again, I’m reminded that some of these people find it easier to forgive others for the exact same things that they don’t seem to be able to forgive in their own lives. Being able to forgive ourselves is often as difficult as being able to love ourselves. They work together. If we keep a running tally of our personal offenses and see ourselves as monsters unworthy of forgiveness and love, we will struggle all our lives with this issue, and it can cause us to feel unlovable. We will find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships, and we may even find our physical health affected by the guilt and shame we carry with us.
Today’s Assignment is to take inventory of the things in your life that you have done that you have never forgiven yourself for. Some of these unforgiven moments may have stayed with you for years. Perhaps it was a time you said something that hurt someone’s feelings. You might not have known about it for years. Perhaps you had a moment of selfishness and took credit for something when someone else was the one deserving the praise. All too often, we hold on to things that could have been released decades ago. As memories surface — and you never want to force these to the surface, but simply allow them to come in their own time — simply take a moment to grant yourself forgiveness. It is that simple.
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