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The secret to inviting joy back in…self forgiveness

By Karen McMahon


Do you feel stuck in the past? Do you find that you are having trouble starting over?  What if the very thing that was keeping you stuck had to do with you and your unwillingness to forgive yourself for being…human?

On of my coaching groups was talking about starting over after divorce.  As we began looking at what we would do to take baby steps in that direction, a lot of anger surfaced.  While some anger was focused on our STBX (soon-to-be-ex), there was even more judgment heaped on ourselves that sounded something like this…

  • I should have known better
  • I should have tried harder
  • I should have been able to fix it
  • I was so stupid not to see
  • I am such a fool

…You get the idea

How might our pride be preventing us from achieving the life we desire?

  • Our self-condemnation about what we did wrong
  • Our belief that we should have been able to control that which was outside our control
  • Our unwillingness to see ourselves as imperfect and our mistakes as understandable (dare I say, even valuable).

When we look closer, what are we actually saying?

I am angry at myself for not seeing what now seems so obvious.  Okay, I didn’t, but I do now.  What have we learned and how can we use that going forward?

What if there are no mistakes?

I could have tried harder and changed my spouse or the situation through sheer will.  Perhaps we could have tried harder.  However, we do not have the power to control anyone but ourselves.  All we can do is our best and then let go of the outcome.

What if control is an illusion?

I didn’t do my best!  Okay, maybe I didn’t.  I did what I did for whatever my reasons.  How does it benefit us to beat ourselves up about it?  How might our experience be different if we could forgive ourselves for being less than perfect?

What if perfection is pride’s misconception?

When we don’t like the image in the mirror, we attempt to clean the mirror instead of addressing the image

Where we believe we can control others or our circumstances, we get caught in an unending struggle.  Instead of focusing on the one thing we do have control over, ourselves, we focus on our circumstances or the other person.  It is a lose-lose situation.  We lose the opportunity to learn and grow because we are not attending to our part in the situation and we expend energy attempting to change people and circumstances that we are impotent to affect.

Accepting that we have no control over anyone but ourselves requires us to humble ourselves; to put our ego in check.

Accepting that we are not perfect, that we make mistakes, requires us to humble ourselves; to put our ego in check.

Self-forgiveness requires humility.  I cannot control everything.  I am not perfect.  I do make mistakes. Our propensity to blame ourselves may in fact be our ego’s way of protecting our pride.

If you could forgive yourself for your part in your broken marriage, how might that help you move forward and begin to create a life you love?  What is holding you back from forgiving yourself?  What story might you be telling yourself?

If self condemnation and self judgment is holding you back from creating your new life, then the greatest gift you can give yourself is self forgiveness.

There are no mistakes, only opportunities

You are responsible for the effort, not the outcome

Make peace with yourself so that you can break the chains of self condemnation that keep you tethered to your past and barred from embracing your present and living into the possibilities of a life you love.

Find out if coaching is right for you.  Take a quick survey and see if you are ready to make a positive and lasting change in your life.  Click here to begin.

Chief Visionary: Karen McMahon

Karen McMahon

Our team of coaches at JBD is passionate about helping men and women navigate the emotional difficulties of relationships, breakups and divorce. We work together with you to open the possibility that your current relationship challenges can lead to a rewarding voyage of self-discovery and an immensely more pleasing life experience. Together we create a path to clarity. Find out if Coaching is right for you, and accept my gift of one FREE session.

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