How do you forgive yourself?

One day, he slapped me.  I actually laughed!  The physical pain of him slapping me was so much less than all the pain I had suffered from my own thoughts.  Two years of believing he would kill my family if I didn't stay with him. I had no doubt he would kill them, and my thoughts had robbed me of a lot of joy.  I lived in terror that my secret would be found out.  I lived a dual life.  One that everyone else saw, and one that I kept hidden, fearing that my whole family would be dead if anyone found out I was his hostage.

I finally forgave him.  That was the easy part.  I understood where he came from and why he did what he did out of his own fear.  That I could forgive.  That felt good.  That felt like a huge burden had been lifted, but it wasn't the end of the forgiveness.

I still felt the burden of the memories, hanging out with me.  One day I realized, I needed to forgive me!  I needed to forgive me for letting that happen.  For not having the courage to stand up to it.  I had to forgive myself for holding onto terror for two years when a mere slap pulled me out of it.  Really, a slap was enough to stop the terror I had been holding inside of me?

Here are the things I did to forgive myself:

1. RECOGNITION:  I recognized that I carried the feeling with me that I needed to forgive.  The feelings that I had let myself down.  That I had not been strong enough.  That I had not been ENOUGH.  
2. CELEBRATION: I celebrated that I had gotten out of it.  That time didn't matter, that I had figured it out.  I celebrated that!  Celebration feels so good.
3. FORGIVE ME: This had to be an action.  I wrote down my forgiveness.  I pictured that young lady, walking with God, and God forgiving me and hugging me.  I then pictured me, as I am now, hugging that young lady, telling her how proud I was of her, for doing what she needed to do.  For taking care of herself and her family.  Telling her how proud I was that she forgave the man that terrorized her.  Then, I gave her permission to forgive herself.  In this moment, of hugging her, I knew that the forgiveness was complete, and I was strong and whole again.  I was ENOUGH.  I was FORGIVEN.

Have you thought about things you have forgiven others for but forgot to forgive yourself?  For those of us with horses, there is so much we can do before we know better that can be hard to forgive ourselves for.  I know I had a number of things.  As things come up, take them one by one, and go back to that person you were and forgive them, in that moment.

Sometimes, we can get caught up in the past.  If you just need a break and want a few ideas to feel like you are a kid again, here is my free 5 keys to feeling like a kid again!


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