How to Forgive Yourself
This is your first choice in the healing process. You cannot change the past, but you can own the present moment.
Rabbi Irwin Kula says there are many ways to meditate, but all of them have to do with not resisting your feelings. Through meditation, you can observe these feeling; you discover the self. This is your first choice in the healing process—you make the choice to meditate. You cannot change the past, but you can own the present moment.
When you begin to meditate, make a commitment to continue for three months. Set aside ten to fifteen minutes each day, and choose a comfortable place for your meditation. Take seven to ten deep breaths, and allow the feeling of guilt (or whatever you're feeling) to come to mind. Breathe into it, and feel where you feel it in your body — your neck, your shoulders, your heart. The key result is that you will begin to realize that you are not the feeling, you're having the feeling.
This exercise will help you change your thought patterns.
Historically, many religions have had some sort of mantra, or chant, that was said daily. Because this practice is not as common today, you can create your own or repeat this outloud to yourself every day: "I forgive myself." This is going to feel awkward at first, but keep doing it. This exercise is about changing your thought patterns.
Recording your thoughts in a journal is a valuable way of releasing your feelings.
Rabbi Kula explains that journaling helps you chart different feelings. Each time you feel guilt during the day, write it down in your journal. You will be able to track when you feel this, and why, which will help you begin to understand your guilt. The same goes for the good feelings you experience. Write down the moments when you feel joy and richness in your life, and you will begin to recognize the things that release that joy.
Learn how to consciously make a sacrifice in light of your desire for forgiveness.
You can do therapeutic work, or have a large network of people for support, but still not feel forgiven. That sort of forgiveness comes from a place of surrender. In all wisdom traditions, it was customary to give some kind of offering, or sacrifice, for atonement. You can create your own sacrifice by asking yourself, "What will be my offering?" It could be philanthropy, political activism—something that requires a sacrifice of your time, money or effort. The key is to consciously make that sacrifice in light of your desire for forgiveness.
Next: Dr. Phil's 5 steps to forgiving yourself