BUT, Have You Forgiven Yourself?

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You’ve forgiven them…BUT, have you forgiven yourself?

Compassion leads us to connecting to making a stronger connection to others.  But compassion begins with ourselves.  Are you compassionate toward you and the choices you have made?  We are often more forgiving of others than ourself.

In my book, Leadership Energy:  Unlocking the Secrets to Your Success, I describe one of the energy models as iCare energy.  Here is an excerpt from the book that tells a story about getting yourself “off the hook”.

Dr. Beatrice Berry author of I’m On My Way but Your Foot is On My Head, states, “Forgiveness is not letting someone off the hook, it is getting off the hook they put you on.” Who do you need to forgive? Why? While the other person may have hurt you, you also played a role in that relationship. What role did you play? What do you need to forgive about yourself?

Consider Linda. Linda accepted a position with a new company. She has been at the company for three weeks and realizes this was a bad decision. Her co-workers are unwelcoming and barely speak to her. She is quickly thrown into work with little to no support or direction. When she asks to meet with her manager, he is too busy and is told to figure it out on her own. Over the next eighteen months, she continually feels rejected. This did not bring out her best qualities. She becomes sarcastic and closes any efforts to build relationships with her co-workers. She loses her optimistic spark and often feels she needs to guard and protect herself. She finally decides to leave the organization.

For the next two years, she becomes angry every time she thinks of this experience. While she has moved to a new and more accepting position, the emotional impact of the previous position remains. As she speaks of this, I ask her about forgiveness. She replies, “Those guys! What jerks! Why should I forgive them?” I then ask about forgiving herself and she begins to cry. “I should have known better. There were so many signs during the interview. I should not have stayed so long.” She has a long list of what she “should” have done. For the next several weeks we focus on activities to forgive herself. As anger and sadness toward herself subsides, so does the anger toward her former employer.

Linda’s story is an example of “letting herself off the hook.” Lack of forgiveness toward self is often the underlying issue with closed iCare energy. When you are giving too much to others, you are often doing so because you feel inadequate and need to make up for something. When you refuse to give to others, you are often protecting yourself from making another mistake. In either case, you cannot open the iCare energy without first forgiving yourselves.

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