Here is how I began to free myself from the bondage of self-condemnation and began the journey of self-forgiveness:
𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗽 𝗢𝗻𝗲: I wrote down everything I could not forgive myself for on paper. Then, I looked at each item and attached the words "I forgive you...." to the end of each sentence.
I then said out loud: "I forgive you for not finishing the 4th year of university - I forgive you for introducing Nicole to cocaine - I forgive you for allowing Tiny (a puppy) to be taken away from you because of active addiction - I forgive you for being dishonest with your mom, dad, brother and sister over many years of addiction - I forgive you for cheating on your now ex-wife - I forgive you for trying to kill yourself - I forgive you for believing you were worthless, less than and not good enough.
Trust me; the list was extensive after years of addiction. It was the beginning of my healing, but it was still not enough!
𝐒𝐭𝐞𝐩 𝐭𝐰𝐨: I had to become willing to share my deepest secrets of non-forgiveness with another human being; it's the only way through. It's not about condoning behaviors that hurt others; it's about self-forgiveness. If amends is needed, of course, it’s paramount we make them.
𝐒𝐭𝐞𝐩 𝟑: I discovered important teaching from A Course in Miracles (ACIM) that opened my heart to forgiveness like never before. The course says, "The Source (God) does not know forgiveness because God is LOVE so it cannot forgive only because IT has never condemned." In other words, it is only the ego and toxic shame that stops us from knowing all is forgiven at all times because the Non-Dual Life Force is LOVE, so it does not know condemnation.
So the only thing holding us back from forgiveness is ourselves and making our amends. It's paramount if we want to experience peace because there can be no peace where unforgiveness exists. Forgiveness is the gateway to letting go of our past programming, especially the dogma of some religions.
𝐒𝐭𝐞𝐩 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐫: Understanding that much of our non-forgiveness towards ourselves is directly the result of addiction. Knowing this will make it easier to let go and forgive ourselves because we were ill, not bad people.
After doing this important vulnerable work, my shadow and I became ONE, and I made peace with myself.
Satnam (truth is our identity) Paul Noiles