Shame is a potent and powerful feeling, something that we all experience, but something that none of us want to. It is so hard to handle because it attacks our self-worth and self-confidence. It almost always uncovers some sort of deeper issue within us, something that we struggle to overcome from our past or a toxic pattern that we've fallen victim to again. Because of this, shame is an important feeling since we can learn great lessons from it. Yet, these lessons will go unseen if we are unable to forgive ourselves for the mistakes that we have made and only carry the shame. The phrase, “carry the mistake to your grave” rings true when we neglect to forgive ourselves.
Forgiveness is paramount when it comes to personal recovery. Without it we will forever the continue cycle of shaming ourselves and digging ourselves into deeper holes. When we focus on forgiveness, we hold ourselves accountable for the mistakes that we made and recognize that our self-worth is still infinite and that we are still lovable. It is hard to balance the feelings of compassion and shame simultaneously, but, through practicing personal forgiveness, we are slowly able to learn the mechanisms of how to best to achieve this.
This past week I did something that set me a step behind in my own journey of recovery. The trauma that I'm recovering from is certainly not my fault, but the steps I take for self-improvement and healing are something that only I am solely accountable for. When I neglected that this past week, I fell out of alignment and slipped up with something that I've been working really hard to recover from. The feelings of shame that resulted were intense and I struggled to forgive myself, but I have slowly been able to. This created the inspiration for this article; to share a modality at has aided me in the past and something that I will directly pursue in the next coming days.
This meditation is extremely powerful and emotive. It focuses on recognizing the mistake we made while simultaneously recognizing our self-worth and ability to be unconditionally loved. Forgiveness is rooted in self-love because, without his compassion, we will only focus on the shame and find it hard to revisit our recovery and the steps we take in the right direction for self-improvement and healing. When we combine compassion with the difficult feelings, we can experience a deep release of emotion and profound healing.
Because of the emotive nature of this exercise, I suggest journaling or having the space to reflect in a safe manner after this meditation. It may not be necessary for everyone, but it is expected and natural for emotions to arise and strongly come forwards. Because of the focus on self-love, emotions won't be something beyond what we can handle; they will instead just being a deep cleansing and release. This release is where the forgiveness happens.
Meditation for Self Forgiveness:
- Begin like you would with any meditation, finding a still and quiet place where you will not be disturbed and where you feel safe and content. Take some deep breaths and center yourself as best as possible. This meditation is ideally pursued when there has been some distance from the initial mistake which you're struggling to forgive yourself from. If you're too overwhelmed with the emotions of the moment, take some time for self-care and processing before pursuing this meditation. Usually two or three days after the mistake is a decent time to pursue this, but it depends on the mistake itself. It can still heal mistakes made years ago, too.
- When you are in a place that you deem is best for you to pursue this exercise, slowly close your eyes or let your gaze softly settle. Continue some deep breathing and, if you feel that it is right for you, you can place your hand over your heart at this time. This will work to remind you that this is an exercise of self-love and that the uncovering of your mistake is still something that deems you worthy of unconditional and infinite compassion.
- Imagine yourself in a personal sanctuary, some location that you feel safe within and that you know is a meditative scene where only healing can take place. Perhaps this is an ocean, a forest glade, a desert, home or other structure, or simply a field of space or light. Take some time to really settle yourself in this landscape and, in your mind, affirm that you are safe and will be healed here. You already begin to feel a sense of love and compassion from this environment.
- When you have settled yourself in this place, you see a glowing light in front of you, radiating the color that you feel best represents love, compassion, and healing. This light is pulsing and energetic, and you can feel that it comes directly from the Universe itself. You begin to feel yourself connect with this light as it reaches into your heart center, inspiring a sense of self-love within you.
- Within this light you begin to see a being, the shape slowly becoming clearer and more visible as the light swirls around the figure. As you watch, this light reveals that you are within it, as you see a mirror image of yourself coated with this loving and healing light. You are watching this light travel into your heart, surround your being, and fully protects you. You are completely absorbed in this loving light, watching it from the view of someone witnessing a miraculous phenomenon. You are aware that, even though you are only watching, you can feel this deep sense of resonant compassion as this light douses your mirrored self with its radiance.
- You begin to recognize at this light is a light of forgiveness and is capable of completely filling you with love and compassion. As you witness all of this, you also realize that the person in the midst of this light—you—is loved and seen as worthy by the Universe. Even despite the mistakes that you have made, you are deserving of unconditional love and healing. As you come to understand this, you say (aloud or in your mind) “I am worthy and I am lovable.”
- Without resistance, you accept any and all emotions that come forward at this moment, continuing to watch this glorious light surround you and restore your sense of self-worth and motivation to continue recovering and healing from your mistake.
- At this point, you reflect on the time when you made the mistake and the difficult aftermath that it had on your emotions. This time is something that you visually capture in a glowing bubble—the whole scene contained within a gentle sphere. As you remember this, you see this bubble drift into the light in front of you, popping and dissipating into the unconditional compassion of the Universe itself. You willingly release it from you, knowing that this mistake is in the past and that now is the time for healing, self-love, and forgiveness.
- At this time, you may choose to continue to say self affirming sentences: “I'm worthy,” “I am love,” “I'm capable,” “I'm able to continue my healing path,” or anything of that positive nature. When you say each of these, you feel the light in front of you resonate with the power that charges your phrase with meaning and intention. Even if you have doubts, this light takes them away and heals them with unending compassion.
- You may also, if you feel that you need to atone for your mistake (whether through interacting with other people or through self examination), ask this light how it is in your best and highest interest to do so. Simply sit in silence and listen for visuals, sentences, and ideas that come forth to best serve you along your healing journey. After hearing this, you also begin to feel a sense of motivation and inspiration to achieve what you have uncovered and to continue your path of healing.
- After asking for this advice, you may wish to once again returned to the affirmations or to simply witness yourself being within this healing light again. You feel it protecting you and healing you, a nurturing Source filling you with anything and everything that you need. You once again recognize just how loved you are and how worthy you are of joy, contentment, and peace.
- You may choose to continue revisiting the steps of asking for advice and the affirmations, and you can do so for as long as you wish until you feel this meditation has reached its time to close. If you were content with just doing so once, you may close the meditation now.
- For closing, return back to a gentle breathing after thanking your sanctuary and the Universe for the healing energy they have provided you. You know, even after leaving this meditation, you will continue to feel a loving and supporting energy from the Universe. You know you have a renewed sense of self-worth and self-love.
- Deepen your breaths and begin to focus on your fingers and toes, slowly coming back to the senses in your body into the room that you are physically within. Take your time to gently leave this meditation, as there is no rush or need to close quickly. If you're experiencing intense emotions, simply sit in silence and let yourself fully feel them until they have moved through you and you feel that quiet sense of rest that comes after experiencing deep feelings.
As I mentioned before, journaling is a powerful way to reflect on this meditation. If you choose to journal afterwards, consider reflecting on the advice and self-examination that came forward during the exercise. Writing down what you know you need to change or do will help to hold you accountable for doing so and prevent future mistakes of a similar sort. Even if you have to make changes, keep affirming (either in your head or in your journal) that you are still worthy no matter what. A gratitude journaling exercise is also a powerful option. Having made a mistake doesn't lower your self-worth it all, it simply means that you must hold yourself responsible for the mindful and healing changes that must be made afterwards.
If you need more self-care after this exercise, here’s a list of modalities that will help you too.