Radical self-forgiveness means no-excuses, non-stop forgiveness for yourself. Always.
At certain times of the month, my hormones get out of whack, my brain stops working and writing becomes a herculean task. At times like these, I find my work piling up and I go into my usual spiral of self-deprecation and stress. This month though as I was awakened in the morning by thoughts of "Just how much work I have left to do" and "I know this happens every month, why don't I 'pre-write' some stuff?" and "You could've written one thing, at least one thing, come on!" and other dark thoughts, yet I did something that surprised me.
In my early morning sleep haze, I mumbled to myself, "I forgive myself," over and over. I hadn't even realised I was doing it till my head cleared up a little.
My mind was gearing itself up to head down a dark path of self hate and self scolding that comes from being unkind and unforgiving to oneself. But for some reason, my subconscious had the good sense to force forgiveness on me before I knew what was happening.
Spending a lot of time in solitude has allowed a kinder side of me to get a foot into my consciousness. While I call my dark side Cruella, this new braver me is called Ida Fabulous.
How it works
Radical self-forgiveness means no-excuses, non-stop forgiveness for yourself. Always. No matter how small or big the issues. And especially when you think you've done something cringeworthy, or unforgivable. Especially then. Because that's when the mind goes into overdrive, getting all up in your face about just how much of a 'loser you are'.
It's hard to do this, I know it is, because the mind will be there, ready with an argument that seems very legit, ready to bring you down to the level that you 'belong'. And we all know just how strong and convincing the mind can be. But we must be stronger, braver. Which is what Ida Fabulous is, stronger and braver. She's my superhero. Despite whatever argument your mind comes up with, just stick with the forgiveness.
When to forgive
- Missed your bus by a few minutes because you watched the last John Oliver video on YouTube instead of leaving the house? Forgive yourself.
- Dropped a bowl and it broke? Forgive yourself.
- Didn't get work done? Forgive yourself.
- Ate that chocolate cake? Forgive yourself.
- Broke down and called him/her? Forgive yourself.
- Bad thoughts about your coworkers/children/friends/family etc? Forgive yourself.
- Forgot to water the plants? Forgive yourself.
- Ate too much / too little? Forgive yourself.
- Didn't get a workout in? Forgive yourself.
- Missed your plane even though you would've made it if you left sooner? Forgive yourself.
- Broke up with someone and feel guilty? Forgive yourself.
- Want to get back together even if it's bad for you? Forgive yourself.
- Didn't answer that call? Forgive yourself.
- [insert whatever]. Forgive yourself.
What happens next
I don't know. If you're expecting magic, maybe...
But mostly I feel less stress. Or no stress. I feel more forgiving towards others. I am gentler and kinder to myself. Who would've thought that after all these years, I am my biggest abuser! Imagine what it feels like to be shown kindness and gentleness after years of abuse? It feels extraordinary. The world feels less scary, cold and mistrusting. By continuously forgiving myself I am also accepting myself, knowing that I make mistakes but that it's ok. I am still loved. That feels glorious.
So maybe there is some magic after all ;)