Write a Forgiveness Letter to Yourself
My secret to being more positive, more present, and more productive as a mom.
As moms, we always wish we’d have more energy, get more sleep, and get more done. I’ve discovered a tool that can help you get all three - guaranteed!
It’s not a magic pill, but rather a tool we often all resist: forgiveness. And self-forgiveness is the most important type of forgiveness for moms.
I have transformed my life and literally created miracles in my life by simply being more forgiving, and by practicing self-forgiveness. I’ve also witnessed many moms all around the globe create a life they love just by being willing to set themselves free of the poisons we call shame, guilt, and resentment.
Today, I want to share a liberating exercise that will help assist you in your journey to release unresolved hurts that are draining your energy, so you can be more positive, more present, and more productive — in all areas of your life. It’s called a self-forgiveness letter, and it simply consists of writing a heartfelt a forgiveness letter to yourself.
I once had a young mom in one of my workshops who was not only apprehensive to write a self-forgiveness letter, but she actually flat out told me it was “the silliest exercise she’d ever heard of.” I also thought it would be a waste of time the first time I heard about it, so I knew where she was coming from.
I kindly thanked her for her feedback and I was convinced she wasn’t going to even try, but it turns out, she ended up writing several pages and admitted to the room that she felt so blocked, stuck, and unhappy and that she felt she was finally free of the negative emotions that were stunting her personal growth.
My favorite author of all times, Gabriel García Márquez once said:
“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
Writing a self-forgiveness letter is going to help you gain perspective and remember what has happened in a way that doesn’t obstruct your divine identity or your divine connection.
Do’s and Don’ts of A Self-Forgiveness Letter
The secret to self-forgiveness is to offer oneself the same compassion and support we would offer to someone we love unconditionally. To write a forgiveness letter to yourself will feel more natural when you imagine you are talking to a dear friend you care deeply about who is struggling with the same concerns or has treated herself in the same ways.
Another way to write a great self-forgiveness letter is to write it from the perspective of a friend (real or imaginary) who is accepting, forgiving, and wise. This friend loves you dearly and has a deep respect and admiration for you.
Here are some recommendations you can follow to facilitate breakthroughs and make the most of this self-forgiveness experience:
- Do create an peaceful environment where you can have uninterrupted time alone with your thoughts, and tune into your intuition.
- Do meditate on a clear intention for writing your self-forgiveness letter whether it is to experience freedom, release the past, feel lighter, feel more peace, or anything that is in your heart.
- Do focus on issues that tend to make you feel bad about yourself, on perceived mistakes and inadequacies, or those things that hinder your happiness. Be specific.
- Do use pen and paper and write it longhand, continuously and in an uncensored way.
- Write in the second person, “you.”
- Don’t use self-hatred, self-shaming, or self-condemnation language.
- Don’t use your writing to justify your actions, but do show understanding.
- Do recall how you felt before, during, and after the event (disappointed, hurt, guilty, angry, ashamed) and why you felt that way.
- Do write as many drafts of your letter as you wish, focusing on communicating your authentic thoughts, feelings, beliefs, opinions, emotions, and judgments in the most vulnerable way possible.
- Do not make this letter about forgiving others. You can write a separate letter to each person you feel you must forgive.
To model this practice, I’m sharing a forgiveness letter I wrote to myself:
I have wronged you so much throughout my life and I haven’t apologized. I want you to know I’m sorry.
I am sorry for criticizing you, telling you I hated you, that you are worthless, and that you are not good enough. I am sorry for every name I’ve called you and every mean word I’ve said to you.
I am sorry for believing what others said to you in anger: that you won’t, that you can’t, that you shouldn’t.
I am sorry for each and every single time I compared you to someone else.
I am sorry for unwise choices I made. I am sorry for blaming you, for shaming you, and inflicting you with constant guilt.
I am sorry for doubting you and keeping you from doing what you love and pursuing your dreams.
I’m sorry for pressuring you to complete Cinderella-size to-do-lists. I’m sorry I called you a failure and for measuring your worth against them, driving you to endless anxiety, depletion and depression.
I am sorry for setting unrealistic standards and ridiculous expectations on you, and feeling like you were a disappointment.
I am sorry for not allowing you to rest when you were tired, heal when you were hurt, and relax when you most needed it. I’m sorry for making you feel guilty when you actually made an effort to take care of yourself, laugh, and live in the moment.
I am sorry for giving away your power to people who hurt you and created toxicity in your life.
I am sorry for not always keeping you busy and making time for you, for not listening to your heart, and not trusting your intuition.
I’m sorry for not taking care of your body. I am sorry I deprived you of sleep and proper nutrition. I am sorry I made unhealthy choices that cost you, sabotaged you, and hurt you.
I am sorry I have consistently taken you for granted and neglected your needs. I have not treated you seriously and with the respect you deserve.
I am sorry for all of the times I let you fall. I am sorry someone else’s opinion and the image they saw of you was more important to me than how you felt and what was most important to you.
I am sorry for not treating you with love. I am sorry for not saying more encouraging, empowering words, and for not loving you the way I love others.
Please forgive me!
With deep love, admiration, and gratitude,
Once you write your self-forgiveness letter, read and re-read it until it sinks in. Sometimes it helps to set it down for a while to really feel words soothing, healing, and comforting you.
It will feel really good to burn the letter as a conscious choice of letting go and moving forward. As you watch the paper burn, you will be releasing everything that it symbolically represents.
Your commitment to change is not infallible and there will be more to forgive yourself for. But you are free for now… and that is enough.
Originally published at thepositivemom.com on December 30, 2016.