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There's something horrible that holds most people back.
And it's not other people or outside events.
It's something that's actually within their control.
That something is forgiving yourself.
It's possible to learn how to forgive yourself, but it requires a mindset shift.
And a simple technique
Reading this will give you both.
When I Couldn't Forgive Myself
When I was struggling with major depression, I thought I was the worst person in the world.
I felt completely cut off from others.
It was just me inside my stupid head.
And I got stuck in one negative thought loop in particular.
You've done so many stupid things. How can you ever forgive yourself? You can't.
A variation of these thoughts played in my mind on repeat.
These thoughts morphed into feelings, which transformed into actual body states.
I felt like I was encased in skin-tight armor.
It was suffocating.
It didn't even matter what the "stupid things" were. My mind was trying to convince me that I was worthless and shameful.
But it wasn't true.
How to Forgive Yourself
Over time, I've learned that no person is the worst thing they've done. And remember, worst is relative, so what is the worst for one person may not even be on the radar of another person.
It's important that you don't minimize what you're feeling.
If you're gripped by negative thoughts that are making you hate yourself, it's time to make a change.
It starts with dislodging yourself from mental ruts.
The best way I've found to do this is by getting out of my head and into my body and feelings.
This will look different for different people, but one of the most effective ways I've found that works for all kinds of people involves taking out a piece of paper.
What you need to do is write down as many accomplishments you can think of, in as much detail as you can provide.
Start with whatever comes to mind.
There's great power in getting words onto paper because what you're actually doing is releasing them from your mind.
And when you release your thoughts by actually moving your hand as you're writing them down, you tap into different parts of your body.
You see, you can't think your way out of horrible thoughts. I made this mistake for so many years.
It's like trying to be rational with someone who is acting irrationally.
It just doesn't work.
In this case, the irrational person is you--or, to be more specific--it's your devious mind.
Continue to write down as many accomplishments as you can.
It doesn't matter if you can only think of, "Well, I brushed my teeth today..."
You know what?
And I bet you brushed more than one tooth. You could have stopped at one, but you brushed all of them.
From there, move to bigger accomplishments.
How did you get to this point in your life?
How did you survive so many difficult situations?
That wasn't luck. You had an active role in that.
Write it all down, and fill in the detail as you go.
The reason I'm having you do this is because believing and feeling that you can't forgive yourself is common.
People get themselves worked into this state of being all the time.
I was there.
I still go into that state if I'm being honest.
But I know that if I can work myself into a negative state, I can work myself out of it.
And you can too.
In Conclusion - Forgiving Yourself is Within Your Reach
I'm going to remind you of something obvious.
You're a human being.
We all are.
And because we are all human beings, we fall into repeatable and predictable patterns of being.
When you feel like you'll never forgive yourself, know that there are others who have felt that too.
But mental ruts aren't permanent.
They're created from the paths and roads you've already traveled, pathways that have carried you through innumerable challenges.
But there will be more paths.
And there will be more roads.
You will help build them.