As a life coach, one of the most common issues my clients bring to our sessions is the inability to practice self-forgiveness.
Self-Forgiveness Can Be Difficult
Being a midlife woman is complicated. We have decades of choices behind us, each choice creating the very life we have today. And sometimes, we just want to bitch slap our younger self and yell” What the hell were you thinking?”
Right? What the HELL was I thinking?
We Can’t Do Better Until We Know Better
My grandma used to say: You can’t put an old head on a new body. Damn, that woman was smart! That is exactly what I could have used in my twenties: a middle age brain full of wisdom and experience, directing a young body full of energy.
But life doesn’t work like that, we must earn our wisdom through the opportunities of our mistakes and sometimes painful regrets. And that is exactly what makes self-forgiveness so challenging. The truth is, if you are willing to be honest and take some emotional risks, you can find self-forgiveness. Read on!
Steps To Practice Self-Forgiveness
Try the following steps to accept the truth about your choices and move into self-forgiveness.
Take Responsibility: Yes, you must own your choices. You must take complete ownership of the very moment you are in, right now. Despite crappy people, shitty circumstance, and poopy life surprises, you are responsible for your current life at this moment.
Please Don’t Argue With This Step
Please don’t argue with this step, it will only prolong your frustration and sense of being a victim. We all have things that have happened to us that were completely out of our control. We don’t get to choose our family, our birth circumstances or the people who raised us.
But we are responsible for searching for self-discipline and self-awareness no matter how bad our family dynamics might have been.
Families Have Rules
Recognize your early influences: Now this is the part where you can blame your parents if you want to. I mean, you can always blame your parents, but fixating on blame won’t change your life nor will it get you closer to self-forgiveness.
The truth is that most of our early choices (good and bad) are a result of our family “rules”. All families have rules that are passed down from generation to generation in an effort to keep a sense of tribal identity.
We Were Taught How To Be Accepted
These rules may be awesome examples (like: We always give money to charity and other deserving causes because we are a compassionate family) or they could be destructive examples (like: We always talk behind each other’s backs and share each other’s secrets. Gossip is how we control and shame our tribe).
Maybe your family was able to model self-forgiveness, but it’s more likely that you weren’t taught how to forgive yourself.
Relief: Allow yourself to take a deep breath of relief. You are human, you had parents, they had parents and we all have had difficult, agonizing bullshit in life. The point here is to accept that as a human with a human family, you will have inherited beliefs, characteristics, and limitations.
You are now at the point in your life where you can see how your early messages are affecting your life trajectory. It is never too late to begin developing and practicing self-forgiveness.
You Can Choose To Practice Self-Forgiveness
You get to choose the messages to keep and the messages to reject, releasing the voices that drilled those limiting beliefs into your growing soul. If it is doesn’t feel too woo-woo, speak out loud phrases of letting go of destructive beliefs.
Maybe something like: I now understand that my mom lived with deep disappointment around her choice of husband. I forgive her for conditioning me to believe that getting married will result in unhappiness. I also forgive myself for taking on her wounded ideas.
Once you have identified some limiting or negative family beliefs, choose to release them through words, writing or prayer.
Learning Self-Forgiveness is a Way to Reset Your Life
Recalibrate: Now that you have done the foundational work of taking ownership, recognizing that your family had rules that you were required to follow and choosing to move into relief with releasing, it is time to reset.
Resetting happens when we decide that we are allowed to move forward as an independent whole person. Yes, we are the result of a tribe, but as midlife adults, we are now completely free to design a life that suites us and supports our beliefs.
Again, if it feels helpful, use words or phrase that speak forgiveness and acceptance over your life. Additionally, release yourself from the mental flogging of choosing to keep the peace instead of honoring your own desires.
Let go of the phrases that have echoed in your soul that scream abuse and disrespect over your life. Finally, forgive yourself for the choices you made when you were trying to please others.
Self-Forgiveness Is Always An Option
Choose to recalibrate. Immediately begin to work toward building a new core identity that is based on accepting your non-negotiable worth as a human. All people are born with inherent worth, but sometimes those that are supposed to love us into our best self instead end up infusing us with internalized chaos.
Take The Keys To Freedom
Self-forgiveness is always the key to true freedom. As a life coach, I work with women who need help identifying their mental blocks. Our thoughts control our life, and sometimes we need to work with a person who can help us sort out our confusion.
If you are ready to understand and forgive your younger self, email me. I can work with you through the process of identifying your obstacles and making changes that move you toward true happiness and self-love.
Melane Ann is a writer, blogger, and life coach. In 2020, she turned her experience in midlife divorce and creating a new life for herself into midlifeismagical. With a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, Melane focuses on helping women over 50 navigate their relationships and commit to healthy aging. She and her new husband share 7 children between them. Melane jokes that she has a black belt in blended families! In addition to her writing, Melane works virtually with her coaching clients from her home office.