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Do You Forgive Yourself or Others - 083

podcast self-care Mar 03, 2021

Forgiveness is a gift.  We can give this gift at any time - to ourselves or to others.  It’s our “get out of jail” gift card – releasing each of us from a prison of our own making.  When we refuse to forgive, and choose to hold onto mistakes and use them against ourselves or others, we are setting ourselves up for a miserable life.  How many times do we need to relive the pain of the past before we’ve experienced enough pain or misery?

To forgive is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward ourselves or to others for a mistake or harm caused.  To forgive doesn’t mean I forget or condone; it simply means that I stop poisoning myself with my past mistakes or the harms done to me by others.  And, as I said in the previous episode, “for things to change, you have to change.”  I had to learn how to forgive, let go and move on.  You also have to learn how to forgive, let go and move on.  If not, you could stay stuck forever.

In this episode Dr B talks about:

  • What is the point in forgiving myself, the damage is already done?
  • What’s the point in apologizing to others for the mistakes I’ve made in the past; they continue to bring up my past mistakes and punish me with them.
  • Forgiving myself or others is like me saying that what happened was okay, and it’s not okay.
  • The importance of celebrating your wins
  • Enrollment opening March 7th for the ADDventures in Achievement Foundational Skills program 

Developing your Executive Function Skills and shifting your limiting beliefs is the fastest and most effective way to overcome ADHD limitations, find focus, gain confidence, and newfound freedom in your life!

My mission is to put an end to the worldwide needless suffering of adults with ADHD and those with under-developed Executive Function Skills - whether from ADHD, chronic depression or anxiety, trauma, addictions, or chronic illnesses.  And, you don't need a formal diagnosis to know you need help developing these executive function skills in order to greatly reduce your suffering.

 

Full Episode Transcript 0083 Do You Forgive Yourself or Others?

Forgiveness is a gift. We can give this gift at any time - to ourselves or to others. It’s our “get out of jail” gift card – releasing each of us from a prison of our own making. When we refuse to forgive, and choose to hold onto mistakes and use them against ourselves or others, we are setting ourselves up for a miserable life. How many times do we need to relive the pain of the past before we’ve experienced enough pain or misery?

To forgive is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward ourselves or to others for a mistake or harm caused. To forgive doesn’t mean I forget or condone; it simply means that I stop poisoning myself with my past mistakes or the harms done to me by others. And, as I said in the previous episode, “for things to change, you have to change.” I had to learn how to forgive, let go and move on. You also have to learn how to forgive, let go and move on. If not, you could stay stuck forever.

Years ago, I made a decision to help someone financially, and because things went badly for them, the debt went on for years and years in repayment. I didn’t like how I felt with this debt outstanding, knowing that it may take many more years before it would be repaid. I wanted to release the feelings and so I made the decision to let it go, forgive the debt, forgive myself for all the feelings I had over the years about the debt, the decision, the person and more. I let it all go because even though it was a significant amount of money, it was just money. And, my peace of mind and serenity will always be of greater value to me than any amount of money. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you – even yourself. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

Years ago, when I didn’t forgive myself or others, I held on to past hurts, mistakes, poor choices or decisions, and would use them against myself repeatedly. It didn’t matter that I could see that I would have pointed out to a friend that they were being very hard on themselves. I’m sure I could see I was being hard on myself and yet it didn’t matter, because I was so upset with myself for what I had done. I got myself into many bad situations when I was younger and before I knew that my executive function skills were so under-developed. It felt like I was putting stumbling blocks in front of myself so that life was hard and I would have to struggle. That was the story I had been telling myself and that is how my life used to be; hard and a struggle every day.

When I was healing my codependency, I discovered a wonderful book entitled - “Addicted to Misery” by Robert Becker. It’s less than 100 pages and packed with so many gems to stir the pot and bring your life into perspective. I highly recommend it as a slow read and really work with the contents of the book as you read it, so you gain the most benefit.

Thinking about misery and how it ties in with forgiving yourself, I found the following, by Daniell Koepke:

“Forgive yourself for what happened. For the mistakes you made. For your poor choices. For not showing up the way you needed to. For not being the person, you wanted to be. You’re human. You did the best you could in the moment given what you knew and what you had, and that’s all you can ask of yourself. You’re still learning. You’re still finding your way. And that takes time. You’re allowed to give yourself that time. And you’re allowed to show up in the world imperfectly. You’re allowed to fail at things you tried hard for. You’re allowed to realize you made the wrong decision. You’re allowed to be someone who’s still figuring out their path and their purpose. And you’re allowed to forgive yourself. You can’t go back and change the decisions you’ve made, but you can choose what you do today. You can keep choosing, again and again. You can start over. And that’s where your power is. In today. So, no more beating yourself up. No more going over and over it again in your head and torturing yourself with the past. What happened, happened, and all the shame and self-hatred in the world won’t undo that. Today, you’re starting over. Today, you’re moving forward with the new knowledge and experiences you have. Today, you can be the person you want to be and live the life you want to live. You’re not a bad person. You’re not a disappointment or a failure. You’re just human. You’re still learning and growing and finding your way. And it’s okay. You’ll be okay.”

I have been and continue to be okay, and so will you when you forgive yourself. The outdated version of ourselves may not have the capacity to forgive, however, the upgraded version definitely does, especially if we include it in who and how we choose to BE.

Remind yourself that every day you are given the choice and decision to forgive yourself, and even to forgive others. Forgiveness is the doorway to freedom that we can walk through whenever we choose to open that door. And if not now, when?

If you want your life to be different. If you want to be free of the past mistakes and hurts, then you need to change how you think about and address the past. You need to transition or shift from being a person who doesn’t forgive, to someone who does.

So, who do you need to forgive?

I hear many people say they just can’t forgive themselves for what they’ve done. That they are stuck with the pain of their mistakes for the rest of their days. There is no pardon, no release – just a life sentence.

We are definitely as frozen in time as we make up our minds to be. It's true. Life can be like the movie, Groundhog Day, or it can be a new and exciting adventure to be curious about. That’s up to us.

If you aren't yet a member of my Facebook group, Living Beyond ADHD, I highly recommend that you get over there and ask to join. When you do be sure that you answer the few questions that are asked including the question about the group rules; we have rules so that the group is a safe space free of judgment. And a place where you can show up and interact with like-minded adults, you can laugh a little, learn a little and most of all, be connected to a positive energy community.

I also go live in that group every two weeks, and I answer questions that are posed by group members. If you have questions about adult ADHD, Executive Function Skills, how to navigate your adult life and so much more, it's definitely worth joining us. And if you want to start developing your executive function skills, I have lots of resources available on my website, including the opportunity for you to get on the waitlist for the March ADDventures in Achievement open enrollment. There's an email sequence going out now to everyone on that Waitlist with information about executive function skills, and ways that you can start to develop yours. So, join the Facebook group for community and learning and visit my website to get on the Waitlist, to learn about upcoming executive function skills development opportunities; you won't want to miss either of these opportunities.

For those of you who have been longtime listeners, you know that I'm big on wins and their importance in your life. There's another important aspect to focusing on wins. You are training your mind to stay focused on what’s right and celebrate it big time. Which doesn’t mean you don’t stay aware of what isn’t right and needs your attention. However, by focusing on your wins and celebrating all of them, you energize yourself so that tackling what needs your attention can be easier in the long run. So, if you want to energize yourself every day, start your day off by celebrating your wins! We don't always have control over the events or experiences in life, however, we do have control over the meaning that we give them.

You know from listening to other episodes that what you focus on grows, and that it's important to stand guard at the doorway to your mind and not let in things that don't serve you. Criticism, judgment, belittling and such don’t serve you at all. They don’t motivate you and only do harm to your sense of self, so let them go. Focus on your wins instead. That way you will continue to attract more and more wins into your life, all leading you to the state of mind and life that you want.

You are a precious child of God and of the universe. And you are called a human being not a human doing for a good reason. You do not have to earn your value. You were born with it. Your value comes from who you are, not what you do. And if you need a place to know that's true, be sure to join the Facebook group Living Beyond ADHD so that you can be with others who will celebrate your wins with you. and affirm that you are more than okay as you, the human being.

So, what's it going to be for you today? If you shared your wins with us in the Living Beyond ADHD Facebook group, that’s wonderful. If you listen to my podcast show and have posted a review on iTunes about what the show means to you, that’s an awesome win for you, me and those that need to benefit from the show as well. And, if you decide to make a list of harms you’ve done to yourself and then to follow through with forgiving yourself, that’s a HUGE win! You get the point. Celebrate all of them. And none of this halfhearted celebrating. You've got to mean it. You've got to exaggerate your emotions. Yes! Wow! Awesome! Be sure to celebrate your wins big and small, because celebrating daily builds consistency and makes a faster difference in your life. How much time do we have? Not much. So, let's get to it.

If you’re anything like me, you are challenged with forgiving yourself and perhaps others as well. This lack of ability to forgive is tied to limiting beliefs that we have that keep us stuck.

Let's look at three common limiting beliefs you might have about forgiving and how you can start to bust them. 1. What is the point in forgiving myself, the damage is already done? 2. What’s the point in apologizing to others for the mistakes I’ve made in the past; they continue to bring up my past mistakes and punish me with them. 3. Forgiving myself or others is like me saying that what happened was okay, and it’s not okay.

The first thing to understand about all three of these statements is that they are literally instructions that you're giving to your mind telling you what your life is going to be. And then you just follow those instructions. And that's what your life is, you have literally programmed your mind to give you that life. And it's not even the life you really want. Remember, the programming of your mind isn't personal. If you say it's true for you, then it's true for you, even if it's not true for hundreds of other people.

What is true is that we can’t undo the actual, tangible mistakes that were done by us or others. However, the greater damage that can be undone with forgiveness is the emotional damage that we carry, sometimes for our entire lives. The guilt, the shame, the regret, the remorse, the embarrassment and more. That can be undone with forgiveness if we are willing to forgive.

So, let's get to busting these beliefs that block forgiveness.

Let's bust this first belief: What is the point in forgiving myself, the damage is already done? The damage is already done is a correct statement. And that damage is in the past. And yes, it could still be impacting your life or the lives of others in the now. And the point of forgiving is that even damage done in the past can be made right in the now. And believing that it’s pointless to do anything about past mistakes limits you from healing your relationship with yourself and others.

For example, you have been married 3 times and each time you’ve chosen someone who ultimately wasn’t a good partner for you. You lived through all 3 of those marriages with the years of unhappiness that came with them. And, you have continued to punish yourself for each of them; telling yourself that you must be really stupid to have chosen poorly 3 times and not learned from your mistakes. The point of forgiving yourself for the choices you made about those 3 marital partners isn’t that you can undo having chosen them. It’s to put a stop to the self-abuse you are heaping on yourself, day after day, that continues to make you feel worse and worse about yourself. It has blocked you from choosing to enter any further relationships because 3 mistakes are enough. By forgiving yourself for the choices you made, which weren’t intentional mistakes, you free yourself from the poisonous prison of your past choices and emotional poison that you pump yourself full of each day. It’s time to pardon yourself and move on so you can heal.

Busting the second belief: What’s the point in apologizing to others for the mistakes I’ve made in the past; they continue to bring up my past mistakes and punish me with them. It’s true that others may continue to attempt to punish you with your past choices, however, if you aren’t punishing yourself for these choices, their words can’t hurt you unless you use them against Yourself.

For example, it’s very difficult to be assertive and stand up for yourself when you feel the same way about yourself that others do. When you differentiate yourself from the opinions of others and offer yourself “grace” for your past mistakes, knowing that you have apologized for them and haven’t done harm to others since then, you are free and clear to live your life in new and healthier ways; creating a loving relationship with yourself instead of one of frustration.

Busting the third belief: Forgiving myself or others is like me saying that what happened was okay, and it’s not okay. This is definitely not the case and is a mistaken belief. Forgiveness only clears away the emotional poison of ongoing punishment and has nothing to do with condoning hurtful actions of others or yourself.

For example, years ago I had a strong need to be right. I was so certain that I was right and others were wrong about so many things. Little did I know what that was all about back then. I chased people to continue conversations and prove my point and wouldn’t let them leave the conversation or space when they just wanted to get away from me. It’s painful to think back on who and how I used to be, and I am so grateful that I am not that person today. And since I am not that person today, it doesn’t make sense to continue to punish myself for who I was and what I did years ago. I remember my history and have learned from it; that’s enough.

Become a student of your own life and look at what’s changed in you, rather than what has or hasn’t changed in your life. How you start thinking today will result in who you are and how you live tomorrow. Remember, for things to change, you have to change. Another way of thinking of this is that what's happening in your outside life is the result of who you are on the inside. The reasons I'm talking about limiting beliefs and withholding forgiving is because you can run your life into the ground, if you don't shift your beliefs into ones that support you and release yourself from a self-imposed prison filled with the poison of past mistakes. Consider the cost of keeping your life the same. The cost is huge!

I've mentioned this in another episode and it bears repeating again. Gandhi said,

"Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny." Is your lack of forgiving leading you to the destiny that is best for you? And if not, is today the day you bust your limiting beliefs about forgiving and you choose new empowering beliefs that are in line with your heartfelt destiny?

Are you going to commit to making a list of the harms you have caused yourself and the limiting beliefs that are responsible for you living with the pain of this harm for years? Are you going to commit to release yourself from one mistake every day, or week or month? Starting today? And who will you BE without the poisonous baggage of your past mistakes and the limiting beliefs that have held the pain in place? If you aren’t ready to let them go, is it because they are validating your belief that you’re a victim, or another limiting belief that you have?

The widespread needless suffering of millions of adults around the world has to stop. And I'm doing what I can do to stop it with this generation with us. We all need to address our limiting beliefs and our underdeveloped executive function skills, if we want to live the life that's possible for us with those change. We have to be the person who lives the life we say we want; not struggle to live the life we say we want, so that we can become the person someday who has that life. It's backwards.

We all need empowering beliefs and well-developed executive function skills to thrive as adults in today's world. Because if we can't plan, organize, prioritize, get started and keep going until the end. If we can't regulate states of overwhelm, and stopped the analysis paralysis so that we can more easily make good decisions and know they're good decisions. It's going to cost us Dearly.

Please slow down and become a student of your own life. Understand what you need to succeed with a multifaceted brain that you have. Take action on what you learn about yourself. This is the life work that lies ahead for you, if this is your time. And, I’d love to support you in your journey, if this is your time for change.

You came to this lifetime with amazing gifts. And I would love it if each and every person on this planet was able to express his or her unique gifts freely without the threat of being shamed or criticized. Please, let's put an end to that stigma once and for all.

A favorite quote of mine: Opray Winfrey said, “True forgiveness is when you can say ‘Thank you for that experience.’”

What this quote says to me is that everything that is happening in my life is happening “for me” not “to me” – I am not a victim. When I am grateful every day for the lessons in my life that are helping me to become more of the person I am intended to be, and I truly forgive myself and others, I take a huge step forward and set myself free. My wish for all of you is that you can learn to feel the same about your lessons in life and truly forgive yourself and others – and set yourself free.

Whether you're learning from my podcast episodes, or live videos, or you're working with me directly, you're in my world, and I'm here to serve your needs. So be sure to reach out and get your needs met. It's up to you to take action so that things can change for the better for you. And they can only change for the better for you, if you change. Make it a priority to join the Facebook group, Living Beyond ADHD so you can have a non- judgmental community to lean into, and put yourself on the Waitlist for the ADDventures in Achievement program that's opening up again March 7th, so that you receive the new email sequence that's already started going out, and educating people about executive function skills, and what lies in store for you.

If you enjoyed today's episode, or any of the other episodes, please share this podcast show with others. I would also be grateful if you'd rate the show and write a positive review on iTunes, so I know that I'm meeting your needs. It means a lot to me to know that your life is getting a little bit better, every time we get together.

Be sure that you check out the show notes for the many, many opportunities available to you as well as ways that we can work together and stop your needless suffering, now. You'll find solutions to the challenges that you're experiencing. And I would love to help you realize a new freedom; that is, if that's of interest to you. Thanks for listening. Until the next time. Bye for Now.

Resources referred to in this episode:

• Living Beyond ADHD Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/livingbeyondadhd

• AIA Executive Function Foundational Skills Program & Waitlist: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/AIA

• Free PDF - 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/Executive-Function

 

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