Self-Forgiveness: A Path to Joy and Love

The Importance of Self-Forgiveness

A crucial step on the path to awakening is learning to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself simply means accepting yourself as human. It means coming to terms with all of yourself and not trying to ignore or hide your imperfections but rather learning to embrace them. Self-forgiveness is one of the healthiest ways to perceive life. A precedent on the path to joy and love. 

Unfortunately, most of us aren’t able to do this all the time. Sometimes we struggle to do it at all.

My Personal Experience with Self-Forgiveness

Early on in my sobriety, I was guilt-ridden, continually telling myself and others how many bad things I’d done. And believe me, the list is long! But over the years, I’ve learned deep compassion and understanding for myself. Many of my mistakes result from my alcoholism, which is basically a microcosm of an ego gone astray. I’ve recognized the wounded little girl inside me who was acting most often on deep fears and insecurities, even as an adult.

Like everyone else, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, and I wish I could go back and do some of those things differently. But I’ve accepted my mistakes are simply traits of the human condition. We all have our moments of selfishness, jealousy, and lashing out for no reason. Embrace this as your human experience. If you can, maybe even choose to see it with a sense of humor. For me, it is a relief sometimes to admit that I am a little nuts, and my husband and I make jokes about it all the time. 

Make an effort not to be so hard on yourself. We’re all human. 

How Hard You Are on Yourself is How Hard You Will Be on Your Children

It’s especially important for parents to learn to forgive themselves because how hard you are on yourself is how hard you will be on your children. And it’s a reflection of how hard your children will learn to be on themselves.

Parents have the opportunity to model self-forgiveness by working to not be so hard on themselves. As a parent, if you make a mistake, be kind to yourself. This will teach your kids to be gentle with themselves when they make mistakes. They will mirror the self-love and self-forgiveness that you show them.

Another way to teach your kids self-forgiveness is to watch the way you speak about yourself. If you are self-deprecating in front of your kids, saying things like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we’re late for school again. I suck!” your kids will start to mirror this type of self-talk. At first, it may just be a small inner voice, but eventually, it can evolve into something more detrimental. 

For example, if your child has learned negative self-talk, they might say something like, “I can’t believe I only got a B+ on that math test! I suck!” On the other hand, if they learn to be more gentle with themselves and detach their self-worth from their achievements, they may shift their perspective to something like, “I might have gotten a B+ on that math test, but wow, I put so much work into it! I rock!”

Perfection is the Ultimate Non-Acceptance of What Is

Most of us theoretically know that everyone makes mistakes and that trying to do everything right all the time is exhausting and unhealthy. But still, so many of us fall into the trap of perfectionism. I see modern mothers trying so hard to cultivate perfect dinners and tidy houses while trying to stay organized, juggling a thousand activities a day. Getting down on themselves when one little thing falls through the cracks.

One of the most important things to watch out for as a parent is perfectionism. Perfection is the ultimate non-acceptance of what is and of your own humanity. If you are unable to accept your humanness, you will be deathly afraid of making mistakes. This will lead you to run through life mindlessly, trying to make everything perfect. Your kids will notice this and will learn that this is the way life should be. 

This perfectionism will significantly impact girls. They will refrain from taking risks in fear of making a mistake and showing their humanness. This can be harmful because it completely disconnects them from themselves. 

Forgive Yourself and Forgive Others

Forgiving and moving on are vital to living a happy and peaceful life. It starts with self-forgiveness because it’s not possible to truly forgive others without learning to forgive ourselves. To forgive ourselves, we must find compassion and grace for our humanness. This is where the true forgiveness of others starts. 

The basis for ultimate forgiveness is unconditional love. Love for yourself. The longer we wait to acknowledge our humanness and love ourselves, the further we drift from that loving connection to our own souls and children. Forgiveness takes courage, and it’s a tall order. But it’s worth it to keep our kids connected to themselves and in a state of compassion and peace.

Be kind to yourself. Have patience. Find humor in your humanness. Do it for yourself and the ones you love the most.

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Abdi Assadi is unlike any other healer or spiritual teacher ever encountered. He is an expert in martial arts, and a dynamic healer practicing a diverse array of Chinese and Eastern Medicine, indigenous shamanic rituals, and meditation techniques. With a clinical practice in New York City for almost 4 decades, Abdi has accumulated a vast knowledge of real life experience working with several thousands of individuals, guiding them through the most difficult times, and teaching them how to understand themselves. One of the greatest things about him is he merges the human psyche with the spiritual psyche.

Steeped in deep wisdom and insight that is rare to find on this planet in these modern times, Abdi has an extraordinary ability in perceiving and comprehending human souls and their individual psyche. Guided by the divine, Abdi guides you to open up and see beyond your limited Self, into your own soul. His impeccable discernment enables him to unleash personal remarks that pierce through your veil, statements that you will never forget and in an instant alter your perception of yourself and your reality.

– Quotes from Shadows on the Path by Abdi Assadi:

All spiritual masters teach us that love is an activity before it is a condition – and that love is all-encompassing.
Page 18

It felt like I was coming off a race track and driving in a school zone. He knew, years before I did, that my speed was my way of suppressing my early childhood anxiety, and that only slowing down could heal it.

Why do you need to use all these words like God and spirituality? It is right here Abdi, all around you, all the time
Page 40

one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
Page 51

Ultimately it keeps grace out of our lives because we are using our will power to manipulate every event and person around us.
Page 74

His lesson, which I had begun to learn for myself, is that outside circumstances do not define our internal experience if we can surrender into them. Painful or undesirable situations will always arise; true suffering comes from our ego’s desire to resist life as it is.
Page 77

Note from Pernilla:
I met Abdi in the fall of 2014 and when I arrived in his office the first thing he said was, “It’s time that you stop carrying other people’s anxiety.” In the year that followed, my entrenched codependency patterns reared their ugly heads and I was confronted with a part of myself that I had never even known was there.

A few years later, Abdi said, “When are you going to start writing your book?”I looked at him in surprise. I was not a writer. My expertise was centered around creating crazy good Excel spreadsheets. However, I started writing and collecting notes about life issues and life experiences … and here we are a few years later.

Sally Kempton is a preeminent meditation teacher of our time.

She is an expert scholar in Hinduism and all Hindu texts especially in Kashmir Shaivisim. Formerly Swami Durgananda, she left monastic life in the 1980’s to teach publicly. She has written several books and is one of the most known and loved spiritual teachers in our time.

Note from Pernilla:

I met Sally at one of her workshops at City Yoga in LA in 2003. She had the most gentle and loving disposition, and I just wanted to always be around her. I was fortunate to have been part of her two year-long “Transformative journey” courses in 2006 and 2007 and many retreats ever since. She is the true representation of unconditional love and transmits intense shakti from her Guru Swami Muktananda.

Sally is the primary building block and foundation in my spiritual journey. Without her, I would have never found and stuck with meditation – the most transformative experience of my life. Without her, I would have been lost without a clue where to go next. Her wealth of knowledge of yogic philosophy and incredible understanding of the human condition is what makes her a force to be reckoned with.  She understands your depth and makes you feel seen, heard, validated, and deeply loved.