In the life-changing intuitive reading Erin Pavlina gave me, she told me, “It’s all about self-love and self forgiveness. All of it.”
I’ve been working on self-love for some time now, as you can see in my blog archives. But it took me a bit longer to get around to self forgiveness.
Interestingly, I seemed to discover the topic in a similar way to how I came across self love: first I felt no resonance with the idea, then at some point I came to a realisation along the lines of, “Oh. I really do have self forgiveness work to do.”
So to start with I just didn’t notice that I wasn’t forgiving myself. A strange thing not to notice you might think, but the subconscious mind is kinda like that. Subconscious. You get digging and one day you realise that there were thoughts that were under the surface. You were thinking them without even realising you were thinking them.
I notice subconscious thoughts like that tend to be reachable as some kind of presence in the aura.
You don’t have to believe in auras to do this. Just think of the aura as a metaphorical representation of what’s going on with you. Start with bigger things: perhaps you’re feeling anxiety, sadness or anger. Try to find those feelings in your body. You’ll notice that they will be localised somewhere in the body. Whether this means anything or is just a metaphor is immaterial; they will be localised somewhere.
Now ask yourself, if this feeling had a shape, what shape would it have? If it had a colour, what colour would it have? You’ll probably be able to work out answers to these questions too.
You can also probe this presence in you. Ask, “What thoughts do you represent?”. An angry presence might represent a thought such as “He did me wrong,” “She shouldn’t have done that,” etc. Emotions are generally very connected to thoughts.
OK, now you can try moving onto subtler things. Place your awareness over different parts of your body. You might notice areas of tension or discomfort. With a bit of practice you might see these areas represented by a shape and a colour just as you did in the previous exercise. You can also probe these presences with your thoughts. Ask them, “What do you represent?”, “What are you?”, “What do you want to happen?” and so on. The answers you get may be quite useful. Please give this a try even if you don’t believe in auras. You don’t have to believe in it, for it to work. You can find ways of fitting it into your belief system afterwards.
Funnily enough I don’t think I’ve ever talked or written about this process before but it’s a big part of my whole process of personal healing/evolution. When I’ve been dealing with self love, I’ve asked myself questions such as “What is my attitude towards myself right now?” and seen metaphorical shapes in my aura that represent an attitude of self-hatred. They were subconscious until I asked the question, and then they were there, and I could do things with them.
In the same way, I’ve been able to access feelings of non-self-forgiveness. I’ve looked in the mirror and asked myself what grudges I was still holding against myself. The grudges, or self-punishing attitude, manifested as grey pointed shapes in my aura.
And so, through this process, subconcious thoughts have become conscious. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I’m holding onto past grudges against myself.
Seeing the shapes in my aura, I probe them with my thoughts, asking them to explain themselves. I see memories, little flashbacks of the many shameful or hurtful things I’ve done.
Then I do a little internal talk-therapy with myself. I take different perspectives, hoping to create a shift that way. For example, I compare the way I deal with myself to how I deal with others. I would forgive a friend for having done things like that, so why couldn’t I forgive myself?
Actually, though, I think the biggest advancement right now is being able to identify and make conscious my feelings of non-self-forgiveness. Making things conscious is a therapy in itself, often the most important therapy.
The interesting thing is, for so long I seem to have been very invested in denying that there was anything I might feel the need to forgive myself for. I think that was a layer of defence: I childishly wanted to imagine that I was a “good person”, and feared that I was exactly the opposite. Because of my fear, I pushed down any evidence that I was not a “good person”, refused to look at it or process it. However, that meant that my self-directed resentment for the things I had done wrong did nothing but linger and fester.
It did me good to simply admit to myself that I had done bad things in my life. I no longer made an artificial divide between “good people” and “bad people”, no longer had an unrealistic idea or ideal of myself as one of those purely “good people”.
I simply stood there in front of the mirror and admitted that I had done things to hurt or discomfort others in my life. (“Bad things” contains a judgement, so I avoided such wording). I admitted that in the many times I’ve felt shame, I may have confused or discomforted people with my eccentric and erratic behaviour. Those feelings of self hatred I had may have been connected to times when I had had a faulty worldview or unkind intentions, and had caused harm to others.
At this point it seemed useful to focus on wisdom which I may have previously intuited but perhaps not fully integrated. To whit: there are no “good people” and “bad people”; punishing people or holding a grudge never changes anything for the better; everyone has done harmful things; we’re all learning to do better; we all have the desire to do kind things, otherwise we wouldn’t feel guilty for not doing them.
I had to consider two people who I had not forgiven. If I was going to admit that punishment was useless and that there was no such thing as a “bad person”, I could only truly manage that if I extended those standards to all people. With some contemplation, I found that I could feel feelings of forgiveness for both of these people. Perhaps this was finally made possible because I was working on forgiving myself and others at the very same time. Perhaps it’s really not possible to do one without the other.
I’m still working on this and making progress, though I notice that I seem to have made a significant advance in both self forgiveness and the related field of self love this way. I’m trying to integrate a new vision of myself, one that includes both the more ideal and the more morally grey parts of my history and even my present (yes, I can be less than perfectly kind in the present too, not just back in my twisted teenage PUA phase).
Sometimes integrating all of that paints a rather dark picture, but I think it’s just because I’m finally returning to parts of myself I had locked away. Hopefully in time I’ll come to have a more balanced self image, one which is more similar to the sort of image I’d have of a person who wasn’t me who I nonetheless knew well. And with a balanced self image, perhaps the darker moments of my past will finally be put to rest.