A Course in Miracles Blog

It's time to forgive yourself completely

  • By Paul West
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  • 1989 Words
  • 9 minutes 56 seconds
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It doesn't matter what you did or how bad it was, it is forgivable. People make mistakes. Sometimes mistakes seem very serious. Sometimes that seems to justify why should feel guilty. Presumably you hurt someone or did something 'wrong'. Well, did anyone come along and tell you, you know what, even though you did this and you maybe even meant it, you're still unconditionally lovable? Did anyone remind you, so that even you yourself would believe it, that you're lovable in spite of what you did, and that you are permitted to forgive yourself, even if other people don't forgive you?

This society we live in, coupled with the 'ego' in each person, has a very skewed and ridiculous idea of how you should feel when you make a mistake. Especially if people in your past punished you for making mistakes instead of educating you or teaching you of your unconditional lovability.

For example when someone does something wrong, most people would find that person guilty and judge them. And even the person themselves - you in this case - would even agree with them that you did something wrong and therefore 'should' be guilty, like you are supposed to suffer. But why?

The whole purpose of this guilty suffering is to try to atone, to make up for, what you think you did. So supposedly, your 'offering' of guilt, and your wallowing in guilt and shame, is supposed to be some form of compensation. It's as if, you have too suffer 600 days of guilt to make up for the 600 units of sin that you committed. And during that time, you are not allowed to be loved or forgiven. And even you agree to this. You agree that you are unworthy of forgiveness or love, and that you deserve some kind of punishment.

So then you go around being guilty, believing that you're supposed to be, that you deserve to, and that you should especially show everyone else how guilty you are, so that you'll burn off the karma or whatever BS that you think you deserve. And only after you've 'done enough time' like this, might you be allowed to let it go and be forgiven - i.e. pardoned, by the very same people who accused you of sin and who held you in condemnation.

So really guilt is actually your attempt to give a gift to other people, an offering, to make up for whatever crappy mistake you made. Like, somehow if you suffer enough other people will be pleased. You actually believe this lie. It's an egotistical lie and not at all mature. But because of this dynamic, most people actually believe that being guilty for doing something wrong is the same thing as caring about the people that you did it to, and that it is a way of showing that you are making it up to them - that you love them, by giving them what they seem to want. It seems they want guilt from you, and that giving it to them is making it up to them. It's ridiculous. And so in your mind, guilt = love. This is grossly mistaken.

Guilt is not love. Nobody in the entire history of the world has ever truly benefited from anyone being guilty for a mistake. Ever. The only thing that's happened is this.... the whole world was doing perfectly fine, you came along and did something wrong which was attack #1, and then to make up for it, you went ahead and moped around in guilt and negative self pity for 15 years which consequently actually brings everyone else down, lowers everyone's mood, removes a loving contributor from society, and is therefore attack #2 on those same people. Both doing things wrong and feeling guilty for it are attacks of unlove which require a RESTORATION of love to make up for it. And neither of these attacks improve the state of the world for anyone concerned.

If society was more mature and recognized that mistakes call for forgiveness, not punishment, they would also recognize that it is in everyone's best interests that you return to LOVE after you make a mistake, not guilt. Guilt is the opposite of love. If what you've done in your mistake is bring everyone down, then your true 'atoning' for this and making it up to everyone, is to reclaim your innocence, forgive yourself and everyone involved, for everyone involved to forgive you, and for you to be lifted up and restored to a mutually shared state of unconditional love. Then you've truly given something back to make up for the error, i.e. you've offered healing, and correction, and 'repentance' for the 'sin' rather than the completely useless offering of being guilty or ashamed. But society is generally not mature like this. Society loves to blame people and judge and condemn and criticize and find people guilty. And maybe you are part of that system.

So your challenge is, do you keep going along with this system of guilt, where you prove time and again that mistakes call for suffering, and that mistakes demand punishment, and that people should not be forgiven for making mistakes... or do you break out of this ridiculous system and become a leader, a shining example of what it means to be forgiving and loving, in spite of what anyone else says or thinks about it, to show that there is a better way for people to treat each other and that just as you deserve 100% forgiveness for what you did, so does everyone else if they were making mistakes.

So now, if you 'do yourself in', that is not helping anyone. That is just adding another insult to injury. It's cowardly actually. And it's only going to pile on an extra layer of suffering for all involved, not alleviate them from it. You think that they WANT you to suffer and that they want you to be guilty, and maybe they do... and if they do, that's their own egos, that's them being a-holes, that's their lack of maturity, and you should not stand for or accept that. Just because other people find you guilty does not mean you are guilty or that you are not forgivable. Their failure to forgive you is their own choice to choose to believe in guilt and punishment. You do not have to believe that. You can take a higher road.

You have to decide that no matter what anyone else thinks of you or whether anyone is hurt and no matter if you have done something really bad, you have to decide that you are going to choose to be innocent, that you are going to forgive yourself completely, that you are going to claim your own right to be forgiven, and that if nobody else likes it then that's their problem. You have to stand up for yourself. You can't wait for other people to forgive you, they generally are incapable. You deserve to live. You do not deserve to die. You deserve to be completely exonerated.

Know that there is absolutely nothing you can do in this world which is in any way serious enough or bad enough to cause unconditional love to stop loving you, because it loves you no matter what you do or who you are or what mistakes you make. Unconditional love loves you far more than the magnitude of any errors, even if you really really wanted to do something 'bad', it still looks upon you with absolute forgiveness and acceptance, and it passes a judgement on you ALWAYS that you are innocent.

It is not and will not help anyone to punish yourself, or to believe that you deserve it, or to enact it upon yourself on behalf of other people, which is really you doing it to yourself. And you're doing it to yourself only because you have not forgiven yourself, and that's really the main issue. You have to decide to heal and forgive your shame and guilt. You deserve love. You do not deserve to be unhappy for the rest of forever just because you did something wrong. You need to heal from what you did and allow yourself to be worthy of forgiveness.

Know this. Nobody in their truly right mind ever does anything wrong on purpose. To do something wrong you have to be temporarily mistaken and insane, which means you do not know what you're doing, and therefore it is forgivable. 

Also know this. Shame is self imposed. And it will cause you to walk around the world feeling like there is a target on your back that everyone can see, that you are super-self conscious all the time and like everyone knows about your little secret sin that you committed. You'll feel like you can never hide enough or get away from it. And you'll start to withdraw from people in order for them not to find out about how evil you are. And eventually you'll become self-destructive and punish yourself because you don't believe you are worthy of love.

Who deserves to be loved and forgiven when they have committed some crime or sin? That's what the collective egotism of society says. That you don't. But the answer is, YOU DO. Your shame is telling you that you don't deserve love and that nobody wants you and nobody accepts you, and that they're justified in that, and that you even agree with them that you should be put to death. YOU agree with it, because YOU are the one who thinks you are unworthy. 

You decided that. You need to forgive yourself and change your belief so that it doesn't run you into the ground. You've already suffered waaaaaaay more than you even needed to to begin with. Let yourself off the hook and reclaim your power, your entitlement to be happy, your deserving to be loved and accepted, and brush off anyone who says you have no right. Because if you believe them when the say you have no right, you will believe it yourself, and then you will make darn sure that your life goes to hell.

Ultimately you are your own worst and only enemy. This has nothing to do with anyone else. It's to do with you learning that you can be forgiven even when you make mistakes, that you can be loved even when you don't see to deserve it, and that you can come to accept yourself for doing something unacceptable. That's called learning to be UNCONDITIONAL. Otherwise you are practicing conditional love, conditional acceptance, and conditional forgiveness.

That's the kind of attitude of an egotistical maniac - that you only deserve if it you meet some special conditions or terms or social rules or regulations. You need to rise above conditional love, both for yourself and for others, and that's going to mean that if YOU want to find love for yourself in spite of what you did, then you're also going to have to learn to love other people regardless of what they do. It works both ways. You can't believe in your own innocence unless you believe in other people's innocence too. And you won't be able to accept that you deserve love instead of punishment, unless you believe that other people deserve love instead of punishment. So you need to extend TO others, do unto others as you would have them do to you... be forgiving as much as you want to be forgiven - unconditionally. Be loving as much as you want to be loved, unconditionally. 

Nobody deserves to die for making a mistake. Everyone deserves to live and be happy and enjoy life and be loved forever regardless, by a love that is so full and whole and strong and unconditionally that it doesn't even blink an eye when you make a mistake, it just keeps on loving you endlessly. Can you handle that? Total endless love? That's what God has to offer.
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