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Do you need to forgive yourself?

Dog holding a single rose stem in its mouth against a backdrop of a blue sky and a cloud heart

I have been working with a client for a number of months.  

She has dug deep within herself to uncover qualities, traits, skills and interests – some new discoveries, some rediscoveries; she has found themes that run through her everyday experiences, her thinking, her daydreaming and she has moved to exploring the possibilities of how to bring these alive in her life. 

In short, she is close to discovering what she really wants to do next.

Yet, running alongside this surge of understanding and growth she compares herself to the perceived success trajectory of others around her and feels she hasn’t done as well, that the things we have identified that light her up don’t measure up, that she could have done better in the past.

At the end of our last session, I asked her what she thought about writing a forgiveness letter. 

A chance to offer compassion to her younger self for not meeting her expectations and standards, for not being the same as the others, for not making decisions based on the same values as them, for not pushing harder, for not thinking the same way, for being in this situation now where she has been struggling to figure out what she really wants to do.

She decided this could be a helpful exercise (she was actually more poetic when receiving this suggestion than I am making it sound).  

Although I don’t know the outcome yet, my guess is there will be some surprises, different emotions and hopefully an unblocking, so she can keep growing into the remarkable woman she already is.

You probably know what’s coming…

an invitation to write yourself a forgiveness letter.

Find a spare 10, 20, 30 minutes, whatever feels manageable and with a deep breath begin to write to younger self (or maybe it needs to be your current self).

‘Dear [your name], I forgive you for…’

Wherever your pen takes you, just follow.

No need to wonder about the connection, the rationale or question why this of all things is coming up. Let it all out onto the page.  Let it be messy.

Once you have finished, give yourself a little time before you head back into your day and treat yourself for your courage and bravery.

Over the coming days and weeks watch to see how the forgiveness you have offered might just begin to unlock the next step in your journey as you figure out what you want to do next in life.

Photo by unknown on Canva.