So, why can’t you just give yourself a break and move forward?
Lyon says it’s because there’s too much focus on forgiveness and not enough attention paid to what lies beneath it. “It really starts from this place of deep, no-nonsense, unyielding self-love,” she explains, “meaning that no matter what, no matter the suffering, mistakes, and missteps that we make, whatever it is, we treat ourselves with such tenderness that forgiveness is part and parcel of that.”
And loving yourself enough to let go doesn’t mean you’re letting yourself off the hook for bad behavior, Lyon says. You can forgive yourself and also take steps toward not allowing it to happen again. “You can be okay, even though feelings of anger and disappointment and difficulty and harshness are floating around, and you’re nailing yourself for whatever you did. Allow it and accept it — you’re still working on changing your habits and being better.”
Here, Lyon shares a simple visualization exercise to help you get there.
A Simple Forgiveness Visualization
1. Stop and sit. Close your eyes and get in touch with your breath, focusing on your inhales and exhales. “Bring about in your mind’s eye what you’ve done, the act you’re so obsessed and crazy about, and really feel all of the bad stuff it creates in the body, and just be with it,” Lyons says.
2. Soften your thoughts. As you’re picturing the situation, imagine the edges around it softening. “Accept the fact that it’s happened, and at the same time start to wrap that act with love, try to just be softer and nicer with it.”
3. Imagine yourself as someone you love. Self-love is hard, so use the love you feel for others to begin to imagine what it might feel like. “Call up a being that you love unconditionally, someone who you can easily see as someone deserving of love,” Lyon says, like your perfect baby daughter or niece or amazingly generous best friend. Picture yourself as that person, and see if you can begin to apply the love you feel for them to yourself. “Come back to the breath and see if everything releases a little bit, if there’s some kind of ease it has created in your body, and then open your eyes.”
NEXT: Are You Addicted To Sugar Without Knowing It?
This post was authored by Lisa Elaine Held.
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