The Power of Forgiving Yourself

Written by Raymond Salas

How powerful is learning to forgive yourself?

Could forgiving yourself be the key to solving all of your problems?

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." 
- Lewis B. Smedes 
"Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self-sabotaging behavior." 
- Mark Victor Hansen 
"When you forgive yourself you let go of a part of yourself, the part that wants to keep you trapped inside a circle of blame, shame, guilt and fear. This part of you, which essentially is part of your ego, does not want you to be free of it because ego does not want to relinquish control." 
- Carol King

The Power of Forgiving Yourself

In my work over the years as an Energy Healer, I have recognized that a common cause of the problems that people experience in the different areas of their lives is a lack of forgiveness for themselves.

This lack of forgiveness can manifest and play out in many ways and behaviors including:
  • being judgmental and critical of self and others
  • inability to trust self or others
  • not feeling comfortable in one's "own skin"
  • inability to fully appreciate or accept when good things happen, feeling guilty or undeserving when they do
  • inability to receive praise, compliments, or positive feedback, feeling awkward or self-conscious when you do
  • having feelings of low self-esteem and unworthiness
  • attacking self or others (mentally, emotionally, verbally, physically)
  • feeling or becoming addicted to unrewarding, harmful or toxic substances, relationships, behaviors, etc.
  • having money and financial problems
  • having a lack, poverty, or scarcity mindset
  • having destructive feelings, thoughts, or behaviors toward self or others
  • seeking acceptance, recognition, or approval from others
  • having anorexia, bulimia, and other weight or body issues
  • blaming anything or anyone outside of yourself for your problems
  • trying to control or manipulate circumstances, situations, or people

"All human experience is taking place within consciousness itself. We are subject only to what we hold in mind - consciously or unconsciously. The willingness to be forgiving and grateful in itself automatically begins the healing process. It is only the removal of the negative that is necessary -- the willingness to let go of the habits of negative thinking." 
- David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.

Forgiveness of self and others is powerful because it trains the mind to let go of the tendency to criticize, attack, and judge ourselves and others.

As therapist Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len points out, these "thoughts within (us) actualize as spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, relational and financial problems in (our) lives and in the lives of (our) families, relatives, ancestors, friends, neighbors, and associates."

How to Forgive Yourself

Here's a tool and exercise that I have found to be very effective for forgiving yourself:

- Daily mirror exercise:

After awakening each morning and just before sleep every night, go to a mirror, take several deep breaths and look deeply into your eyes. As you look deeply into your eyes, try to make a connection with the Inner You. As you do, say sincerely and with deep feeling: “I love you. I forgive you. I appreciate and accept you, just the way you are."

Take a deep breath. Repeat at least three times.

“(This type of exercise is) very simple, but for some it will require a lot of courage. For others, it will take telling their ego to back off, because ego will try and convince them how stupid this really is and that it doesn’t work. The more uncomfortable or silly this feels when you first do it, will indicate how little you Love your Self. At the other end of the spectrum, the more comfortable and good you feel doing it, will indicate how much you Love your Self.” 
- Al Diaz

I recommend practicing this daily exercise for a minimum of thirty consecutive days. If you miss a day, simply begin again and continue until you can complete at least thirty consecutive days.

Although thirty consecutive days is the absolute minimum that I would recommend for this exercise, for the greatest benefit, I suggest making it a permanent part of your daily routine.


Because I have found, in myself and my clients, that it is very beneficial to practice forgiving and loving yourself every day.

"As in all spiritual work, it is discovered that the mind resists letting go of negative programs despite the suffering that it occasions. The source of this resistance is the secret payoff that the ego gets from negativity. The ego derives pleasure from 'justified' resentments, blame, self-pity, and all the rest. Secretly, people just 'love' to hate, blame, and get even as well as being 'right' or 'superior,' and more." 
- David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.