This is the time for repentance, return, transformation – and the key to it all is forgiveness: Asking for forgiveness, and forgiving.
We ask forgiveness of G-d and of others, and we can forgive others.
To engage in any degree of forgiveness takes real work, digging deep, being willing to be open, and opening for transformation - the stuff of real growth. At this time of year, this “real work” awaits us with a greater degree of urgency and we become more aware that we must forgive. What we may not know, what we may overlook, is that not only must we forgive others but we must forgive ourselves.
The transformation, the healing, the wholeness that forgiveness brings is not complete unless we are willing to release the anger, judgement, guilt, or shame that we hold against ourselves. Forgiveness finds its fullness when we ask for and find the capacity to grant ourselves forgiveness.
I have found that if I am struggling to forgive someone, what works is to first forgive myself for whatever went wrong. It doesn’t matter that you may perceive the other person to be the wrongdoer. Forgiving yourself allows a deeper inner openness, a release, that allows you to let go and more easily forgive the other. It also allows the forgiveness to be true and complete.
How many times have you “forgiven” someone only to find that the hurt is still there, that you still hold a grudge, that you are still angry and not free of the past? Forgiving yourself can help complete the forgiveness process and allow you to truly break free of the past and open to new beginnings. Forgiving yourself may be the key to healing a long broken relationship, or to transforming hurt and pain and becoming available to more wholeness.
At this season of deep inner work may we find the willingness not only to forgive all who’ve hurt us, but to forgive ourselves, that we may move forward with greater freedom and wholeness.