Forgiving yourself can be one of the most challenging pieces of the recovery puzzle. Putting your life together again is daunting, and letting go of the pain, you caused yourself and others can feel impossible. To truly move forward, though, you must be willing to extend the forgiveness and grace to yourself that you would extend to others you love. Forgiving others often feels easier than forgiving yourself, but self-forgiveness is the key to receiving grace.
What Does It Mean to Allow Yourself, Grace?
To allow yourself grace is to let yourself receive and experience the powerful gift of self-forgiveness, even when you may feel that it is undeserved. Grace is an act of love. It's not always easy, but it is essential to become willing to love yourself enough to allow this love to filter through to your inner self.
Grace is modeled after a divine gift someone with power or authority gives to grant forgiveness and mercy. The difference between giving and accepting grace to yourself, though, is that you are the only one with the power and authority to forgive yourself. True recovery requires self-forgiveness: the willingness to give yourself the gift of grace.
The Power of Grace in Healing
Healing Grace treats a wound by assisting in its natural repair. When the grace needed is for self-forgiveness, that power to heal applies to your soul. You can heal when you allow yourself the grace that leads to self-forgiveness.
Grace is an enabling power. Grace embodies hope and altruism. In this case, the hope and generosity you offer yourself after genuinely forgiving yourself begin to heal those old wounds. Healing begins when you have truly forgiven yourself of all of the harm you caused yourself and others. Then and only then can you give yourself the gift of grace and accept that gift yourself.
Allowing Grace for Yourself in Treatment
When you enter addiction treatment, you come in with physical, mental, and spiritual scars. Physically, your body needs to heal from addiction and the physical side effects of your use. This healing may not ever feel complete, especially if there is long-term physical damage to your health.
However, there can be a stronger sense of complete mental and spiritual healing, which involves forgiving yourself for the pain or health problems your body may now carry from years of drug or alcohol use. Grace in the context of self-forgiveness may not be able to heal your body completely, but if you are willing to give yourself complete grace to achieve complete self-forgiveness, you can heal the wounds in your mind and your soul.
Why Self-Forgiveness Helps Restore Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is a gaping wound that often occurs with substance abuse. Watching yourself make mistakes or harm yourself or others repeatedly cuts down your self-esteem until you may feel that you have none whatsoever.
Many with addiction will say, "I hate myself." Additionally, those who forgive themselves will say that they did hate themselves right before that time. However, by offering the healing power of grace to themselves, they can rebuild their self-esteem and learn to love themselves once again. When you forgive yourself, your life changes.
The Gift of Grace for Your Future
Life isn't perfect, and we all make mistakes. Relapse may be part of your recovery process, or you may make all new mistakes. Rather than go back to that place of guilt, shame, blame, and self-loathing, you can consistently offer yourself the gift of grace for your future.
Grace is not a one-time gift that you offer yourself in treatment and then never give again. You can continue to forgive yourself by offering healing grace whenever necessary. There is no limit to the number of times you can utilize this process. Through the practice of providing and receiving grace, along with self-forgiveness consistently, you can live your life with love and empowerment, knowing that you can right any wrongs with yourself. The gift of grace is one that you can keep on giving to yourself.
How to Begin the Process of Self-Forgiveness
How do you start forgiving yourself? Grace begins with acceptance. Look at yourself in the mirror, literally or figuratively, and acknowledge who you are—the things you like about yourself and the things that you don't like about yourself. Self-acceptance allows you to initiate change and forgiveness.
As for the things you have done in the past, leave them there. Acknowledge that they happened, make amends to yourself and others as needed, and then allow yourself the grace to let them go forever. The more you practice self-forgiveness, the easier it will be to receive the gift.
Allowing yourself grace through self-forgiveness is part of the healing process in drug or alcohol addiction treatment. Grace has the power to heal your soul, rebuild your self-esteem, and keep working for you in the future. Letting go of the past and giving yourself that grace will free you to live a new life. At The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women, we know the power of grace and self-forgiveness. Our Costa Mesa, California residential facility for women, is a peaceful refuge from the storms of life where you can look in the mirror and learn to love the woman looking back at you. Self-acceptance is key to understanding more about addiction and yourself, and education is essential to the healing process at The Ho Tai Way. You truly have what it takes to heal yourself; we just help you find your way. Contact us at (714) 581-3974 to begin your journey to self-forgiveness.