"The act of forgiving yourself is one of the most difficult things for people to do," said life coach Sheree Franklin. "Self-directed anger prevents you from being truly happy and achieving success."
"What are you thinking about while you drive? While you wait in line? While you're at work?" she said. "What wakes you up in the middle of the night? After you write this out, we can see the patterns and help you make different choices."
In order to make progress, Franklin said, you have to face the wounds that cause the emotional hurt before you can change things for the better.
"Sometimes what you find is people are running away from things," she said. "But those life tests will grow little legs and come after you. Once you face it, then you become powerful. We try to jump out of the way of these challenges because we don't want the chaos, but there is never growth without upheaval."
Here are Franklin's tips to getting on the path of self-forgiveness:
Don't dwell on the past. "I have clients come in and complain that they've made bad choices or things don't go their way and I'll say, 'Allow me to apologize to you from the Universe,' " Franklin said. "You didn't do everything wrong and you didn't do everything right. You are constantly evolving and you have an opportunity to choose a new way. We all get to decide."
Set an intention to change. "If you have self-talk about yourself that is negative, you need to change this belief system. But beliefs are so strong it's like changing your DNA. You have to be willing to play in that arena of where you want to be," she said. "Put that belief on your bathroom mirror. This can be as simple as, 'I'm at peace.' Once you get the program piece in place — it won't be like instant coffee — but like T. Harv Eker says in his book 'Secrets of the Millionaire Mind,' 'Thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions, and actions produce results.' "
Read something uplifting each day. "I ask my clients to set aside 10-15 minutes for themselves each day. This is to 'prime the pump,' so to speak. I recommend 'Radical Forgiveness' by Colin Tipping."
Listen to your body. "If a client has chronic pain and they've been to the doctor and know they don't have a serious disease, it usually means there is more emotional work to do. … I encourage acupuncture or energy work in addition to the emotional work. Once we peel back the layers, I start to see the physical symptoms with my clients improve drastically."
Give service. "We are so caught up with everything going wrong for us, we forget there are others who need help. It can even be just opening a door for someone or acknowledging that someone can go first. You won't be able to move out of whatever is holding you back until you step out of yourself."