Focusing Tip #388 – “Forgive yourself” – Can you do it?

Focusing Tip #388 – “Forgive yourself” – Can you do it?
July 16, 2013 Ann Weiser Cornell

“It’s not that easy to forgive yourself just by willing it.”

Michelle writes:

I often hear people say to a friend who is preoccupied with a past event, “forgive yourself”, or “try to get over it” or “let it go.” I realize that they are trying to be helpful but…it’s not that easy! I know from experience that having the intention or just willing yourself to get over something, or to forgive yourself or others just isn’t enough.

I believe that people would forgive themselves or others, get over something that is troubling them or let go of an issue, if only they knew how!

Since I am currently listening to your CD on Releasing Blocks To Action, I wondered how that releasing process with Focusing would work with forgiveness, forgiving ourselves or someone else.

Dear Michelle, 

I so much agree with you. It doesn’t help to be told “get over it” or “forgive yourself” without any way to know how to do that. Those recommendations also sound dismissive – like they come from a friend who is tired of listening to the same old same old!

We can get stuck in a rut when there is a painful past experience, repeating our thoughts and emotions about what happened until we drive our friends into making suggestions like “Just let it go.” We may even tell ourselves, “I have to let it go,” and resolve to do so… But too often the unresolved pain of what happened resurfaces and pulls us back into the cycle of “If only…” and “I should have…” and so on.

Focusing offers a natural road to letting go and forgiveness. When the life forward movement happens, when we feel the release when a Focusing process is complete, we move on. That is a moving on. There is no need to resolve to move on, or decide to forgive. It is already happening.

Is there a block to forgiveness?

If you’ve got a life issue that you long to move on from or forgive yourself for, you certainly could use the “releasing blocks to action” process found on my CD set. You would say: “I want to move on from the whole thing that happened, and something in me doesn’t want to.” Then you would invite a body sense of the “something that doesn’t want to” and listen compassionately to what it doesn’t want to have happen, if you move on.

As I say, you could do it that way. But I think that doing Focusing with unresolved issues is actually a lot simpler than that.

If an issue is unresolved, if it keeps looping and cycling in your emotional and mental state, if your talking about it is driving your friends to suggest you “get over it”…then it needs Focusing.

Barbara McGavin and I have developed an application of Focusing to issues that don’t resolve easily that we call “Treasure Maps to the Soul.” We emphasize a series of “powers” (resources) that are especially important when you are up against something that doesn’t change. The first – and most important – is being Self-in-Presence.

Being Self-in-Presence means that YOU are large, you are not caught up in the struggle, you are “the space” where the various parts of your issue can be fully heard. I’ll say more about this next week!

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