When trying to forgive yourself just doesn’t work.
In last week’s Tips we had a question about forgiving ourselves. Michelle wanted to know if the “Releasing Blocks to Action” method could be used with a block to self-forgiveness.
I said it could… but that I suspect the very concept of “I need to forgive myself (or another person)” or “I just need to let it go” is a sign that a further Focusing process is needed around what happened.
If you turn toward something in you that says, “I need to forgive myself,” you can pause and sense the whole feel of that, including what is under it. Maybe a sense of impatience. Maybe a sense of being tired of going over and over the same ground.
Then you would acknowledge that, let it know you hear it, it feels an impatienceto move on…there is a sense of being tired…it doesn’t want you to keep going over and over the same ground.
That feeling of repeating, going over and over, being stuck in something that doesn’t go further — that’s what it feels like to be in a frozen structure, the kind of stuck situation that you can’t get out of in the ordinary way. Barbara McGavin and I call it a “Tangle.” When you are in a Tangle, every attempt to solve the problem is just more of the problem – including trying to forgive yourself. Simply doesn’t work!
So what can we do instead?
It all starts with 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. You’ll be hearing them deeply… not for what they recommend that you do (like “you’ve got to forgive yourself”) but for what they deeply feel, including what they are not wanting and wanting for you.
There is an incomplete process underlying the Tangle… also called a “stopped process.” The next whole step of life could not happen… so everything that needed to happen after that is stacked up behind it like a traffic jam behind an overturned truck.We can’t “think” our way through it… or “forgive” our way through it either…but we can be present to the place of stuckness so that the next needed step can finally form.
Just to be clear: I’m not against forgiveness! Forgiveness is another name for radical acceptance of yourself, including actions that didn’t carry you or others forward. But I think forgiveness is something that naturally happens when we can turn a compassionate heart toward our own emerging process. It doesn’t have to be decided on. Forgiveness comes.