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The Power of Self-Forgiveness, and the Removal of Shame

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

There is great power in being refined. We’re going to really break down what that means, and take an in-depth look at the process and the power of refinement. The first thing we’re going to look at is the power that lies in forgiving yourself and letting go of shame.

When you carry shame inside, you’re focused on how you feel instead of how you might learn from whatever failure prompted that feeling of shame. When you’re in a negative mindset you say things about yourself like, “I’m dumb,” “I’m stupid,” “I should have…” “I shouldn’t have…” “I always do things like this.” And on and on and on.

This shame cycle prevents you from looking objectively at the situation, evaluating why you failed and understanding what led to that situation.

If you’re owned by that failure and all of the negative self-talk that comes with it, you become miserable. Misery, in this situation, is a result of owning your failure as a part of you. If you’re miserable over a failure, realize that you’re taking far more responsibility for that failure than you should, and treating yourself far worse than you would treat others. We often forgive others for things we would never forgive ourselves for.

Why is that? Why do we hold ourselves to such a high standard, much higher than we’d expect from anyone else? Maybe it’s because we think too much of ourselves. Think about that, the negative self-talk is so self-focused that it causes you to be self-absorbed. It’s all tied to ego and self-importance—rather than just taking the failure and learning from it.

I have an exercise for you. If you have a failure that has you carrying shame, we can turn it into a lesson instead, creating value from something that currently creates only misery. First, think of the failure that is making you so miserable. Now, create a scenario in your mind where someone else caused this failure, not you.

This pulls you out of the situation emotionally and allows you to look at it objectively. It also allows your mind to apply the level of forgiveness that you show others. Now ask yourself the following questions.

  • What events led to this failure

  • What decisions were made that led to this failure

  • What decisions could have been made that would have avoided this failure

  • What good decisions were made that should be made in the future

  • What kind of situation might arise in the future where these decisions would apply

  • If a similar situation occurs, how should it be handled, step by step, to avoid failing again

If you look at the failure objectively and without shame, the above is a logical process that will produce a roadmap for similar situations in the future, which will help you avoid making the same mistake twice. If you don’t learn from your failures, they’re compounded. All that pain was for nothing.

Owning your shame is selfish. Learning from your failures is compassionate and giving. You are not defined by your failures, you have the opportunity to be refined by them instead.


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