2-18-2016 Self Forgivness

FEBRUARY 18 2016

Opening Words

a total stranger one black day
a total stranger one black day
knocked living the hell out of me--
who found forgiveness hard because
my(as it happened)self he was
-but now that fiend and i are such
immortal friends the other's each
E.E. Cummings


Welcome to the UCE Addictions Ministry Group. We are a group of people who
have struggled with our own addictions and the addictions of others. We hope to
struggle well together as we work towards finding sanity, peace, love, and
healthy relationships in our lives. We will strive to spend our time together in a
spirit of love embracing the inherent worth and dignity of all. We accept and
respect the varied paths that our members will take to find sanity, peace, love,
and healthy relationships. We covenant to to be together in a safe and
confidential environment where we can explore our paths and our stories.
Our Relational Covenant
▪ Embrace and practice deep listening
▪ We will strive to be respectful of our limited time and try to keep our comments
focused on the issues that have brought us here.
▪ Experience the group in a non-judgmental frame of mind
▪ Build trust within the group
▪ Confidentiality about specifics shared or discussed is imperative for our
▪ We each take full responsibility for what we share or say, recognizing
retractions are acceptable as well
▪ Meetings will always start and end on time

Check-in and Processing of Check-In

Topic: Self-Forgiveness

The art of self-forgiveness  http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practice/the-art-of-self-forgiveness
October 10, 2014 Rick Hanson PhD

Everyone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, King
David, the Buddha, everybody.
It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse, and learn from them
so they don’t happen again. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the
point of usefulness: they’re unfairly self-critical.
Inside the mind are many sub-personalities. For example, one part of me might set the
alarm clock for 6 am to get up and exercise . . . and then when it goes off, another part
of me could grumble: “Who set the darn clock?” More broadly, there is a kind of inner
critic and inner protector inside each of us. For most people, that inner critic is
continually yammering away, looking for something, anything, to find fault with. It
magnifies small failings into big ones, punishes you over and over for things long past,
ignores the larger context, and doesn’t credit you for your efforts to make amends.
Therefore, you really need your inner protector to stick up for you: to put your
weaknesses and misdeeds in perspective, to highlight your many good qualities
surrounding your lapses, to encourage you to keep getting back on the high road even if
you’ve gone down the low one, and – frankly – to tell that inner critic to Shut Up.
With the support of your inner protector, you can see your faults clearly with fearing that
will drag you into a pit of feeling awful, clean up whatever mess you’ve made as best
you can, and move on. The only wholesome purpose of guilt, shame, or remorse is
learning – not punishment! – so that you don’t mess up in that way again. Anything past
the point of learning is just needless suffering. Plus excessive guilt, etc., actually gets in
the way of you contributing to others and helping make this world a better place, by
undermining your energy, mood, confidence, and sense of worth.
Seeing faults clearly, taking responsibility for them with remorse and making amends,
and then coming to peace about them: this is what I mean by forgiving yourself.
Start by picking something relatively small that you’re still being hard on yourself about,
and then try one or more of the methods below. I’ve spelled them out in detail since
that’s often useful, but you could do the gist of these methods in a few minutes or less.
Then if you like, work up to more significant issues.
Here we go:
• Start by getting in touch, as best you can, with the feeling of being cared about
by some being: a friend or mate, spiritual being, pet, or person from your
childhood. Open to the sense that aspects of this being, including the caring for
you, have been taken into your own mind as parts of your inner protector.
• Staying with feeling cared about, list some of your many good qualities. You
could ask the protector what it knows about you. These are facts, not flattery, and
you don’t need a halo to have good qualities like patience, determination,
fairness, or kindness.
• If you yelled at a child, lied at work, partied too hard, let a friend down, cheated
on a partner, or were secretly glad about someone’s downfall – whateverit was –
acknowledge the facts: what happened, what was in your mind at the time, the
relevant context and history, and the results for yourself and others. Notice any
facts that are hard to face – like the look in a child’s eyes when you yelled at her
– and be especially open to them; they’re the ones that are keeping you stuck. It
is always the truth that sets us free.
• Sort what happened into three piles: moral faults, unskillfulness, and everything
else. Moral faults deserve proportionate guilt, remorse, or shame, but
unskillfulness calls for correction, no more. (This point is very important.) You
could ask others what they think about this sorting (and about other points below)
– include those you may have wronged – but you alone get to decide what’s
right. For example, if you gossiped about someone and embellished a mistake he
made, you might decide that the lie in your exaggeration is a moral fault
deserving a wince of remorse, but that casual gossip (which most of us do, at
one time or another) is simply unskillful and should be corrected (i.e., never done
again) without self-flagellation.
• In an honest way, take responsibility for your moral fault(s) and unskillfulness.
Say in your mind or out loud (or write): I am responsible for ______ , _______ ,
and _______ . Let yourself feel it. Then add to yourself: But I am NOT
responsible for ______ , _______ , and _______ . For example, you are not
responsible for the misinterpretations or over-reactions of others. Let the relief of
what you are NOT responsible for sink in.
• Acknowledge what you have already done to learn from this experience, and to
repair things and make amends. Let this sink in. Appreciate yourself. Next,
decide what if anything remains to be done – inside your own heart or out there
in the world – and then do it. Let it sink in that you’re doing it, and appreciate
yourself for this, too.
• Now check in with your inner protector: is there anything else you should face or
do? Listen to that “still quiet voice of conscience,” so different from the pounding
scorn of the critic. If you truly know that something remains, then take care of it.
But otherwise, know in your heart that what needed learning has been learned,
and that what needed doing has been done.
• And now actively forgive yourself. Say in your mind, out loud, in writing, or
perhaps to others statements like: I forgive myself for ______ , _______ , and
_______ . I have taken responsibility and done what I could to make things
better. You could also ask the inner protector to forgive you, or others out in the
world, including maybe the person you wronged.
• You may need to go through one or more the steps above again and again to
truly forgive yourself, and that’s alright. Allow the experience of being forgiven to
take some time to sink in. Help it sink in by opening up to it in your body and
heart, and by reflecting on how it will help others for you to stop beating yourself
May you be at peace.

Closing Words

Take courage friends.
The way is often hard, the path is
never clear,
and the stakes are very high.
Take courage.
For deep down, there is another
you are not alone.
Wayne B. Aronson

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