Updated: Mar 24, 2021
Getting to forgiveness requires unconditional positive regard; cultivating it for another begins with cultivating it for ourselves. When we can extend forgiveness, acceptance, and authenticity to ourselves, we can extend it to others. Otherwise, true forgiveness remains elusive.
If you’re coping with incongruency within yourself or within another, know that it takes bravery to recognize it and a high level of tolerance for vulnerability in order to overcome it. Luckily, this can be cultivated.
What does it mean to be authentic or congruent? It means being able to recognize your truth, being able to behave in alignment with your truth, and being able to voice thoughts and opinions that are a reflection of your authentic truth. Unfortunately, this is not common or easy and for some, the ability to honestly know and accept the self is not even encouraged let alone embraced in a society that celebrates the way things look as opposed to the way things actually feel.
How can we come to know and accept the self? We can come to know and accept the self through adequate and accurate mirroring that may take place in a therapeutic relationship or it may occur by paying attention to patterns through the synthetization of many pieces of information acquired through various relational interactions. It may also occur as we piece together the various anecdotes contained in self-help books, articles, and self-assessment tools. Regardless of how the information about the self is obtained, the onus is on the individual to take the time and space to compassionately reflect and gently self-assess while integrating the information to create an authentically internalized sense of the self. This may require you to ask yourself: what is true about me?
The sense of self that is cultivated from authentic self-assessment can result in the concretization of the power that lies within; it lies within knowing thyself. Know thyself; it is the source of all creation. All creativity stems from knowing the self.
Forgiveness is an act of creativity; creating a narrative in which there is an allowance of humanness which includes flaws, mistakes, and perhaps perseverance that lends itself to cultivating unconditional positive regard for the self as well as for another.
I like to think that any given individual is doing the best that they can at any given moment and sometimes, our best at a given moment is not as helpful or productive as our best at another given moment. With this perspective in mind, it is possible to create allowances for the human foibles that may cause hurt to others and ourselves.
This does not make it “okay” to absentmindedly or intentionally create pain for ourselves or others but rather it allows for flexibility in the way that we choose to conceptualize mistakes which can inform and even guide the way that we treat ourselves or others in the quest for forgiveness. Accountability; holding ourselves responsible for our behavior creates a bridge to the opportunity for self-discovery, self-development, and self-acceptance. When we openly hold ourselves accountable, we create space for another to also see our effort to be authentic, congruent, and caring. Caring is courageous.
Taking responsibility for our behavior demonstrates that we care about how we impact others but more importantly, it shows how much we care about how we are impacting our sense of self. Have you ever heard the saying, “Love yourself before you can love anyone else?”
If your sense of self is in alignment with your highest truth, you are in alignment with your power and that is when unconditional love and forgiveness for self and others is accessible.
Best and Be Well,
Alina Turpin, LMFT