Self-love is about self-care, healing and nurturance, but it’s also about addressing all those times when we were less than loving to ourselves; those times when we prioritized someone else’s needs above our own because we felt we needed their love so badly to belong or just to feel loved.
We need to forgive ourselves when we engaged in behaviors that reinforced a wounded (victimized) sense of ourselves or when we self-medicated or denied who we really are to ourselves because it was easier or it made more sense to our wounded mindset.
A ‘Forgiveness Letter to Myself’ is about switching the perspective about our issues from the person with whom we’re dealing with, to it being about us. We need to see that the issues we are dealing with are about us and our history.
That is all. We need to make our own issues belong to us. When we see that, we suddenly see that our issues emanate from ourselves and that they are only related to other people when we judge that person by those standards and project those comparisons and judgements into that person’s life, and our interactions with them.
The forgiveness letter should be a sound message of support to the parts of ourselves that never get to hear from us normally; those parts of ourselves that are submerged or are not fully developed that need to hear from us.
Begin by forgiving ourselves for not fully hearing our own needs. When we grew up we didn’t even know what our own needs might have been, let alone know how to meet them. Now that we’re older, we know more about how to meet our own needs. That still leaves the younger parts of ourselves, who need to be cared for and need to know that their needs will be catered for, needing to know that we are sorry for not prioritizing them when their suffering was happening.
We need to let the neglected parts of ourselves know that we are sorry, and that we would like to make amends if they are willing. A forgiveness letter can open the dialog for that.
This kind of letter might look like the following:
I am sorry for all the times when I didn’t care about me or what ‘me’ meant. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to be the best support that I could be to my younger self when that part of me was really struggling.
Being strong in myself is hard when carrying a difficult past, but that’s no excuse for bailing on myself when myself back then was all I had. I love myself and I need a close and dependable relationship with me. I love my younger selves and I parent them as those parts need to be parented. I meet their needs now.
This letter is an asking letter. Please will you forgive me for not putting me first, for not prioritizing my needs, my fears, and my concerns. Forgive me for not recognizing that my needs and wounds come first and that only after they are taken care of, that they will recede and allow me to think of other things.
Forgive me for thinking that I didn’t need to ask your forgiveness, and know that I am capable of moving on without your permission.
I treat myself with compassion and gentleness and set a good example of self-love to others by doing so.
Thank you. I love you,