In Part One of this three-part blog on the search for self-forgiveness, I identified my first gift of healing:
1. My first step in forgiveness was to stop turning every good thought or action into something bad.
I created this prayer in case you might find yourself destroying all good things about you:
Divine, please help me recognize any goodness in me and guide me to peace.
Here is Part Two of The Key Is Forgiveness:
In my search for forgiveness, I realized that I had been finding fault—with me, you, life—for so long, I had come to think that anything that could have been good or victorious or redeeming couldn’t possibly be real. Destruction had become a skill—and I was good at it! If I was going to learn self-forgiveness, I had to stop destroying every good thing that happened. That was much harder than I ever imagined.
My brain was incredibly skilled at finding fault with myself and others. I couldn’t hold a good thought long enough to feel how good goodness feels! I didn’t know how to think supportive thoughts. When I needed to think them, I couldn’t remember them. THAT realization was my second gift of healing:
2. When I most needed uplifting encouraging thoughts, I couldn’t remember the very thoughts I needed to think!
I began to write lists of better thoughts on index cards and carry them in my pocket. When I put my hand in and felt the cards, I’d pull one out and make myself read it: “You have always been a better person than you have allowed yourself to believe”, or “Maybe you are actually worthwhile”, or “You are worth loving.” I had to write the best thoughts I could come up with and read them throughout the day. It was an entirely new experience for me! The moments of reading good thoughts were the antibiotics to a lifelong disease. When I read those thoughts, I was thinking those thoughts. I learned that reading was thinking, and my brain couldn’t tell the difference. Try it. It may be true for you as well.
Years later, I got my first smart phone. I began to put good thoughts in as appointments throughout the day. I still do it. The phone dings at 10:00am, 2:00pm, 7:00pm. I look down and there is a message to me, from me: “I’m the man I always wanted to be” or “My life is filled with beauty” or “I am blessed to love and be loved by so many friends!” I can’t help but smile and be grateful each time I read one. After more than 20 years, this process of being intentional in choosing and scheduling better thoughts continues to bring joy to my life.
If you are going through your days plagued with despairing or unkind thoughts, ask people to tell you good thoughts and write them down. Or borrow some of mine. If you need a little prayer, here is one I love:
Blessed One, guide me to new thoughts of love, kindness, and joy!
If you’d like to read more empowering thoughts, I’ve included many in my newest book, Your Life Is Your Prayer. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Your-Life-Prayer-Spiritual-Everything/dp/1633539709/ref=nodl_