The Road to Forgiveness Part 2 – Forgiving Yourself

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To be a better negotiator, you must have confidence.  Confidence comes from experience.  Confidence also comes from your “inner game.”  If you don’t have the playbook to your inner game on lockdown, it will be hard to become a better negotiator, if it’s not a skill you possess.

Forgiveness.  I blogged about that in Part I.  I wrote about releasing resentment and some of my journey to show how much resentment I had from all the bad things that were done to me.

So releasing the resentment and forgiving others is one thing.  That is one side of the work and often times the only part that many people will do.  There’s one other part that you need to do in order to be at peace with yourself.  Of course with my faith in God, that comes into play.  God forgave me for all my sins and transgressions.  Despite the fact that I knew that and had done the work to forgive others, I refused to forgive myself.

Yes that’s right.  I said I would not forgive myself.  So after all the work I did to release all that resentment towards all those people who hurt me to my core, my family, my friends, my relationships, I refused to forgive myself.  This is probably the biggest thing that I struggle with today.  I have forgiven myself but often times because of my dedication and commitment to work in excellence, when I make a mistake, I am often times really hard on myself.

We cannot forget to forgive ourselves.  In fact, that is the number one person to forgive.  When I initially did the resentment list of people I held resentment towards or people I have harmed, I did not include myself.  It took a very long time for me to realize I needed to forgive me.  I felt like a fraud.  I hated myself for all the bad choices I made.  I was ashamed of many many things I had done in my life. I can’t erase any of it.  I can only work to be a better version of me each and every day.  The past is gone.  I used to think I could somehow go back and change it and erase it.

I had to come to terms with it and let it go. I worked very very hard on loving myself.  I still do on a daily basis.  I believe you have to love you first before you can love anybody else.  I never was able to give myself fully in a relationship in the past because I didn’t love me, so how could I give something I never had?  I felt like I was not the best mother because of how jacked up I was.  I lived in fear of disapproval all the time.  So many things clouded my life and the ability to enjoy life.

It’s amazing to me.  I have been single a very long time and did that on purpose when I first started working on myself.  In the past I needed someone to complete me and in my old jacked up mindset, someone to reinforce what my parents had led me to believe I was, a broken spirit. I didn’t want to attract the me I was.  I wanted to attract the, me that loved me, forgave me and was clear and authentic from the heart.  That is who I am today.  I don’t need someone to complete me.  I am complete in who I am and thankful for that.

It didn’t happen overnight and sometimes thoughts still attempt to weasel their way into my mind such as that feeling of loneliness because I have no one in my life. The feelings of unforgiveness towards myself for making bad choices in relationships attempt to take root in my mind.  “If I would have made better choices, I wouldn’t be alone today.”  I’m sure I’m not the only one out there that feels that way.  I’m just picking that as one thing that attempts to take up rent free space in my head.  Insert whatever yours is in this spot.  We all have it. I have an arsenal of tools to combat that junk. I use those tools and they work.

So how do you go about forgiving yourself?  What can you do to release your own resentment towards yourself? It depends on how much resentment you have and how willing you are to move forward towards a better way of life for yourself and those around you.

I recommend getting a team.  A support team of various people and groups that will help you move through it.  You might start working with a pastor or counselor as one part of the team.  I don’t think counseling is the 100% cure all, but I do believe it is good to include as part of the process.  Find someone you trust that will not just sugar coast it week to week.  A pastor or counselor that also has a support group would be good too.

If the pastor or counselor doesn’t have an available support group, find a support group that deals with some of the same things you have in your life.  There are many support groups out there.  I went to one that dealt with growing up and being in relationship with alcoholics.  Actually I went to several different support groups until I found one or two that worked for me.  Get a coach.  I work with clients who also have counselors and some who don’t.  How am I qualified to coach?  I’ve been through hell and back and successfully came out on the other side.  I will take you as far as you are willing to go but you have to do the work.  I have had clients who started to get great results but quit because it started to get uncomfortable.  Doing work on yourself is not going to be rose petals and fairy dust.  It may bring up some challenges that you have to face and either work through and walk through or turn and run back to your current comfort zone. Email me at Eldonna@thinklikeanegotiator.com to inquire about coaching.

Attend personal development seminars.  There is a big element of personal development in my Think Like A Negotiator Live Training. Like I said at the beginning, to be a better negotiator, you have to get a grip on the inner game.  This is so much more than a negotiation training. Email me for the special I sent out to my list.  It’s for a significant discount off the website investment. There are many other good seminars out there as well.  Be aware of those who take you money and produce no results.   There are some of those out there.  Do your due dilligance.  I offer a 100% no questions asked money back guarantee.  After the session in the first day of my last training, the participants were saying they had already learned so much.  I promise to over deliver on value.

The other side of the coin is health care.  I see a chiropractor regularly, get massages, acupuncture and do yoga.  I do these things to keep my health in line and my body free of stress and tension from day to day life.  I attend church and have more than one coach.

I also have a group of friends in my inner circle that I can trust beyond a shadow of a doubt.  I am very careful of who I let into my inner circle.  Jim Rohn said your income is the average of the 5 people you hang around the most.  I believe that goes one step further with your attitude and peace of mind being affected by the people you hang around the most.  I don’t let just anyone come to my house.  I don’t let just anyone in my inner circle.  Often times I have let people in and they have brought in some negativity and drama.  Very quickly they are exited out of my life.  If I feel resentment for whatever has happened, I pray rose petals at their feet and blessings from God for them until the resentment subsides.  I also journal about it and share with one of my close friends to process the hurt. I typically don’t let someone back into my life that has had an extreme negative impact on me.  I had one person whose interaction with them landed me in the hospital with a severe anxiety attack. I had to stay overnight because they were treating me for a heart condition that I did not have.  I knew it was anxiety.  I had to work on it a very long time to let go of the resentment I felt. I worked hard and released the resentment (which took some time) but have never had any further interaction with that person because of the severity of what happened to me as a result of my interaction with them.

Just because you release the resentment and forgive someone, doesn’t mean you have to let that person back into your life.  Forgiveness is about releasing the poison of resentment.  It doesn’t mean you have to set yourself up to potentially do it all over again.

One last thing, someone may be saying “but I did this horrible thing, how can I forgive myself for that?”  Divorce, abortion, adultery, murder, robbery, stealing, abuse, whatever it may be. Or you may be blaming yourself for something that happened; “if I was there, they would not have died.” There is neither rhyme nor reason why things happen the way they do sometimes.  Why did the person get delayed on his way to the Twin Towers the morning of 911 and lived to see the towers come down on all their coworkers?  Maybe you are blaming yourself for something that happened to you as a child or as an adult.  I know I struggled with blaming myself for being raped.  “If I hadn’t chosen to go to that place or if I hadn’t been going out with that man, this wouldn’t have happened.”

I heard Sandra Yancey of eWomen network speak recently and she had some great advice.  “When your past calls – HANG UP!.” Your past has nothing new to say.  We need to stop stumbling on the things that are behind us. There is nothing we can do to change yesterday, only make a difference for today. It does take some work, but with the right attitude and perseverance, you will succeed.

Some tools to use to start forgiving yourself and bring peace into your life:

  1. GoPINK Rule #1 – Turn Negative Self Talk to Powerful Self Talk.  Start with Zig Ziglars Life Changing Procedure.  This will get you on the path to loving who you are.  Email me at Eldonna@thinklikeanegotitor.com and I’ll send it to you.
  2. Ask yourself this question “what do I absolutely love about myself today?
  3. Stop watching and listening to so much negative stuff.  Do you have the TV on all the time? Turn it off.  What music do you listen to?  I listen to mostly Christian music and positive music.  I wake up every morning with a song in my head and it’s usually something positive.  Now I am a rocker and love my rock music at times but limit what goes in to keep me thoughts clear. Stop listening to talk radio.  It’s mostly negative.  Stop watching or reading the news.  Instead, replace that stuff with positive affirmations or daily readings to get you on the right path.
  4. Start the day with reading positive things, prayer, meditation, uplifting music etc.  Leave the computer alone.  Read the life changing procedure to yourself in the morning and at night.  Write your gratitude list or your celebration list to celebrate what you accomplished every day. You have to replace the negative with something powerfully positive.
  5. Avoid the “dance of drama.” The last tip in my Think Like A Negotiator book says “You can’t negotiate with crazy.” When irrational or people with a lot of drama and negativity show up and start throwing that mess your way, step away from the crazy or you will get sucked in and whacked by that stuff.  Don’t engage in the drama.  Respond to drama with love and kindness or don’t respond at all.  I still get sucked in sometimes to people’s drama and I regret it every time I engage in that mess.
  6. Pray rose petals and blessings at the feet of those whom you resent and also YOURSELF!  It will help the burning poison of resentment subside.

These are just a few tools to use to get you started.  I firmly believe to be a better negotiator, you have to successfully negotiate the inner game.  What’s your inner game?  Are you executing plays that will guide you toward success or tear your dreams apart?

If you feel like you’d like me to help you do the work, then get in touch and I’ll help you on your journey to becoming the best you that you can be.  I want you to go to the top along with me.  There’s room for everyone tat the top and you have certain gifts and a purpose on this earth that unforgiveness and resentment will keep you from sharing.  You can’t live your purpose and share your gifts with the world if you are bogged down by resentment and negativity.  Do the work, you will be glad you did.  The power is in the work!

 

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez

Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at www.EldonnaLewisFernandez.com

1 Comment

  1. So true, Eldonna! Life is lived from the inside out. Slowly….I’ve learned that lesson. Enjoying the journey, empowering other people, and creating a massive impact flows from internal personal growth. Some may achieve a lot in the eyes of Pop Culture, but looking closely reveals a horrendous price. Media headlines remind us of that daily.

    You’ve articulated a fundamental truth while providing great guidance. Well done!

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