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  • We all make mistakes, we're all human, and it really is time now to find that forgiveness for yourself,

  • otherwise you're going to stay stuck in a cycle of blame, guilt, shame and self-punishment,

  • and I know from personal experience that is hell on Earth.

  • So I woke up that day and I was really excited because it was our school sports day that afternoon.

  • I really thought I was in with a chance of getting a medal.

  • (In 1893, Lis Cashin was just 13 years old, and excited to be chosen to throw the javelin in a school competition.)

  • I walked over to the runners' box and I picked the javelin up, I took a really deep breath, and then I threw the javelin as hard as I could.

  • At the very last moment, it veered to the right, and headed towards my friend Sammy.

  • I saw the javelin strike her in the head, just above her left eye.

  • She stumbled forwards and there was lots of blood.

  • I just collapsed onto my knees with my head in my hands saying, "Oh, my God, oh, my God."

  • I just couldn't process what was happening.

  • (Tragically, Lis' friend Sammy died of her injuries four fays later.)

  • The accident was all over the news, all over the media, and I think my family wanted to try and protect me from that.

  • But nobody really knew what to do, and so I was really sort of left to get on with things on my own.

  • I already had a very difficult relationship with my stepfather,

  • and on the way back from Sammy's funeral, he said that "We were never to mention her name in our house again."

  • And so not only did I not get any professional help to come to terms with things, I couldn't even talk about it at home.

  • (Lis developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, although she wasn't diagnosed until years later.)

  • (PTSD is a mental health condition characterised by flashbac ks, insomnia and severe emotional distress...)

  • (As well as the immeidate imacpt, Lis blamed herself for decades afterwards,

  • despited the fact that the inquest had concluded that Sammy's death as not her fault.)

  • I just felt like I had to pretend to everyone that I was OK, when really I was feeling all of this mental and emotional turmoil.

  • (When Lis was 47, she started trauma therapy.)

  • (Slowly, she was able to see that Sammy's death was not her fault.)

  • After that therapy, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

  • In the moment when I realised that I'd done nothing wrong.

  • I also realised all the pain and the suffering that I had created for myself.

  • When I talk to people about self-forgiveness, I've never experienced such pain in a room.

  • It's far greater than when I talk to people about forgiving others.

  • Self-forgiveness cuts to the core of our identity.

  • People often go on journeys of self-discovery, and Lis Cashin's a very good example of that.

  • It took decades for her to move to a place of forgiving herself and then, in a way, then moving beyond forgiving herself,

  • because she realised she was a child, it was an accident,

  • there were adults there who should have taken the entire responsibility for what had happened on the school playground that day.

  • So the accident had happened, but then it was me that had created these really destructive beliefs about myself - that I was evil, that I deserved to be punished -

  • and I'd gone on to punish myself in many ways over many years.

  • And when I realized that, it was like my heart broke open and I developed self-compassion,

  • and really needed to forgive myself for hurting myself for so many years.

  • (What can you fo if you are struggling to forgive yourself?)

  • I think self-forgiveness is very much wrapped up with guilt and shame, and this is why I think accepting yourself for who you are is critical to everything.

  • It's about having this broader perspective on life.

  • So for instance, in the case where you may... you may have had a drug addiction in the past and caused a lot of damage to yourself and others.

  • You may then actually broaden your perspective to look beyond yourself. Why had this happened?

  • It's an addiction. It's an illness.

  • And that can really make a change to how you perceive yourself and how your life progresses.

  • By talking to others, by exploring other people's stories that are similar to yours.

  • What happened to them? How is it similar? How is it different?

  • And then I think key to everything is self-awareness.

  • Going on a journey to discover who you are.

  • Knowing yourself better.

  • Because if we don't know ourselves, we become deluded, very often, and we create great damage in the world.

  • There's a wonderful quote by the spiritual writer Richard Rohr. He says, "...if we don not transform our pain, we will most asuredly transmit it."

  • So now I make it my mission every day to really practise love and self-care.

  • I meditate every day, I make sure I get out in nature or exercise.

  • I have a really brilliant support network of friends now, and family.

  • I'll reach out for professional support if I feel I still need it.

  • And now the thoughts I have towards myself are much more loving, and accepting, and forgiving.

  • Some people have said that self-forgiveness is selfish.

  • I don't think that's the case at all.

  • Because if you can't forgive yourself, you are central to your drama, and you're probably telling everyone about it all the time.

  • Or if you're not, it's in your head all the time.

  • Self-forgiveness is about making peace with things you've done which you cannot change.

  • And also it's about accepting you are fallible human being, just like the rest of the human race.

We all make mistakes, we're all human, and it really is time now to find that forgiveness for yourself,

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A2 forgiveness forgiving realised accepting accident sammy

'How I forgave myself for the death of my friend' | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2022/11/01
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