02/05/2015 06:34 pm ET Updated Apr 06, 2015

Wheelchair Wisdom: Self-Forgiveness Is an Inner Process

"You don't get forgiveness until you forget what is blocking you." -- John-Roger

When we start to wonder, "Who am I?" it's time to turn to the silence within. In that silence, we listen. Whenever you feel that you are out of touch with your loving, simply move into the quiet center within. The way to your loving is
through the true self.

Remember true forgiveness is unconditional, and it includes forgiving ourselves. To forgive is to be willing to let go of any hurt, guilt, or resentment that we feel in regard to another person -- or ourselves.

Growing up, my mom and I had a tumultuous and often rocky relationship. The concept of forgiveness was foreign to me as a teenager. I often held on to blame and grudges and decades later, when she became ill and in a nursing home, I regretted never letting her know how much she taught me about unconditional love and forgiveness. We were worlds apart until her last few weeks of her life when we allowed ourselves to be vulnerable with each other. We knew we didn't have much time left. That last evening, I was reading to her from a book by my spiritual teacher, John Roger on Forgiveness: The Key to the Kingdom.

As I was about to leave and promised her we would finish the book the next day, she blew me a kiss with a shaky hand, something she never did.

We never completed the book since she passed away that evening. That was 2007 and the place in the book is still earmarked. Don't ever, ever hesitate to share your love.

If we are holding on to a perception of self-blame, for example, emotionally beating ourselves up because of something we did or failed to do that we feel might prevented the illness we have
today, that perception accomplishes only one thing: it causes us stress.

Most people think of the term forgiveness as accepting an apology or letting go of an old grievance for a past harm another person has done to you. We "forgive" a debt, or we "forgive" a loved one who has said something hurtful. However, there is another meaning of forgiveness. It means letting go of your past perceptions.

Similarly, if another person was in some way responsible for our present illness or physical condition, we may be "holding a grudge." It is not unusual for one who has been seriously injured by another person's negligence to say, "I will never forgive her!" What we don't
realize is that clinging to this past perception causes us pain and stress. And clinging to it can never harm anyone but us.

The fact that we did something or someone else did something is of little concern.

The real problem begins for us when we judge what happened as wrong, bad, mean, hurtful, nasty, improper, and so on.

We hold so much against ourselves and against others; then we hold it against ourselves that we hold things against ourselves and others. The process of judging ourselves and others for not measuring up to our expectations is a painful one.

For this, forgiveness may be the greatest healer.

It's our judgment against ourselves we really need to forgive. The action was just the action. Our judgment that the action was bad, mean, and so forth is what caused our stress. Forgiving the action is not the same as denying that the harmful situation happened or saying that it really doesn't matter.

Certainly it matters! And surely you would do everything possible to avoid putting yourself in the position of getting injured again. But when we cling to blame or take the stance that we will "never forgive" the person who we feel is responsible for our pain, we are literally creating part of the "dis-ease" we wish to heal.

Self-forgiveness is a promise to yourself that you will not cause yourself any further pain by clinging to these perceptions, thinking that by doing so you will be punishing the other person (or yourself). Our lack of forgiveness in such situations is, in fact, part of the disease -- and we can heal it. We do this by recognizing that blame (and self-blame) is a specific kind of perception that we can let go of, thus freeing ourselves from its painful grasp.

Forgiveness always needs to begin with self-forgiveness.

Sometimes, when people, (myself included) learn that they have a serious illness, they begin judging themselves for not seeking medical help sooner, before the disease had progressed to the present stage. Again, it is your judgment that the was wrong -- the action itself is not the issue at this point.

As in the example of my mother, the process of forgiveness does not require the participation of anyone else. The process is a simple one.


To forgive yourself, begin by saying the following out loud to

  • • "I forgive myself for not seeing a doctor sooner." (To me, this
  • means I will forgive myself for anything I did or did not do
  • in the past. Instead, I will be responsive to life in the present
  • as I remember who I am.)
  • • "I forgive myself for holding on to those perceptions that

  • cause me pain." (To me, this means I will release myself from

  • negative perceptions.)
  • • "I forgive my parents (or others) for being emotionally
  • repressive." (To me, this means "I will let go of any blame I feel
  • toward my parent(s). Who I am today is my responsibility.")
Any of the fear or other negative self-judgments you may have uncovered in this chapter is an opportunity for you to practice forgiveness. Forgive yourself for judging, knowing it was the judgment -- not the action -- that caused the pain, hurt, and separation.

You are not saying that it does not matter that you or another person did something to cause your present pain. But that was then, and this is now.

Unhook yourself from the past so that you can be at peace with your life today.

Remember this key point from earlier articles: the true self doesn't need fame or recognition or approval, but the false self is like a celebrity who needs a lot attention and who screams and shouts until he gets it.

With love this Valentine's Day,


Wheelchair Wisdom: Awaken Your Spirit through Adversity is now available on Amazon, as well as your favorite book sellers. COMING SOON! The AUDIO version.

We had an amazing Kirkus Review last month! ( Kirkus has been an authoritative voice in book discovery for 80 years. Kirkus Reviews magazine gives industry professionals a sneak peek at the most notable books being published, and has a full suite of author services, including Kirkus Indie, a book review service for self-publishers. This review will go out to industry influencers (such as foreign and domestic publishers, agents, film producers, librarians and booksellers) as well as consumers.)

Linda Noble Topf