Letting Yourself Off The Hook

letting yourself off the hookCarrying resentments and grudges through life and never letting them go will truly prevent you from ever being happy. But often before we can even think about forgiving others we have to forgive ourselves first. Letting yourself off the hook for things you have done in the past allows you to do the same for others.

Letting Yourself Off The Hook

Most of us do not want to admit that we were ever wrong about anything. More than that, when it comes to disagreements or conflicts, our egos are bound and determined to be right, and not only that, they will keep us stuck as we hold onto “our position” as if our lives depended on it.

It is this insistence that we are right and that others were wrong, or our belief that we were wronged (a victim mindset) that ultimately prevents us from looking at our own stuff. And by holding onto those positions, never looking at our specific roles within the dramas of life, we never get the chance to see anything to forgive ourselves for, and without forgiving ourselves… forgiving others is impossible.

This is why letting yourself off the hook is so important… it frees you to let others off the hook as well and move on in life.

But there is another variation of this story and that is when we take on all of the blame ourselves and refuse to place any blame or acknowledge someone else’s role in the thing. By taking on all of the blame and responsibility, and without seeing clearly that there were two or more parts in a situation, we take on way more than we could ever forgive ourselves for as we take on a disproportionate amount of blame upon ourselves.

That is anything but letting ourselves off the hook and though we refuse to be angry, or blame, or look objectively at a situation and the parts of others in it, where we think we are letting others exist without any responsibility, in the end we set up a weird combination of a martyr-victim role that we play out all by ourselves. We become martyrs from assuming all fault and we are victims of ourselves by putting all the blame on our own doorstep.

In the end, self-forgiveness is a lot like self-love. You cannot forgive others if you cannot forgive yourself… just as you cannot really love others without loving yourself first.

Today, if you have any angst about a situation or even someone else or if you are holding a long-term resentment over something that happened long ago, or even not long ago… I urge you to closely and honestly examine everyone’s contribution to the matter…

Acknowledge and OWN your part and choose to forgive yourself… fully, and after that make amends if you can or feel that you need to.

But most importantly, after doing that, after letting yourself off the hook, do the same for the other person as well. Fully forgive them, make peace with the situation, let go of it and move on.

Life is too short to be weighted down by resentments of the past. What does it cost you by carrying around old resentments, grudges, and personal affronts that you refuse to let go of? What does it cost you in terms of your happiness, peace of mind, and overall satisfaction with life?

Think about that one… If the cost is too high maybe it is time to start letting yourself off the hook – practicing some self-forgiveness… and forgiving others as well. Lighten the load and live your life.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo by Andy Wooten 14 December 2014

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