Consider the possibility that all of your “so called” imperfections, including everything that
you have ever done that causes you to feel shame or guilt is actually in perfect divine order. From this more spiritual perspective, there is actually nothing wrong with you. You are, in fact completely perfect in all of your imperfection. In a certain sense, there is actually nothing to forgive.
Colin Tipping’s practice of Radical Self Forgiveness
British metaphysical philosopher Colin Tipping is of the opinion that there is nothing you can do that is beyond the reach of your own forgiveness. Dr. Tipping insists that his view is not a religious but rather spiritual one, and is based on the premise that we as humans cannot possibly understand the reasons that things happen …especially “bad” things. Our capacity is simply not great enough. There are often simply no answers. If we can accept the possibility that there is a bigger picture, perhaps we can also accept that our human failings and imperfections are actually a part of that picture. I am especially interested in considering Tipping’s view in light of the article I read in Psychology Today which states that “Perfectionism” has been found to be a great source of unhappiness in American culture. (see my previous blog) Can we really learn to forgive and accept ourselves and let some of this perfectionism go? Tipping has a plan to do just this.
The Five Point Plan For Radical Self Forgiveness
Here are the steps Dr. Tipping suggests we take to get to true self-forgiveness:
- The first step is to name your feeling. It is important to discern the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is about feeling badly about something you have done. Shame is a deeper feeling about the unworthiness of the self. Shame is more difficult to eradicate, as it is usually related to a long standing deeply held negative feeling about the self, that is “triggered” by circumstances.
- What is the origin of the feeling…when did you first feel it and what seems to bring it on?
- Uncover the beliefs that underlie your feelings, and challenge them. An example would be a feeling you have that you are always “A Loser”. Is it actually true? What is the evidence?
- Do your best to “reframe” the story in the light of either new evidence or a greater compassion for yourself. This process is obviously easier said than done. It involves telling a new story in which your “evidence” may simply be acceptance that you are only human and humans are hopelessly flawed.
- Forgive yourself. Consider the spiritual perspective that sees a bigger picture and allows everything in the world, including you, to be exactly as it is, and sees an elegant order and beauty in all of it. Look at a picture of the universe such as the one provided here and tell me that this is not perfection in the truest sense of the word