How To Find Happiness – Living in the present

Key #5 to Happiness – Living in the present

“Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  And today?  Today is a gift.
That’s why we call it the present.”  ~Babatunde Olatunji

At first glance, you might ask – what does living in the present have to do with happiness?  What’s so great about the present?  What does it even mean to live in the present?   It means that we are focused on what we are experiencing, thinking and/or feeling right now…and not caught up in the fantasies about the future or burdened down with memories of the past.

“Be here now” was a popular phrase in the hippy days which was captured well in many books and songs.  Like all things, however, embracing this concept can lead a person either positively or negatively…into deep irresponsibility and narcissism, or into the discipline of total reliance upon God for every need on a moment to moment basis.

Living in the “now” with Jesus is the epitome of joy, peace, wisdom, power and destiny.

But how do you get there?  Well, first, let’s explore not living in the present.

Living in the past = Regret

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” Alexander Graham Bell

I must admit that I too relive the past sometimes.   Like most of us, when I find myself in the past, I am usually reliving a mistake or a negative situation, which then makes me feel badly about myself.  Oh, I have personal ones too, but when I am stuck in the past it usually has to do with work.  Have you ever had an important meeting and you blew it?  I have.  For days I can beat myself up over it replaying the scene over and over in my mind, wishing I could have a “do over.”   Sometimes even years later, I can find myself feeling sick about a particular meeting that went south.

I can only imagine the torment people experience who have made a mistake that caused serious injury or even someone’s life.  One such situation happened recently with one of my relatives. 
Frankly, I don’t know how one gets over something like that, except by God’s grace.  (check out our article from a few weeks ago “Learning How to forgive yourself”)

God promises to give the Holy Spirit liberally to everyone who asks for Him.

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more

will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13

He also said, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” John. 14:14

What does “anything” include?  Hmmnn…  I guess it means ANYTHING.  (which includes healing your memories and self incriminations)  But there’s more –

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.  1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead”,   Phil 3:13 (NKJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

On the other hand, if we are constantly recalling positive experiences of the past, it usually means that our happiness is caught up deeds or works we did earlier…with pride hovering around us ready to establish (or grow) a deeper root.  Even reliving our own old glory days too often can hold us back from hearing the new thing God has for us now.

Here is what the Bible says about living in the past:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  2 Cor 5:17 (NKJV)

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  Romans 6:4 (NKJV)

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ  Phil 3:8 (NKJV)

Living in the future = Anxiety and Fear.

We all like to think about the possibility about a wonderful future where our dreams come true and that is not a bad thing.  However, truth be told, when most of us think about the future, it’s usually about negative things…things we fear.  Fear of losing a job, not being able to pay the bills, not being able to care for our families and more.  We all face these fears, including myself.  The key is not to dwell on our fears but to give them over to God…that is what he wants us to do with them.  Also, check out our next keys to happiness next week where we’ll talk about how to overcome fear.

Here is what the Bible has to say about fixating on the future, worry and fear:


“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  ”But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.   Matthew 6:25-34 (NKJV)

“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad”.  Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good.”   Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV)

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them…Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing.  For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, Fear not, I will help you.”  Isaiah 41:10-13 (NKJV)

Living in the present

If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.  ~Author Unknown

We crucify ourselves between two thieves:  regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow.  ~Fulton Oursler

There is a lot of truth in the above words.  For a very few people, living is the present comes naturally, including our dogs.  That is definitely something we can learn from our K9s…they truly live in the present.  For most of us however, it takes effort to train our minds to let go of our worries and forgive ourselves of our mistake.  The good news is that we can do it with help from God.  He promises us (read the above verses again) to help us if we just let him.  When we do that, overall we’re happier people.

Do you realize that only when we live in the present can we experience God’s presence?

Keys to happiness exercise:

  • Ask God for help (ask Jesus into your life if you have not done so already)
  • Read the above scriptures and others from our Successful Living area every day for a week
  • Memorize the scripture that speaks to you most
  • Every time fear, worry or regret creeps into your mind, pray, give it to the lord and repeat your favorite scripture.
  • Ask others to pray for you
  • Feel free to e-mail us with questions
  • Sign up for our e-mail reminder as soon as a new key to happiness is published

Previous Happiness Lessons:

How to find Happiness – 15 Lesson Series – Overview

How to find Happiness – Introduction

How to find Happiness – Key #1 – A relationship with God

How to find Happiness – Key #2 – Being Thankful

How to find Happiness – Key #3 – Learning How to forgive yourself

How to find Happiness – Key #4 – Learning How to forgive others

May you find true happiness and may God answer your prayers – Amen!

How To Find Happiness – Forgiving Others

Key #4 to Happiness – Forgiving Others

A man was walking with his best friend, someone he had known for a very long time. As they walked, they began to argue about some trivial issue. As they argued, they began to be very angry at one another. The more they argued, the angrier they became. They got so angry at each other that the man lost his temper and shoved his friend away from him. His friend stumbled and fell upon a board, which had a loose, rusty nail sticking up from it. The nail pierced the man’s friend in the back.

The man, immediately sorry for what he had done, picked his friend up and took him home to wash his wound and remove the rusty nail. “I’m so sorry,” he kept saying. “I don’t know what cam over me. Please forgive me!”

“That’s your problem,” his friend said. “You’ve always had a bad temper. I’m going to teach you a lesson. I’m going to leave this rusty nail in my back so that every time you see it you will remember what your bad temper did you me.” Even when the rust nail eventually began to infect the wound in the friend’s back, the friend refused to remove it and continued to remind the man of what he had done and how wrong her was, right up until the day that the infection from the nail finally killed him.

It is so easy to look at this story and say, “How foolish! No one should keep a wound open in their body just so they can hold it over the person who caused it! If that was me, I’d want to get healed as soon as I could!” But hear this, Child of God; every day, in relationships all over the world, people are doing just that to their own spirits, and the rusty nail that pierces them and drains their happiness away is called UNFORGIVENESS.

The Danger of Unforgiveness.

In order to see unforgiveness in it’s proper light, it is first necessary to understand what it means to forgive. In the Greek, the word forgive means: to free fully, relieve, release, dismiss, let die, pardon, divorce, let go, loose, put away, and to set at liberty. The Bible makes it very clear that we as followers of Christ are expected to forgive the wrongs that others may do to us: “And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any.” (Mark 11:25)

Beyond question, then, the Bible expects us to let go of the hard feelings held against someone who has done us wrong, no matter who, why, how, or what. Walking in forgiveness with others is one the believer’s primary keys to finding their happiness in life. When we do not let go of the wrong that has been done against us, but instead hold on to it, then we are walking in unforgiveness.

“So we walk in a little unforgiveness,” someone might say. “It’s only natural; besides, it’s the only way we can protect ourselves from being used and hurt.” Oh, saints, how little we actually know about the function of our own hearts! And how devious is our enemy, who deceives us into hurting others and ourselves in a hundred little ways! How many saints do you know who pride themselves on how they avoid adultery, fornication, murder and idolatry, only to fall prey to unforgiveness, bitterness and lovelessness? How many relationships, friendships and marriages have crumbled and fallen because of unforgiveness? There are too many to count! Out of the many things that damage relationships and spiritual growth, it’s usually the small, seemingly minor attitudes that silently eat away at the foundations until it is too late. “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes” (Song of Solomon 2:15). The “little foxes” of unforgiveness will always spoil the tender fruit of our relationships!

When unforgiveness enters our hearts, it erodes our ability to love, bond and trust, making us cold, bitter and hard. It kills our ability to develop relationships and fellowship with others – even with the Lord God Himself! “But when ye do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:26). Many people hold unforgiveness in their hearts in an effort to hurt the one who first hurt them, not realizing that they are the ones who suffer the most! It is near impossible to find happiness in life when you are holding on to forgiveness.

The Importance of Forgiving.

If you ask most saints what are some of the most important spiritual elements in their life, most will tell you about tongues, spiritual gifts, prophecy, and the Word of God. Very few will include love and forgiveness on their list. But what does the Word of God teach us? How does God want the unsaved to respond to spiritual gifts and prophecy? Beloved, all of these wonderful abilities are intended to draw unsaved souls to God that they might receive one thing: FORGIVENESS of their sins through Jesus Christ!

“Be it known unto you therefore, man and brethren, that through [Jesus] is preached unto you forgiveness of sins, and by Him all that believe are justified from all things.” (Acts 13:38-39)

Saints, forgiveness is not just a side issue in the Christian faith; it is the very center of the gospel message. Jesus was made flesh and blood for this very reason – to break down the wall of separation between man and God, that mankind might be saved from the righteous judgment of God and be forgiven of their sinful acts and delivered from their sinful nature so that they might enjoy intimate fellowship with God!

But if we want to continue receiving forgiveness of sins throughout our life (for truly we will need it!), then God requires one thing of us all – that we completely forgive others like He constantly and completely forgives us.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:31-32, NIV).

The Impact of Unforgiveness.

Despite the clear instructions of scripture, friendships, families, marriages, ministries, and lives are being broken up at a frightening rate. People are turning to divorce, crime drugs, violence and gangs, trying to stop their personal pain and find their life’s happiness. We are seeing Jesus’ prophecy come true: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matt. 24:12, NIV).

Why is this happening? Counselors and psychiatrists have discovered a common thread – unforgiveness and bitter hearts! Sons and daughters are bitter against absent fathers or negligent mothers; wives are bitter against absent or abusive husbands; fathers are bitter against their own abusive fathers, turning their rage against their own families; women are bitter against men, and children are bitter against their parents. Everyone is holding unforgiveness against those who have hurt them, and the resulting bitterness of heart is eating them up inside. We are seeing a whole generation of bitter, angry, hard-hearted people boiling over with silent rage and unforgiveness!

The worst part about it is Satan is having a field day! Why? Because whenever unforgiveness and bitterness enter our hearts, Satan has a legal right to build a stronghold there!

“If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive – I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (i.e., methods, devices, and plans)”
(2 Corinthians 2:10-11, NIV).

Paul is saying here that if there exists any occasion where forgiveness is needed in the church, he wants to forgive along with everyone else, for he knows how Satan operates. He knew that every unforgiven offense was an opportunity for Satan to bring the bondage of bitterness, anger, criticalness, strife, and hard heartedness to the offended party. These things would open the door for other tormenting spirits as well! You see, it’s not just about relationships, but about your spiritual and natural health as well. When you do not forgive, your prayers go unanswered, your love grows cold, your natural resistance decreases, your joy and happiness are drained away, your spirit becomes darkened, and every sin you commit goes unforgiven by God until you forgive! Now tell me, is it really worth it?

Five Reasons Why A Person Won’t Forgive.

Someone may say, “But it’s so hard to forgive! You don’t know what they did to me! I just can’t seem to let it go, even though I know I have to!” If this is you, Beloved, then you need to examine yourself closely as to why you as a believer would keep this deadly emotional poison flowing through your system. Here are five reasons why most people will not forgive:

1) They don’t value the relationship. Many people simply refuse to forgive an offender because they no longer value the relationship that they have with them. They are more willing to discard the relationship than to make the effort to restore the relationship. This is due to a lack of love, for without the love of God within us, we cannot see the value that God places in every person on earth! Can you imagine what would happen if God treated us the same way?

2) They are afraid to forgive for fear of being put in a position of weakness and vulnerability with another person. This is the most common reason among those who have been hurt before. They use unforgiveness as a shield to keep distance between themselves and those who have hurt them. They feel safer hiding behind the bitterness and anger rather than letting it go and giving the person another chance, as the Bible instructs them to. The sad part is, they are keeping God out as well, and letting Satan in! Saints, remember this: true, godly love always takes risks, and there is no hurt in this world that God cannot heal!

3) They won’t forgive because pride keeps them from truly seeing themselves in God. Many people will exalt themselves in their own eyes until they treat every offense against them as if it were against God Himself! They see the offender as “unworthy” of their forgiveness or love, not realizing that they themselves are no better than the offender in God’s eyes as long as they hold that grudge. They fail to realize that if Jesus could forgive the sins committed against him during his earthly life and still love his offenders, who are we not to? We must learn to let God be the righteous judge of every sin and get out of His way!

4) They can’t forgive because they are focusing on the wrong image in their minds. Many saints hinder their ability to forgive by constantly thinking on the wrong thing: instead of focusing on the Word of God, the example of Jesus, and guarding themselves against the deception of the enemy, they will focus on the offender, the offense, the words spoken, and the pain experienced. They will rehearse it over and over in their minds, keeping the memories fresh and the wounds sore. Beloved, please listen: as long as you keep talking about it, thinking about it, and hearing about it, you’ll keep hurting over it. Part of forgiving is separating yourself and your pain from the memories of the event – you must put the past behind you, embracing the memory while releasing the pain!

5) They won’t forgive because they don’t understand the damage it does to their hearts. Most everyone who willingly holds onto a grudge does not realize the damage they are doing to themselves. Unforgiveness always leads to bitterness, and bitterness always leads to a hardened heart, one that cannot love or trust anyone. It affects our ability as parents, spouses, and friends. Everyone can tell bitter people; they’re the ones who have become abusive, hard, quick-tempered, stubborn, unfriendly, and cold. The offense may be years gone and long forgotten by the other party, but the impact remains long after the fact. Saints, we must understand this: the only person unforgiveness hurts is the unforgiver!

The Power of Love.

The Battle against unforgiveness is being lost by someone, somewhere, every day. Today it’s like a contagious disease, spreading from marriage to marriage and family to family, leaving behind divorces, broken families, bitter hearts, and painful memories. How can we stop it? The answer is so simple yet so deep that we often overlook it – we must learn to LOVE! Not the warm, fuzzy, teary-eyed lip service love that you see on television of get in many fellowships. But that selfless, aga`pe love of Jesus, the self-sacrificing love that led Him to give His life for us while we were still his enemies, the love that could accept rejection, lashes, beatings, spitting, nails, and a criminal’s cross and still say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Beloved, this is where the real battle for your spiritual life and happiness begins; not over doctrines, denominations, Bible versions, or spiritual gifts, but over who will love and who will hate, who will forgive and who will grow bitter! Oh saints, where are those who can turn the other cheek, who can love their enemies, who can bless those that curse them or spitefully use them? Where are those who can truly, honestly forgive? This is what the world needs to see, hear and experience! This is TRUE spiritual growth and a primary key to finding happiness! This is the nature of the true child of God, one who, like a rose, can take the crushing of this world and still give off the pleasing fragrance of love and forgiveness. This, beloved saints, is the mark of a true believer. Praise God!

How to find happiness – Forgiving Others Exercises:

1)      Make a list of those people who have hurt or wounded you in your life, whether they are alive or have passed away. Include a detailed list of the hurts and wounds inflicted upon you.

2)      Take the time to go before God and ask forgiveness for holding grudges against them; ask Him to remove the offense from your heart. Ask God to wash your heart in the blood of Jesus Christ and to fill you with love for that person. Renounce the Spirit of Unforgiveness, repenting from your heart before the Lord God.

3)      Forgive each offender. Forgive them verbally, out loud. Be specific in what you are forgiving them for. If you have trouble forgiving, review the “Reasons People Will Not Forgive” provided in this lesson. Focus on the impact that unforgiveness could have in your life and ask yourself, “Do I really want this poison in my life? What have I already lost because of unforgiveness? Is it really worth it to damage my own spirit because of this? What blessings am I missing out on because of this?” Now, go back and try again to forgive that person’s hurts against you. Do this for every person on your list and take your time.

(Note: if you still have trouble verbally forgiving this person, this may be a sign that you have developed a demonic stronghold in your life. Ask the Lord God to help you forgive them. You may need to seek deliverance counseling.)

4)      Once you have asked forgiveness from the Lord for harboring unforgiveness, and have verbally forgiven and released each person who has wounded you, now begin to pray a blessing over the life over each person. (Remember, Jesus said to “love those who hate you, bless those who persecute you.”) A sign of true forgiveness from the heart is when we can freely speak a blessing over those who have wounded us and truly mean it from our hearts.

5)      If you still know or have a relationship with someone who has wounded you in the past, it would be wise to go to that person and tell them that you have forgiven them for any trespasses, as well as asking their forgiveness for any sins you may have committed against them. The more hurtful the wound, the necessary this step may become. You may very well free them from the guilt of offending you!

Previous Keys To Happiness Lessons:

How to find Happiness – 15 Lesson Series – Overview

How to find Happiness – Introduction

How to find Happiness – Key #1 – A relationship with God

How to find Happiness – Key #2 – Being Thankful

How to find Happiness  - Key #3 – Learning How to forgive yourself

May you find true happiness, forgive yourself and may God answer your prayers – Amen!

How to find Happiness – Learning How to Forgive Yourself

Key #3 to Happiness – Forgive Yourself!

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose. For this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

 –Mary Pickford, Canadian actress

As Christians, we are taught at an early age to forgive others.  We even recite in the Lord’s Prayer, “… we forgive those who trespass against us.”  And I am sure that must of us can recall the line from a poem written by English writer Alexander Pope, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”

We learn that we must also ask God for His forgiveness when we sin or otherwise go against God’s word.  1 John 1:9 (NIV) admonishes us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” But how do we learn to forgive ourselves?

If you are anything like me, you may be your own worst critic. You may spend countless hours beating yourself up tor making a few mistakes in your life.  You may obsess over such things as “Why did I make that stupid comment in the business meeting this morning?” or “Why did I take the expressway this morning instead of the local streets? Now I am stuck in all this traffic!”  Or you may be agonizing over a misdirected life decision, “Why did i major in Computer Science in college instead of English? I always did enjoy writing. Why didn’t I follow my passion?” Or you may be struggling with other issues like a car accident that turned out to be your fault or a failed marriage that ended in divorce. Looking back on these incidents now, they may seem  so trivial, but at the time, the thoughts or decisions may have seemed like the most important issues in the world!

Just remember that God has a plan for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Whatever road your life takes or whatever decisions that you are making, it will all work out for the good in the long run.  Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to his purpose.” As long as you continue to trust God and put him first in your life you will succeed. Romans 8:37, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will will direct your paths.”

Don’t forget to continue thanking God for all that He has done for you.  Ha is still working through you, even in the most difficult of times. And yes, even when God seems silent, He is still there with you!

So if you are currently working toward a specific goal on life’s journey and what you thought was going to work out several months ago is no longer working out for you, don’t give up! Take some time to regroup. Revise your plans, reshape your goals, and get back in there!

“… a lot of times the world doesn’t put rocks in our way. Instead we put them there ourselves.  When we hold on to our mistakes, we’re throwing rocks in our own path…  when we detach ourselves from worry and let go of our mistakes, the road always opens up.  That’s why if you want to make a commitment to never quitting,  one of the first steps is to simply get out of your own way.”

 – Russell Simmons, hip hop mogul (with Chris Morrow), in his book, Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success

Don’t waste any more time continuing to be angry with yourself and by all means, forgive yourself for not getting it right this time.  Whatever the issue was.  Move forward with your life, starting with right now!

What is Self-Forgiveness?

To forgive oneself is not to make excuses for oneself. To forgive ourselves is:

–to pledge to learn from our mistakes;

–to gain a degree of self-control and not repeat them;

–to grow in our capacity for love and peace.

 This article may be a helpful resource for you as well, How To Forgive Yourself & Stop Feeling Guilty

The next time you start beating yourself up for doing something wrong, ask yourself the following questions:   from personal success coach Lisa Phillips: visit her website here

1. At the time of the event, was it realistic for you to expect yourself to do something different / behave in a different way?

2. Did you have the right people around you at the time that could have helped you?

3. At the time of the event, did you have the information or knowledge you needed to make a better choice?

Forgiving yourself for your limitations is a crucial first step in healing your life.  In an unprecedented time of turmoil and stress, most human beings are doing the best they can with the resources, wisdom, and knowledge they have available to them. Yes, it’s important to learn from your mistakes, but eventually you need to get the lesson and move on.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Trying to learn from your mistakes is a very healthy way of dealing with them. A reflection of what you have learned from your mistakes would be a perceptible change in your behavior. Remember that committing a mistake is not a crime, but repeating it, surely is! We learn from our mistakes, as we have to pay a price for them. To err is human and to learn how to avoid the same mistake in the future is also within human capacity.

Encourage Yourself To Move On

Realize that your life is not going to end or stagnate just because of a mistake of yours. Probably, the biggest lesson life teaches us is to move on. Forgive yourself completely and look forward to the future, which is always brighter and full of hope. Languishing in past will not give you an opportunity to time-travel to the bygone times and change things. Disembark yourself from past mistakes and march ahead!

Share your mistakes

Holding things to yourself will make it increasingly difficult to forgive yourself and stop feeling guilty. You can’t afford to keep wallowing in guilt over your wrongdoings. Remember that your mistakes always add to your experience, as life is a continuous learning process. You can always share your mistakes with others and warn them of the consequence that you suffered from. You will also get a chance to vent out your frustration in a more constructive way.

Unburden Your Heart

If you believe that your mistake is too big to be forgiven and keeping it to yourself is killing you, speak up and lift that burden off your heart. Confess your mistake in front of a close friend, whose guidance you trust and value. A guilt-free existence is only possible when your mistakes are not perpetually weighing on your conscience. Pardon yourself by pouring your heart out before someone you know will make you feel better.

 

Don’t Judge Yourself

The worst people can do is to judge themselves by their mistakes. Being judgmental equals to being disapproving, rather dismissive of the subject of our judgment. And, it gets worse when we are disapproving of your own self. Always remember that you are not a reflection of your mistakes, which are generic, but a manifestation of the good things that you do in life. If at all you want to grade yourself, do that in a balanced way, not being overwhelmed by your errors.
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Rituals for Forgiveness
Throughout history, there have been rituals that assisted in the process of forgiveness.   Rabbi Irwin Kula shares some of those time-honored rituals:

Meditation/Reflection:
This is your first choice in the healing process. You cannot change the past, but you can own the present moment.
Use a Mantra: This exercise will help you change your thought patterns.  Every day, say to yourself, “I forgive myself.”  This is going to feel awkward at first, but keep doing it. This exercise is about changing your thought patterns.

Journaling: Recording your thoughts in a journal is a valuable way of releasing your feelings.  Each time you feel guilt during the day, write it down in your journal. You will be able to track when you feel this, and why, which will help you begin to understand your guilt. The same goes for the good feelings you experience. Write down the moments when you feel joy and richness in your life, and you will begin to recognize the things that release that joy.

Atonement: Learn how to consciously make a sacrifice in light of your desire for forgiveness. You can create your own sacrifice by asking yourself, “What will be my offering?” It could be philanthropy, political activism — something that requires a sacrifice of your time, money or effort. The key is to consciously make that sacrifice in light of your desire for forgiveness.

Success And Failure – Keys to happiness exercise:

  • Ask God for help (ask Jesus into your life if you have not done so already)
  • Read “God’s love for us” and “God’s Mercy” every day this week.
  • Ask others to pray for you
  • Feel free to e-mail us with questions
  • Sign up for our e-mail reminder as soon as a new key to happiness is published

For related articles – Check out:

Check out these Five Steps to Forgiving Yourself with Dr. Phil McGraw

Here is an insightful article from Prevention Magazine, Can You Ever Forgive Yourself? By Ellen Michaud , a former award-winning Prevention editor-at-large.

How to find Happiness – 15 Lesson Series – Overview

How to find Happiness – Introduction

How to find Happiness – Key #1 – A relationship with God

How to find Happiness – Key #2 – Being Thankful

How to find Happiness – Key #3 – Learning How to forgive yourself

How to find Happiness – Key #4 – Learning How to forgive others

How to find Happiness - Key #5 – Living in the present

Answers for Living

May you find true happiness, forgive yourself and may God answer your prayers – Amen!