A Year of Self-Love

July - Forgiveness

The relationship we have with ourselves sets the foundation for every other relationship in our lives. By nourishing this special relationship, we learn that we already have everything we need. Right now, in this moment, we’re already enough. There isn’t anything to fix or change; just a deeper, growing acceptance of who we  are already.

Each month we’ve been exploring a different aspect of self-love, and this month we’re delving into forgiveness. Simply choosing to forgive is an act of self-love. 

Forgiveness is necessary to free ourselves from difficult emotions that we have been bound to for so long, due to an inability to let go. Once we fully let go, we become truly responsible for our feelings and behaviours; for how we are being in the world. True self-love is releasing anything that stops us from being who we really are. When we release the resentment, hate and pain we have been holding onto, all we are left with is our true, raw self. And sometimes that can feel uncomfortable. Forgiveness can feel uncomfortable. So many people choose to stay comfortably stuck where they are, because that’s the easiest option.

But the most loving path is learning to both forgive ourselves and forgive others.

When we hold on to our mistakes, and feel guilty for actions we’ve taken in the past, we are holding ourselves in an unloving place. Acknowledge that you are human and you make mistakes. The most important thing is that you have something to learn each time. Acknowledge what the lessons are, and how these can guide you to a lighter, brighter, more loving way of being. Focus on the lessons, not the wrongdoings.

Forgiveness of others can be even more challenging. Many people hold on to anger, blame, hate and bitterness for so long when someone has wronged them. A common misunderstanding is that forgiving the person who has mistreated you means you are accepting their behaviour and letting them get away with it.

You are not; the greatest impact of forgiving someone else is actually the freeness you now feel. You are lifting the cloud of hate, blame and anger you have been carrying for so long, maybe unconsciously. It is a true act of selflove because you are saying your priorities lie with your happiness and freedom, not with the negative energy that has been weighing you down. Forgiveness sets you free.

There are many different ways to practice forgiving, but a simple, beautiful practice is Ho’oponopono, the ancient Hawaiian forgiveness and reconciliation practice. Focus on who you want to forgive, and chant the following mantra again and again:

I’m sorry
Please forgive me
Thank you
I love you

This is the same mantra to chant if you are working on forgiving yourself, as it is for forgiving others. By saying sorry even if you didn’t do anything wrong, by saying thank you even if you don’t feel it, you are giving up your attachment to the situation. You are acknowledging the oneness that exists in us all. That there is a part of you in the person you wish to forgive. That we are all part of the same whole.

Sabi Kerr is a yoga teacher and life coach. It’s her passion to support people in developing deep levels of self-love, so that they can move forwards and create their fullest lives (

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.