In the mid 1990’s I read a book that offered steps for becoming financially independent. One of the steps was to “pay your self first,” above and beyond any entity or person you to whom you may owe money. That simple step was easy to write, easy to say, and easy to ponder, but the true application of that simple step can be challenging for many.

Today, I have been able to apply that concept in other ways as well, aside from financial independence, or the pursuit thereof. The notion of paying yourself first can also be applied to loving and forgiving. Sometimes to love and forgive ones self is a payment of a different kind, and the value is priceless.

I learned as I attempted to perfect the art of letting go of stuff, that to let go of a habit, internal program, or to change your attitude toward someone or something, the first place to begin is with the person in the mirror. And by the way, I have not perfected that art of letting go of stuff for it is a never-ending process of learning that will last a lifetime.

Paying yourself first, when it comes to forgiveness means – starting with you. Forgiving your self is the only way that you will be able to forgive any one else. Seriously. It is true.

Letting go of stuff includes forgiveness. Walt Kelly, in a 1970 Pogo comic strip wrote, “we have met the enemy, and he is us.” I interpret that to mean that we must first point fingers at us, before pointing them at anyone else. Constantly asking, what was my role in this situation? What was my role in the failure of this relationship? What was my role in the altercation with that person? What was my role as I argued with that person? The list of phrases and situations to articulate in forming the end of the question, “what was my role…” is endless.

Just as we should be responsible for our role, we must also be willing to forgive our selves for our part, particularly if the outcome of a particular situation was unwanted.

Begin with you. Forgive yourself first. Love yourself the most. By doing these things, you will in effect, pay yourself first.

How do you forgive yourself? It is just as simple as financially paying yourself first. You must love yourself enough to do so. You must make a sacrifice. You must change your thought patterns. I will give you some steps for forgiving your self. But first let me talk a little more about this whole forgiveness thing, ‘cause it is important.

Forgiving yourself is crucial to forgiving others. According to Harvey Mackay, if you want to get even with someone, then forgive and really get them back. Forgiveness allows you to move from a place of pain and suffering to a place of peace and harmony. For many, holding on to pain, anger, frustration, resentment, and the like is slowly eating away at your mental and spiritual being, and eventually will destroy your physical being. So forgive, and begin with you.

Here are some steps that will put you on the path for self-forgiveness.

1. Make a list of those you need to forgive (be honest and include your self)
2. Give yourself permission to forgive by making a claim that it is okay for you to forgive those on your list.
3. Forgive your self by literally looking in the mirror, at you, and saying, “I forgive you for…”
4. Contact each person on your list and genuinely forgive them by saying to them, “I forgive you for…” (be specific).
5. Now, when you forgive those on your list, you must accept their response, no matter what it may be. They may not accept your forgiveness. If they do not accept, you must still accept that and let it go. You can’t force them to accept your forgiveness. Remember you are doing this for you, not for them.

This process of forgiving my not always be easy, but it is definitely worth it. You may find that you will be spiritually fed if you allow yourself to experience this or some other process of self-forgiving. Forgiving allows you to become better at the art of letting go of stuff, which then allows you to move forward in your life. So pay yourself first and forgive the one who matters the most – you.

Stay At Your Best...

Author's Bio: 

Darren L. Johnson is author of the book titled Letting Go of Stuff®. He is also a speaker and personal development coach who assists those who want/need to be better at effectively letting go. He can be reached at