Episode 18-Forgiveness and Self-Compassion

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What do forgiveness and self-compassion have to do with shame? Are they necessary for you to overcome past mistakes you’ve made? What are some practical steps to begin working through your struggle with shame?

Image by Rondell Melling from Pixabay

In this episode, Nathan and Aaron answer all these questions and more as they explain what forgiveness and self-compassion are, and walk you through a step-by-step way of achieving it.

In This Podcast


  • Brief review of Shame episode
  • Why forgiveness and self-compassion?
  • How to forgive and have self-compassion
    • Admit it happened
    • Take responsibility
    • Acknowledge the pain
    • Separate actions from identity
    • Pay off damages
    • Restoration

Brief review of Shame episode

  • Shame isolates you, keeps you stuck, changes your identity
  • It’s about who you are, not only what you did

Why forgiveness and self-compassion?

  • The purpose of forgiveness is to be reconciled to yourself
  • It brings you back into right relationship with yourself
  • It also brings you back into relationship with your true self (not a distorted version of yourself)
  • Forgiveness and self-compassion go hand-in-hand
    • Some people need forgiveness first then self-compassion, others are the other way around

How to forgive and have self-compassion

  1. Admit it happened
    • You’re saying “I did this” which can also bring up your shame messages of “and I’m a bad person”
    • If you don’t admit you did it, there’s nothing to deal with
    • Shame can protect you from feeling the full weight of negative emotions
    • By muting the pain, shame can also dismiss that it happened
    • Admitting it brings truth and restores reality
  2. Take responsibility
    • Where is my responsibility? To whom?
    • This shows you where a change may be needed
    • You need to be open to wherever the responsibility leads you – even if it’s painful or not what you want
    • Being honest about what happened shows you who you are right now
  3. Acknowledge the pain
    • This step is not a given; it requires conscious and intentional choice
    • You can learn more than you realized or knew in this process if you’re open and curious
    • Often, the offense can have a different or deeper impact than you expected – which needs acknowledgment
  4. Separate actions from identity
    • Recognizing that your actions do not define you gives you the ability to change
    • If you ARE bad, there’s nothing you can do about it
  5. Pay off damages
    • There might be damages you didn’t intend that need to be accounted for
    • Sometimes you find out there are more damages as you go along
    • Once paid off and you’ve forgiven yourself, it’s important to not bring it up with yourself or beat yourself up for it
    • You can still be reminded of the pain or the damages, but it doesn’t need to be reprocessed
    • Forgiveness is a single decision that requires repeatedly choosing to walk that path over and over
  6. Restoration
    • Accepting what happened and where I am right now
    • Part of restoration involves doing things differently than in the past

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Meet Nathan & Aaron

Nathan Hawkins and Aaron Potratz are both licensed therapists and clinical supervisors in the state of Oregon. They each own their own private group counseling practices and co-own a third group practice together. Nathan and Aaron have been in the field since 2004 and 2007, respectively, and have over 100,000 hours of therapy experience each. On their show, they discuss facing fears and common challenges from a therapist’s point of view, imparting wisdom and humanity to their viewers. Along the way, they hope to not only share their insights but bring some light-hearted entertainment to make the journey easier.

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