Revisit: How To Forgive Yourself

Episode #577

“Whatever you did, you’re not the same man.”

What will you do if you hurt someone who’s dear to you?

Will you admit fault? Will you take responsibility?

In this episode, we’ll talk about some strategies on how you can stop punishing yourself. Now is the time to improve yourself more – because you are stronger than before.

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Intro: Hey guys, welcome to The Powerful Man show, where we help married businessmen save their marriages without having to talk about it, get unstuck, and gain clarity in their lives. As I like to say, life is too short for average. I’m your host, Doug Holt, with my co-host Tim The Powerful Man Matthews. Now let’s get this started.

Doug Holt: In my experience, it’s about shining a light on it. We do so often, we put on a mask, we try to hide it, we try to bury it in the closet, and it keeps coming to the surface., And it can come to the surface in the forms typically of shame and guilt. Now, when you go through shame and guilt, you then need to go to depression, and anger – you get pissed. Somehow it comes out, and it never comes out pretty. It comes out as a fight, an argument, blowing out, you’re getting drunk or something. But by shining a light on it, you get control over it. Tim, how are you doing, brother?

Tim Matthews: I’m doing fantastic. I enjoyed the last episode. So let’s dive in. We don’t have much time for this one, but we wanted to provide a little bit more value and squeeze it all in. So we’re going to dive into one of the questions from the men in the Facebook group. This is from Mike, and the topic he wanted us to cover is how to stop punishing yourself, forgive yourself for the shit you’ve done, and move on.

Doug Holt: Let’s dive in. What would you say?

Tim Matthews: I’d say come clean. One of the turning points in my life- and it wasn’t a point in time, it happened over a period of time. I didn’t realize at the time I was doing this, but looking back, I’ve repeated it ever since because it was so transformational. And that was coming clean. I did it in quite a… I think, quite aggressive way, in a lot of respects. I did on Facebook. And I’m not saying for you to do this, Mike, but I’ll get to the point.

You know, for me, the tipping point in my life came, and I just had to come clean. I had to basically tell everyone the reality of what was really going on for me in my life, and break the… Well, just dig myself out of the hole that I had created by people thinking I was a certain somebody, but me feeling very different to that. And I did that by declaring it on Facebook. I took a picture of myself in boxer shorts, showing my body. Because I always hid behind my body.

I was a personal trainer, and in some respects, as long as I looked good in a T-shirt… We live in the UK, right? You don’t have your top off a great deal. But part of it was, as long as you look good in a T-shirt for Friday night, and you’re slim and fit and all that stuff, you could get away with playing the whole confidence card. In business, you know, it looked great, but really, underneath it, I was just putting out fires, and attracting problem clients and problem staff.

And it was working, it was growing, it was doing really well. But at the same time, I was really serving it. It wasn’t serving my life. And you know, my life was very much about making money so I could look a certain way. And this is all the things that I started to share. But, for you in particular, Mike, what I would suggest that you do is to identify whatever action it is that you’re punishing yourself for, and come clean about that.

And the way that you get to come clean is – I wouldn’t say go to Facebook. I mean, if you want to, that’s fine. But, it could be as simple as just having a conversation, right? And let’s say that you’re punishing yourself because you did something a couple of years ago, you said something to somebody, and it hurt their feelings and it kind of ended the friendship, let’s just say. And it’s eaten away at you ever since.

Then, my advice, if you can’t get over this, would be to reach out to that person. You could either do it through a letter, through a phone call, through an in-person conversation, and just take ownership for your part. It’s as simple as that. And just apologize for your part in it. You don’t apologize expecting them to apologize, but, you don’t explain from a point of being a DEER. You just take ownership like a Powerful Man, like a WOLF would, and you own your shortcoming.

So that might go something like, hey, now I know a few years ago I said something, I just want to take ownership of the fact that I wasn’t in a good place. And I’m not blaming that or excusing that for what I said to you. What I said was out of order. And I wish I could turn back time, but I can’t. And I want you to know right now, I’m sorry for what I said, and I’m sorry if my actions hurt your feelings, and the effect that that had on our friendship.

I want you to know that it was never about you, it was always about me. And I’m sorry. It can be as short and as simple as that. And what you tend to find is, when you come clean, you often set yourself free. That often can be an act of forgiveness, because you, by default, alleviate a lot of the shame that goes with keeping secrets.

Doug Holt: So true, great advice. I mean, really, what this comes down to, Mike – and Tim, you’re nailing it – is, In my experience, it’s all about shining a light on it. We do so often, we put on a mask, we try to hide it, we try to bury it in the closet, and it keeps coming to the surface. And it can come to the surface in the forms typically, of shame and guilt. Those are the two things that most often come up. Now, when you go through shame and guilt, you then need to go to depression or anger – you get pissed.

Somehow it comes out, and it never comes out pretty. It comes out as a fight, an argument, blowing up, you’re getting drunk or something. And by shining a light on it – which, to Tim’s point, is coming clean – that’s when you get control over it. Doesn’t mean you have to play the victim card. Don’t do that. Like, ‘oh, it’s not my fault that I cheated’, or whatever else you did, Mike. You’ve got to take ownership. Hey, look, Mike did this.

Now, that’s kind of a little key trick that we teach the guys – illeism. Illeism is a fancy way of saying, do it in the third person. So I might say, look, Doug, five years ago, had an affair. And what Doug was going through, he thought that was the best decision, and it freaking wasn’t. And I’ll open up and talk about it. But a lot of times, I’ll talk about myself, in this case, or journal about it, in the third person.

Because Mike, here’s the deal. Whatever you did, you’re not the same man, or you wouldn’t be posting this question. You’re not the same man that did that action. We are always changing, guys. Always changing. We and other people around us assume that we’re the same. Now let’s use a gross analogy to drive home the point really quickly. I’m 44. Am I the same man that I was when I was 21? Heck no.

Would I let that 21-year-old version of me make my financial decisions? No way. My relationship decisions? Absolutely not. My decisions on my health? No, it’s not going to work out. Do we even have all the same interests? No. Do I even listen to the same music? No. I’ve changed. I don’t read the same books. So that’s a gross analogy, right? That’s a 23-year gap. But, you get the point. Am I the same man at 44? That I was at 43? No, absolutely not.

If anything, this pandemic has taught us, is that there is change, and things are- the only consistent thing about life is change. So, Mike, you have changed. Even if you did this last week, you have changed. And part of that change is shining a light on it, part of the way out of this that we’re doing, but then also it’s forgiving yourself. So, one thing I want you to do is, I want you to get in a journal practice for 30 days.

And this is how it starts. There’s five things I want you to do.  I want you to write: what I love about Mike is… Don’t put the dots, you get the idea. But you fill in the blanks. What I love about Mike is, he was brave enough to raise his hand and post a question in the Facebook community. That takes courage. And I have nothing but respect for you, man. What I love about Mike is, he’s constantly reflecting on himself.

You’re going to write this, Mike, not me. I don’t know you that well. I just know that you had the balls to post this, and I have nothing but respect for you for doing that. Because it takes courage to raise your hand, step into the light. I want you to write five things you love about yourself and they can be… I love that I’m athletic, right? I love that I have hair. I love that I’m funny. Whatever it may be for you that you love about yourself, I want you to write five things every single day for 30 days. Simple as that.

I know what you’re gonna think. ‘Okay, this is dumb’ – you may think that. But I want you to do it for 30 days consistently. If you miss a day, you start over at day 1. 30 days consistently, and see how you feel about yourself. Because a lot of times when shame and guilt creeps in, guys, into our lives, we beat the shit out of ourselves. We beat the shit out of ourselves. I know I do. I know. Nobody beats Doug up better than Doug, right? Nobody beats me up.

When I screw up or do something to piss Tim off, he may get mad at me, but he’s not going to beat me up as much as I’m gonna beat myself up about the same thing. Vice versa. And it’s the same thing with you, Mike. You’re beating the crap out of yourself. So first thing, as Tim said – come clean. Come clean. It’s almost like a clean slate method. Come clean. And also come clean with yourself. And then use illeism. Get rid of the shame and guilt, shine a light on it, use illeism.

And what I want you to do is, for 30 days, Mike, when you’re listening to this, I want you to commit right now, a complete commitment. You guys listening to this, you can do it too. I know you’re not Mike, perhaps, but you can do it too. 30 days committed to writing five things every day that you love about yourself.

Tim Matthews: Great advice.

Doug Holt: Thank you.

Tim Matthews: I love these little sessions. Guys, go into the community and pose some questions or topics you’d like us to cover. There’s some great ones building there. And I really enjoy being able to give the guys some laser-focused feedback on things they are struggling with.

Doug Holt: I do too. It’s a lot of fun, guys, we love it. And this is a way for you to get direct coaching, from Tim The Powerful Man Matthews himself.

Tim Matthews: Doug The Unstoppable Force Holt.

Doug Holt:  I’ll take it, I’ll take it. Alright, Mike, what I want you to do is take action. Mike, I’m gonna check back on your post. I am traveling tomorrow at 4am with two kids and my wife. So, I will not check it tomorrow. I’m going to check your post, buddy, And I want to see that you’re committing to these actions. Right? This is your opportunity to step in, brother, step to the line, as we say at The Powerful Man. And I’m looking forward to seeing you and your results.

For the rest of you. Go down to Mike’s comment and cheer him on. This is a brotherhood, right? This is a movement of men, and I want you guys involved. Gentlemen, that’s a wrap for us here at The Powerful Man show. So until next time, as always, take action, and we’ll see you on The Powerful Man show.


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