Start Healing the World: Take Responsibility for Healing Yourself

“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” ~Marianne Williamson

We all have the fundamental desire to create an ideal world, where everyone is healthy, happy, and free of suffering. The habitual tendency we all have is to look around us, find out what's wrong with the world, and then try to “fix” it.

While it’s true that horrible things happen around us everyday, to transform the world we all experience, we have to start with ourselves. We can only create change in the world if we first start with our own individual healing.

When we heal a part in ourselves, we also heal that part in the world. In order to heal we must utilize the power of forgiveness.

I recall a night many years ago when I finally fully recognized how much I had been hurting myself with my persistent negative self-talk.

I used to believe that I wasn't good enough to have and enjoy the type of life that I wanted, that I wasn't attractive enough to meet the kind of man I dreamed of, or that I would never reach the ability to fulfill my potential.

Based on observing my mother, stepfather, and grandparents from an early age, I learned to feel guilty for all the good, as well as all the bad that occurred in life. I also learned to blame others, and that life is supposed to be a struggle.

I finally realized and felt what I had been doing to myself and how damaging this was, both physically and spiritually. Upon this realization I burst into tears and cried for a long time. I then, quite naturally, as I explored how to heal, initiated a process of forgiveness.

For hours as I hugged myself in bed, curled up in a ball, I recalled all the times I had unintentionally hurt myself by thinking and believing negative thoughts about myself.

Then I forgave myself for each item as it came to mind. I began journaling until there was nothing left inside me and all my tears had been wept. I wholly and completely released myself for the guilt and pain that I created in my life.

I also recognized that no one in my life had hurt me except for myself. I decided to take responsibility for my feelings and my life and put an end to my suffering.

Other people can and could only hurt me if allowed them to—if I believed their words and actions were reflections of who I am, rather than a reflection of how they feel about themselves.

I essentially became aware of this cycle of pain and forgave and released myself from those old, negative behavior patterns. Consequently, I also forgave and released all the people who I felt had hurt me.

The reality of what had happened set me free and healed enormous portions of my life.

Much of the pain we experience in our everyday life is self-created through our thoughts and beliefs about our circumstances. We then project this suffering into the world as external experiences, which we often try to “fix” by making changes or building walls in our external affairs.

When we accept responsibility for our experiences and feelings, we learn that we have more control over our lives than we thought.

We cannot control what happens in the world around us but we can choose how we interpret and interact with it. Cleaning up our thoughts and forgiving ourselves is a great way to start.

An excellent technique is to write down all the things you want to forgive yourself for, write yourself a letter of forgiveness, and talk it out to yourself or with someone you really love and trust.

Then tell yourself that you're so very sorry that what happened, happened; that you said what you said; that you thought what you thought and that you did what you did. Really feel it.

Allow the forgiveness to flow through your body and release you. Cry until you feel empty and there's nothing left. Complete this process many times as you need. Right here, now, healing has occurred. And that healing has a ripple effect throughout the world. See, you can change the world!

From there, you can choose to do things differently. Become aware of the thoughts you think about yourself, because upon repetition those thoughts become real. Choose to think good, loving, healing, gentle, and kind thoughts.

And the next time you come upon some kind of blockage in life, go through this process again.

I am still learning to do this. I sometimes catch a negative thought or belief that has been hiding away in my subconscious, but I see this as a gift for me to grow and heal more as I transform them into positive beliefs.

This is what I consider to be a miracle. Every time I forgive myself, I create more space for love, happiness, and world change.

While forgiving ourselves, on its own, won't end global suffering or create world peace, creating peace within will better enable us to find and enact solutions to the larger problems we all face.

Healing myself creates a ripple affect across the universe, allowing me to help others heal, creating a changed and healed world. The same goes for you.

Photo by AndYaDontStop

About Vienda Maria

Vienda Maria is a writer, empowerment coach and modern day gypsy. Her passion + mission in life is to help truth seekers like yourself, to live their lives on their own terms. You can immerse yourself in her musings over at Vienda Maria, tweet her your love and joys on Twitter or join her at the United Nations of Global Communication on Facebook.

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • Thank you for that beautiful reminder of the true process of healing. I’ve found it to be true for myself over the years.

  • friend forever

    I myself realized the importance of forgiveness yesterday night. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank thank u thank thank sooooooo much for being an angel! <3 🙂

  • Joan Harrison

    I came to the same conclusion recently, I brought pain into my life through my thinking. It is hard to believe that the process is so simple, simple but not easy. Monitoring your thoughts is the first big step in creating a better life for you and those around you. Great post, and thanks for the reminder!

  • TARjani S.

    Thank u 🙂

  • Ah, YOU are the angel! Vienda x

  • Life becomes so beautiful when you recognise it’s simplicity, doesn’t it! Thank you also for connecting with the words Joan! Vienda x

  • Lesa, thank you for your beautiful words. It’s so powerful to recognise that we have the ability to heal our lives. Vienda x

  • Gemma

    Vienda you are so amazing…I am going to start this tonight. I think I have been holding everything in for so long and it may be the reason why I have so many blockages in my life. Gosh the way you used to be reminds me of myself right now. You’re a ray of light and I’m so glad to have discovered you! 🙂

  • This is just wonderful, Vienda! I have also begun to make this realization…we are deserving of the same amount of love and acceptance that we try to give to others. You’ve just reminded me of how important this is and how I want to start teaching my girls this at a young age. Beautiful piece! Miss you..I wish we could lay on Trinity Beach in the sun and have a chat! Xo

  • Gemma, I’m so grateful to be able to guide you through your processes, it’s a wonder to behold you as you blossom and grow. Thank you for trusting in me! Vienda x

  • Gorgeous Abi, you are such an amazing mother and inspiring human being. Thank you for your love and support! Vienda x

  • lv2terp

    Thank you for sharing your story, and being vulnerable..this is a beautiful post, with wise advise and perspective! Thank you! 🙂

  • You are such a treasure, thank you for your kindness. The reality is that we all have the same pain and suffering, which arises out of various circumstances and its so empowering to know we can change. Vienda x

  • kim

    Beautiful post vienda. I adore your work xx

  • Dolcevita

    Thank you for your inspiring words. What process would you use to forgive where one has been harmed physically and mentally e.g. by a rape so as to be released forever from that pain? Love and light

  • Hello gorgeous,
    Having never had a personal experience in this field I can’t give you a conclusive answer, but after some research have found that learning to forgive yourself and the other in the scenario is fundamental to healing. I also found this very detailed case on healing after rape which might help Much love and light to you! Vienda x

  • Thank you so much sweet Kim! x

  • Razwana

    This is a really beautiful post, Vienda. Your line about hurtful words being a reflection of the person that spoke them is really poignant for me today. It’s the essence of understanding and forgiveness.

    – Razwana

  • Vienda, Well spoken. I couldn’t agree more. If we are to forgive others, we first must forgive ourselves. At the most basic level, forgiveness is acceptance–to embrace what is and realize that those negative thoughts and feelings do not define who you are. If we are to bring peace to the earth, each of us must first find peace within ourselves. And as you say, when we do that it creates a ripple effect. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


  • Thank YOU, you’re understanding is so pure and you write beautifully. Vienda x

  • Razwana, I’m so happy that you found peace and connection in recognising some of your own wisdom in the words. So much love! Vienda x

  • Seeking Peace

    Pain and hurt have been in my life from the time I was in 2nd grade. Mean thoughts and comments pushed onto me. Those words harmed me and I was not taught not to talk back.
    I’m trying very hard to forgive those faces and names; I’m broken and have been for so long that it’s been very challenging to dig deep and heal my inner child.

  • Julia

    I read your article in hopes of finding something to cheer myself up. I want to thank you for making me realize how much hurt I have caused myself by my negative thoughts and delusional insecurities. I have always believed that we are the only ones in control of our thoughts and feelings, but I have struggled to stay positive and have now come to acknowledge how much pain we bring upon ourselves. I am on my way to forgiving myself and changing my thoughts to more positive ones, and I hope to eventually come to peace with myself. Thank you for your article!

  • tell27

    Sometimes its hard to let things go . But trust me sending love works

  • wski

    Really??? It’s so hard to send love to someone who has betrayed you in so many ways. How do you do it?

  • Thank you. Self-forgiveness is essential and on-going. I realized a couple of years ago, as I felt really really hurt and betrayed by a break up, that there is a part inside me that needs to be forgiven for having been hurt; and that only then can I forgive another for hurting me. Interestingly, once I forgave myself, there was no other forgiveness needed. I still don’t understand it, but have since then learned again and again the absolute truth of it.

  • Vienda, when you realized what you were doing to yourself and cried as a result, I think you were going through what’s necessary when getting self-awareness..that first step to peeling back the perceptions and labels and start the actions to get to where you want to be. I got pretty depressed myself when I finally realized I was far from where I wanted to be and I’d been fooling myself all this time. True change comes with suffering, whether you’re facing your inner problems, or you’re facing external obstacles in trying to create something good and true for the world. Cheers to your positive changes.

  • Monica Baker

    I love this, thank you for sharing this.

  • How good this article is! I like it. I will share with my friends. I hope that many people also have hobby the same as me.

  • vienda m.

    It is challenging my sweet, but well worth it. When you take responsibility for your life and view it as your own instead of as a victim of your circumstances, your life will transform dramatically and loving yourself becomes easy. You’ve got this! x

  • vienda m.

    My pleasure! x

  • vienda m.

    Thank you! x

  • vienda m.

    Forgiving the first helps. You have to forgive them otherwise your not really sending them love but just forcing yourself to feel something you don’t. You have to clear your own channel first. x

  • vienda m.

    Wonderful! I love hearing stories like this, thank you so much for sharing! x

  • vienda m.

    Thank you for your insightful words Ara! We recognize what we’ve been through within each other. Blessings x

  • vienda m.

    Ah Julia, you are wonderful! Self acceptance is surely the first step to forgiving and loving oneself. Such a beautiful, healing journey you are on! x

  • PeterKenneth24

    It was really a wonderful post!! keep up the good work!

  • kerri

    Wow this is really well explained. I am just accepting the truth of this for myself. I have had moments of feeling the truth of forgiveness not just knowing it intellectually. It’s just a reality as the only way out of the pain. I have been very hard on myself I realize living a life dominated by ego and fear. Once I realized the illusion of it all and understood how it happened that made compassion and forgiveness possible, and thus for others as well. I’m learning not to fear taking responsibility for my life, I realize from the perspective of truth that what I fear(ed) was actually my only way to freedom. It’s very frightening and confusing to find that the things you relied on for your sense of security or worth, etc. start not doing that anymore. I am just now realizing why now though, why: my value or worth or sense of well-being never did in truth depend on those things, money, education, approval on and on. That nothing outside of me has any bearing on that in any way. I understand now how we are conditioned to think that we need fixing, or have to meet some standard we are never just quite right. I have understood the trap of this interpretation of life, the harm we do to ourselves and others always judging, comparing, and competing trying to measure up, be better. What a shock to realize it was never necessary in the first place and that along the way you have missed your Self and life itself! I understand now why people can think they’re going crazy when they start to become aware….I’m sure many even misinterpret THAT and further blame themselves, more evidence of their being “defective.” I did, for years. I know how hard it is even after you understand it, to let go, forgive and let go but I’m grateful for having started to started to know and express my true self. I still struggle a lot though with stubborn negative patterns of thinking and behaving but I am learning to not perpetuate them by responding with compassion instead of heaping on more guilt, etc. Thanks for this it’s a major theme for me right now I felt almost like it was me writing. I think very very often a huge part of the problem is that the only thing wrong with us is that we think there’s something wrong with us. Crazy! But happy to at least find myself climbing up the opposite bank, sometimes.

  • best in the world rakesh

    Thanks this helped in my homework

  • Ariel Paz

    Great article. Forgiveness is paramount to our healing but often we don’t realize we need to forgive ourselves and others. We also don’t realize how much we hurt ourselves and others by our words, thoughts, and actions. That’s why Jesus said “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do”. Be blessed and keep looking up!

  • melanie_sakowski

    Oh dear Vienda,
    Thank you for this