This Venus in Retrograde thing has taken me for a bit of a ride. I’ve got relationship patterns popping up right and left for me to look at and I’ve had to take a really, really, deep look within.

Apparently, I’ve tucked away a key aspect of my relationship patterning that I was highly resistant to examining. (Surprise, surprise!)

In recovery literature there is a passage that says, “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” I’ve actively and consciously worked through most of my regrets and been able to keep the door open in most cases, but there has been one that has been very difficult for me to resolve or feel peace around.

I can’t stop blaming myself for actions I took during a relationship in my past. And as a result, I hold myself back from being fully present for others, still and even 30 years later. By being the “bad person” in that relationship, I’ve continued to carry the burden and feel on some level undeserving of receiving true, whole-hearted, fierce love – the very love that I want to claim and share with others.

I’ve wanted forgiveness. And in my journey, forgiving others has been a cornerstone of my healing. I’ve forgiven exes for hurting me (and in many cases for doing the very same that I did), I’ve forgiven my rapists, I’ve forgiven friends, family, strangers…The act of forgiveness has been transformative for me. It has shown me how to bring more love into my heart and into my life.

What I’ve realized is that in all those cases, I’ve been able to forgive myself for whatever my part in the scenario was. I’ve been able to show myself compassion and understanding and as a result I’ve been able to extend that to others.

And now I understand that despite trying to make an amends and apologize for my transgressions, there’s been a lack of sincerity in my approach. It hasn’t been intentional – I’ve genuinely wanted to “make things better.” But it can’t ever be better until I find forgiveness for myself in my own heart. I can ask for atonement from every person that I’ve ever hurt, but unless I have forgiven myself, I will never believe them even if they do forgive me. Without taking responsibility for loving ourselves and being compassionate with ourselves and forgiving ourselves, it doesn’t matter what anyone says to us or shows us or extends to us. An olive branch is just a branch if we don’t understand the concept of peace within.

I have to also be okay with the fact that not everyone will forgive me. That is each person’s individual choice and an aspect of their path and healing. I can say I’m sorry – and when I know I’ve been in the wrong, I always am. But if I can’t forgive myself then energetically there is still an imbalance in the exchange. If I can truly find the atonement within, then not only will it benefit the person in question should they choose to accept it, but then I can also show more love to the other people in my life and to those that are yet to come. Holding back in any one area never helped the whole.

A beautiful living amends is to be the very best person I can be and to show everyone I’m in relationship with the utmost respect and love that I can, to shine from my heart and share pure love with them. That’s a tall order! And one that is only possible if I truly and fully use that light to first cleanse what is being revealed within me, the piece of me that is asking to be healed with the same compassion and love that I’m willing to extend to others.