Self-Forgiveness

SI ExifPardoning, overlooking, forgiving one’s own mistakes, shortcomings, failures, weakness; loving ourselves despite our faults

How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.  Publilius Syrus

A man must learn to forgive himself.  Arthur D Ficke

Love is an act of endless forgiveness.  Peter Ustinov

Many of us are less than happy. One cause of unhappiness is the inability to forgive. Difficulty in forgiving others has at its root an inability or weakness in being able to forgive ourselves.

Mental health and religious leaders tell us that we cannot truly forgive others if we are unable to forgive ourselves. This is worth repeating! Our ability to forgive others is dependent upon our ability to forgive ourselves. Self-forgiveness is fundamental and necessary to good mental health. If we continuously harbor ill feelings toward ourselves then we are ‘doomed’ to experience life in a rather limited and unhealthy manner. All of the ‘self issues’: ‘self-love’, ‘self-esteem’, ‘self-concept’, ‘self-worth’ and others are all directly related to how we really feel about ourselves.

Few of us are not without having made some mistakes and even our share of major disasters. As we age, we become more and more aware of our weaknesses, shortcomings and limitations. It is easy to get very frustrated and ill with ourselves for failing to live up to what we think we should do or be. Many get frustrated with themselves due to their many “undesirables”. It can be extremely hard to even like ourselves, much less love ourselves. All of this comes from some internal ‘wiring and plumbing’ issues. Our inner housing does not work and function as it was designed to do. These logistical issues cause us all kinds of functional issues affecting both the inside and the outside “us”. Our inner problems manifest themselves in negative ways in our day to day living: affecting ourselves, our loved ones, and those we interact with on a daily basis.

The truth is we have relationship problems due to personal flaws, shortcomings and weaknesses. If we are unable to forgive ourselves and accept ourselves as being less than perfect, we cannot forgive others for their imperfections either. All of this works from the inside – out. What we are inside projects itself to our external world. All these issues are directly and indirectly related to our “feeling loved our lovable”. The ability to love others is dependent upon how we view ourselves. If we cannot live in harmony with our imperfections; warts and all, then we cannot live in total harmony with others as we should. The ability to self-forgive is absolutely essential if we are to function as a well-adjusted fully functioning human being.

Challenge:  The more you know yourself, the more self-forgiveness can become a problem. Mistakes and failures are a part of living. Make a list of your failures, mistakes, weaknesses, shortcomings, things you dislike about yourself. Read and study the list. Say to yourself; “I forgive myself for my imperfections. I love myself even though I am less than perfect.” You must do this regularly and every time you really get down on yourself.

Wisdom: To err is human, to forgive, divine.   Alexander Pope.

Spiritual: (NIV):

For if you forgive me when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him, and if he repent, forgive him.  Luke 17:3

Forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those that trespass against me.    Lord’s Prayer

If God, can forgive our imperfections, we should be able to forgive ourselves. If we cannot forgive others, how can we expect God to forgive us?  There is a perfect justice to this. It condemns hypocrisy. God can forgive our sins, shortcomings, and all those things that make us undesirable. God’s concept of love is far beyond our comprehension. It follows we need His help in being able to forgive ourselves. We are limited without Him.

Prayer:  Thank you for forgiving me!

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