What is self-forgiveness?
- Accepting yourself as a human who has faults and makes mistakes.
- Letting go of self anger for your past failures, errors, and mistakes.
- No longer needing penance, sorrow, and regret over a grievous, self-inflicted, personal offense.
- The act of self love after you have admitted your failure, mistake, or misdeed.
- The spiritual self healing of your heart by calming self rejection, quieting the sense of failure, and lightening the burden of guilt.
- The act of letting go of the need to work so hard to make up for your past offenses.
Negative consequences of the absence of self-forgiveness
In the absence of self forgiveness, you run the risk of:
- Unresolved hurt, pain, and suffering from self-destructive behaviors.
- Unresolved guilt and remorse for self-inflicted offenses.
- Chronically seeking revenge and paybacks toward yourself.
- Being caught up in unresolved self anger, self hatred and self blaming.
- Defensive and distant behavior with others.
- Pessimism, negativity, and non-growth oriented behavior.
- Having a festering wound that never allows the revitalization of self healing.
- Fear over making new mistakes or of having the old mistakes revealed.
- Being overwhelmed by fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of non approval, low self-esteem, and low self worth.
Signs of the absence of self-forgiveness
Lack of self forgiveness can result in:
- A loss of love for yourself.
- Indifference toward yourself and your needs.
- An emotional vacuum in which little or no emotions are shown or shared.
- Chronic attacks or angry outbursts against self.
- Disrespectful treatment of self.
- Self-destructive behaviors.
- Chronic recalling and reminding of past failures, mistakes, errors, and offenses.
- Suspicions about others’ motives, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs when they are accepting of you.
- Chronic depression.
- Chronic hostility, sarcasm, and cynicism.
- Self name calling, belittling, and self demeaning behaviors.
- Unwillingness to change and/or unwillingness to seek the help necessary to change.
- Resistance to doing what is necessary to heal within and recover from low self-esteem.
Irrational thinking preventing self-forgiveness
- I hurt myself so much; how can I ever expect to be forgiven for that?
- No one deserved the treatment I dished out, and I do not believe that forgiveness is deserved in this situation.
- I am sick over what I did; how can I ever forgive myself?
- I must be inherently evil, and I am despicable. No forgiveness will ever change that.
- I am vicious and cruel, and I always need to be on guard because of that; so why try to forgive what I have done?
- It is a sign of weakness or softness to forgive myself. I must always keep my guard up so as never to repeat my wrongdoings.
- There are some things I can never forgive myself for.
- Only God can forgive me, though at times I don’t believe He can for what I have done.
- What has happened in my life is God’s seeking revenge for all the evil I have done in the past.
- I have done too much for which I can never be forgiven.
- I am just seeking my forgiveness so that I can come back and hurt myself again.
- I do not deserve any self kindness, self compassion, or self forgiveness for what I have done to myself or others; I’ll see to it that I am never able to forget it!
- All people who do wrong deserve the worst that life has to dish out.
- I resent myself for hurting myself or others. It is better for me to be hidden behind my wall so I don’t hurt anybody again.
- If I could treat myself or others that way, then I am undeserving of being forgiven, loved, or cared for.
New behaviors needed to create self-forgiveness
In order to forgive yourself you need to practice:
- Letting go of past hurt and pain.
- Trusting in your goodness.
- Trusting in the goodness and mercy of your Higher Power to take over the burden for you.
- Letting go and letting your Higher Power lead you during a hurtful time.
- Believing in the infinite justice and wisdom of your Higher Power.
- Letting go of fears for the future.
- Allowing yourself to be vulnerable to growth.
- Taking a risk.
- Letting go of self hostility, resentment and self-destructive behaviors.
- Working out your self anger.
- Overlooking slight relapses or steps backward and getting back on the wagon of recovery immediately.
- Developing a personal spirituality.
- Developing an openness to the belief that you can change.
- Developing trust in yourself.
- Open, honest, and assertive communication with yourself concerning hurts, pains, and offenses experienced.
- Identifying and replacing the irrational beliefs that block your ability to forgive yourself.