While we covered many of the truths about forgiveness in How Forgiveness Improves Your Life, the most important application of the information was not properly addressed. In this article, however, I will share the lessons I’ve learned that have allowed me to forgive myself for any perceived wrongs that I have done, in hopes that some of you will find your own peace as a result.
Guilt Over Shame
As our lives run their courses, it is inevitable that we will have multiple collisions with guilt, regretting something you have done. Guilt is almost never bad. It tells you that you have made a mistake, and that you need to make things right. Often times, however, guilt is replaced by shame, regretting who you are. When we tell ourselves that we don’t deserve forgiveness, we are experiencing shame. Understanding the difference between these two feelings has helped me to differentiate between being a regular human being, who makes mistakes, and being a bad person, and that realization, that I was a good person that made mistakes, marked a turning point in my personal struggle with depression. The truth of the matter is, sometimes you will even do things with bad intentions, out of spite or whatever it is that drives you at the time. Even then, it is essential that you allow yourself to feel guilty, allow yourself to apologize for what you have done, but do not ever feel shameful. Never apologize for who you are, because the key to happiness, self-forgiveness, and self-love, is not to change yourself until you are your ideal person, but rather to change your ideal, be your own role model, and love yourself for who you are.
You Are Your First Priority
Or, at the very least, you need to be. Outside the realm of things which could be considered as mistakes, situations occur in which we must make decisions which will, for one reason or another, bring our morality into question. This instance of shame is understandably more difficult to deal with, and so I submit that you need to stop taking responsibility for other people’s feelings. In the event that you exclude a friend, or even a family member from your life due to their tendency to be toxic in your life, it is crucial to accept that you made the choice which you were forced to make. The fact that your choice may have hurt others in some way does not make you responsible for their grief. You can forgive yourself, because you did nothing more than remove someone from your life something which no longer bettered you, and for that, you deserve to thank yourself.
Notice that, for the most part, I wrote this article using collective terms (we, us, our), and the reason for that is, especially in regard to this topic, it wouldn’t feel right to separate myself from those who struggle with forgiving themselves. Remember, there are fewer bad people in this world than there are oceans. If you were malicious, if you were anything less than a good person, you wouldn’t feel the need to forgive yourself in the first place. Your search for a way to bring yourself into the light is defining proof of your own morality and, for lack of a better term, goodness. Never let anyone convince you that you have any reason to feel bad about, or change who you are.
If the article was helpful, if you think it might be helpful to someone else, feel free to share it on social media. More importantly, if any of you still have questions or problems with forgiveness in any form, please post them in the comments below, because this blog has no point beyond helping you with your struggles.
It's always been my belief that it's a blessing to be a blessing, and that's why I write, to do whatever I can to brighten a person's day.