Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Is Self-Forgiveness?

 "Self-forgiveness is a process that can co-exist when others forgive us for hurting them, or when god is at work."
Have your words or your actions at times driven others away? Have you been at times blind to your own weakness, your own limitations? "Does your reluctance to see yourself realistically prompt a disintegration of what you typically assume about yourself?" If you experience these events, then you are likely candidate for self-forgiveness, writes Beverly Flannigan in her book, Forgiving Yourself. Flannigan writes passionately about a subject which she explains is at the very core of peacemaking.

Self-forgiveness can "restore peace within a person, and when peace is restored and hatred eliminated, even self-hatred, good things can result. Self-forgiveness is a process that can co-exist when others forgive us for hurting them, or when god is at work." Yet being forgiven by others does not exclude the need for self-forgiveness. Flannigan writes that the process takes some typical twists and turns on the road to peacemaking for self and others. First self-forgiveness, "results in your being able to finally feel that you have paid your debt to those you think you have owed. Second, self-forgiveness ends the desire to continue punishing yourself for letting your flaws or mistakes hurt other people. Third, self-forgiveness requires a commitment to personal change, and once you have changed, you will feel better about yourself. Fourth, when you have changed, the things you believed about yourself and others begin to make sense again."

Once again, maybe for the first time in a long time, the ideas you hold about yourself and others coincide; your life is no longing troubling, secret or in duality. And your life's meaning fits into a clear view. The process that Flannigan outlines is not easy. To take the walk into self-forgiveness, is a way without short cuts. Many unpleasant and even painful moments arise; this is the result of honest, realistic confrontation of our own being, our functioning, life as it is. This confrontation is greater and deeper than forgiveness of another may require. We may be forgiven, but only we know the depths of our meanness, pettiness and deceit. "It's this knowledge that makes self-forgiveness so hard."

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