Thursday, May 6, 2010

Self-Forgiveness: Confronting Yourself

"It is not possible to forgive yourself when you do not know what you are attempting to forgive." Forgiving Yourself by Beverly Flannigan

Because self-forgiveness is "a small form of peacemaking, it is as in any war, wise to understand the enemy. When you understand the enemy, it is easier to engage in negotiations towards ending hostilities," writes Beverly Flannigan in her book, Forgiving Yourself.
Beginning to forgive yourself by gaining a better self-understanding is critical. Forgiveness in any form is not possible when you do not know what it is that is to be forgiven.
When we seek to obscure our self from our self, often we act angry or forgetful as if this would hide the transgression, or so we think. But only from our eyes is it hidden."Our own flaws and accountability will be lost" in the anger, in the forgetting. "Delays in forgiving oneself can cause a lifetime of unnecessary self-delusion, cover-ups and pain."
Falsely identifying our need to forgive our self can also delay or stall the peace and freedom of self-forgiveness for a very long time. At times we can lapse into many types of dysfunctional behavior in response to the fear that our wrong-doing, or our faults will drown us in painful emotion. Some may become chronically depressed or even suicidal.

In taking the road necessary to peace through self-forgiveness several steps must be undertaken, writes Flannigan. First, name "any false limitations or wrong doings that you may have labored under, so that a determination for forgiveness may be made." Identify the actual sources of mistakenness; come to understand the fundamentals about yourself that have been impaired and need restoration; recognize and observe the feelings that you have about the situation(s) which remain unforgiven; identify the obstacles to seeing clearly those flaws, those limits which prevent a realistic view of yourself. "To forgive, the bright lights of self-discovery and self-understanding must shine upon the one who is to be forgiven, whether yourself or some one else."

False limits and wrongs are defined as "harmful by others and not merely felt emotionally or recognized" by the perpetrator of the presumed injury. For example, some would manipulate others into a position of vulnerability so as to gain compliance with their own agendas, or would perhaps cause one to feel that they, themselves, have violated their moral contracts agreed to previously with others, but in reality one party may have had no part in the negotiating of the agreement; instead they may have complied with the implicit contract out of fear of punishment or shame by the other party. In other words, simply, 'I know something you don't and I'm not telling you, come what may!'
One party may use falsehoods and deception or omission so as to gain an advantage of the other, or to control another. Flannigan writes at length to assist a reader in determining if they do indeed have a grievance either with themselves or others. She lays out concrete questions and steps for her readers.

"Forgiving yourself starts with a process of elimination. Know your limits. No one wants to confront fundamental, personal flaws, but injuries arise from meanness, actions that are against previously held moral agreements or personal limits." Having a "good character" for many people is thought of as one of honesty, generosity, loyalty, kindness and compassion. These are often described as virtues; falling short of these ideals or displaying them in excess may be the cause of the type of blindness that injures the sense of self and harms others.

1 comment:

Simple Mind Zen said...

Saturday, May 8, 2010, 9:31 PM

羿惟 has left a new comment on your post "Self-Forgiveness: Confronting Yourself":

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