Word-Of-the-Week #792: Forgiveness

October 11, 2019 by  

Forgiveness the act of not blaming or holding resentment against (someone or something).

How willing are you to forgive someone? Does it depend on who they are? Or what they did?

I received a calendar with daily inspirational messages from my dear sweet friend Carol at the beginning of the year and the message for the month of October is this week’s WOW.

It reads, “Every experience I have ever had has served as a stepping-stone for me, including any so-called mistakes, which have actually been very valuable to me. I shift my focus from blaming myself to loving myself for my willingness to learn and grow. This month I feel only gratitude for where I am in life, and for all of the rich wisdom I have acquired along the way.” 

Excerpted from Psychology Today writer Beverly Engel L.M.F.T. says this, “We hear a lot about the importance of forgiving those who have harmed us, but what about forgiving ourselves? Is that important as well? I believe that it is. 

When we harm someone it is normal and healthy to feel bad about it, to experience regret and to wish we could take it back or do something to make the person feel better. What isn’t healthy is to continually beat ourselves up for our offense and to determine that we are a bad person because of it. The first experience is generally thought of as guilt while the second is considered to be shame.  

Some have explained the difference between shame and guilt as follows: When we feel guilt, we feel bad about something we did or neglected to do. When we feel shame, we feel bad about who we are. When we feel guilty, we need to learn that it is okay to make mistakes. When we feel shame we need to learn that it is okay to be who we are. 

I believe that self-forgiveness is the most powerful step you can take to rid yourself of debilitating shame. This is particularly true for those who have been abused, but it applies to everyone. Self-forgiveness is not only recommended but absolutely essential if we wish to become emotionally healthy and have peace of mind. It goes like this: The more shame you heal, the more you will be able to see yourself more clearly—the good and the bad. You will be able to recognize and admit how you have harmed yourself and others. Your relationships with others will change and deepen. More importantly, your relationship with yourself will improve. 

If you have learned from your mistake, and do not wish to repeat it, then you no longer need to feel guilt or shame about it. Forgive yourself and let it go.”

This week’s focus is on self-forgiveness. How much shame or guilt do you carry from past mistakes? Have you learned from your mistakes?

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