Forgiveness can seem like a slippery concept.  Every human on earth has a different idea of what action should, or should not, be forgiven;  each person knows people whom they will, or won’t ever, forgive.  Some terrible behavior, or speech, or implication about a person may cement for life the way they feel about forgiveness.  In fact, it often does, and I, for one, only recently got a handle on what forgiving myself meant.

One thing that forgiveness is not, is saying to someone who I forgive, but not believing it in my heart.  If I say “I forgive,” but under my breath, or in my head, think but I was right and you were wrong, the words do nothing more than put up another wall around me.  Forgiveness, to be actualized, has to mean no ill will and no bad or angry feelings.  No  resentment over the fact that I am forgiving this person for this awful, or even not awful, but thoughtless or unkind act.

And, as if the idea of letting go of fears or resentment or anger isn’t enough,

Forgiving myself was the first step

I found that forgiving myself is even harder a task than forgiving someone else.  Stop and think, just for a moment, about things in your life that need forgiveness.  Here, in a very simplified form, are some events and non-events, feelings, and mistakes, for which I have forgiven myself just recently.

  • For hating my body for almost all of my life
  • For running away from difficult situations
  • For ignoring the gifts around which I could have focused my life
  • For feeling guilty about “putting my family through” all of the frightening phases of my life, rather than giving them credit for loving me enough to be there
  • For holding for myself such unreachably high expectations
  • For believing that in misery was the only way I could live my life
  • For ignoring my diabetes, and leaving myself vulnerable and immersed in serious side-effect conditions

I am relieved to say, I have forgiven what I thought unforgivable about myself.  Even the darkest, deepest secrets of my life, which I wouldn’t admit to anyone, I have forgiven.


This was not a gentle process, achieved over time.  The decision hit me like a bolt — I finally saw that I was just who I was, that holding those actions and thoughts against myself added nothing positive to my life, and that forgiving myself would allow me to grab on to the happiness I’d chosen, with no reservations at all.

Do I know how this happened?  Not really.  I do know, however, that by forgiving myself for all the faults I held onto for so long, by removing this giant ball of guilt, I opened a clear path to allowing myself to be who I am.   Finally.


17 responses to “Forgive

  1. Absolutely! Great re-direction. It’s only when I myself amfeeling vulnerable, questioning things I used to trust in. But alas it’s Sunday and like you sau, so many other things to spend time doing. So many positive possibilities. Why stick a nose in the sand then?

    • Let me know if I overstep, okay? Feeling vulnerable may be inescapable — but asking questions is always a good thing. In fact, if you can defeat that vulnerability, you could sell your answer for a ton of money! 😎

  2. Great point Judith. I have this true flaw that I believe what I expect of myself others (even men) expect too of themselves. Silly thinking. I would prefer to believe they are not as enlightened, rather than they are just jerks who see no wrong doing within themselves.

    • Your Grace, I would suggest, with a very kind heart, that whether or not they are enlightened, and whatever they see in themselves, is their problem. I understand the feeling — believe me, I do. Remember I am an intellectual snob from birth. But for me, when I catch myself, I always find something better on which to spend my time.

  3. I adore watching the process which women seem to struggle with for too many years, and then finally getting it is an absolute. It amazes me to watch over the years the men in my world who just never found this on their radar. I wonder why besides the obvious what makes us different in this way. I wonder why guys seem to grow into themselves at a much younger time than we ladies do.

    And it’s not that they are just sticking their heads in the sand either. Are they that less introspect?

    I just find it curious.

    • I honestly believe that most of those men don’t believe they make mistakes. Why would they need forgiveness. The ones sensitive enough to understand about forgiveness are sensitive enough to know about their own need for forgiveness. That’s my guess, anyway.

  4. Learning to love that “I was just who I was” is a fantastic thing and a big step ahead! Well done Judith. Self love is the most important thing. If we can’t love ourselves, how can we love anyone else.. 🙂

    • Thank you, Jen 😎 Loving myself was a huge steep in the right direction. But it didn’t come on through learning, or studying, or even think about loving myself. It was an instant realization, first that no one can hurt me unless I let them, and then that no one can love me unless I let them. Those sentences literally popped into my head, and I believe my unconscious self had been busy learning the lesson for years, and then somebody hit the right retrieval code. Frankly, it was the best feeling I’ve ever had — better than sex, better than sleep, better than passing a test, better even than making new friends.


  5. What a time you must have had lately! Forgiveness of self is difficult because we are harder on ourselves and ‘deserve’ punishment. I think that in order to truly forgive others, we must honestly admit our mistakes, forgive them and let them go. It looks like you’ve done those three steps and so many more!

    • Well, MargeKatherine, this has indeed been a time of great changes for me. I always thought that that kind of introspection would lead to a quiet, gentle understanding of change. Not for this kid — after years and years of hearing the words, and never really getting what they said, suddenly, one night, Boom! Right in the forehead. I am especially happy, though, that I learned through this process how to forgive myself for everything I did — otherwise, I’d be too unhappy to live. Thanks for your comment! 😎

  6. A very thoughtful post Judith. I am so happy you were able to forgive yourself. It’s so much harder to forgive ourselves than to forgive others, in my honest opinion.

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