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Self Forgiveness

Most of my posts are usually goofy bad dating stories.  This one’s kinda serious.  I’m not exactly sure how to put it.  So I just will.

Without getting into too much detail, I had some issues with family members from the past.  Those family members are now trying to make amends for some stuff they did that I took a lot of the blame for. 

I read up on self forgiveness and I’ve tried some of the stuff I’ve read.  I received some apologies from the family members involved and I said I appreciated their apology.  But I’ve blamed myself for some of what happened for years.  Now I’m supposed to just say, “Okay, you’re forgiven.”  And I let myself off the hook for this stuff as well.  I thought I did that years ago.  But now that these people have resurfaced, it’s dredging up all these old feelings.  

In theory, it makes sense.  You except responsibility for what happened, but you let it go and not guilt yourself over it.  I think that’s easier said than done.  How do you just let stuff go?  Anyone been in a similar situation?  Anyone have any tips on self forgiveness?  It would be much appreciated.

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12 responses to “Self Forgiveness

  1. Matthew

    I wish I had something really good to recommend. However, the best I’ve got right now is something I’m sure you’ve heard before.

    I know there have been situations where I have said to others (or they have said to me), “I will eventually forgive you, but I’ll never really forget.”

    I think it’s natural that some of things are dredging up again because you won’t really ever forget whatever transpired. But I don’t think that necessarily means you haven’t forgiven yourself for your transgressions. You are just remembering what it felt like during that time in your life.

    • I’ve pretty much let it go with my family. It’s more about forgiving myself and letting my negative contributions to the situation go. It’s hard and I guess I just have to work on it.

  2. New Single Guy ⋅

    I’ve only really had to forgive myself over the 2 most impactful relationships of my life – my nutjob ex-girlfriend and my ex-wife. I still haven’t properly forgiven myself for all that happened with the ex-wife, but I did with my nutjob ex. It just took time for me, really. Time to just realize the part I played and to eventually forgive myself for it all.

    I don’t know if there’s any good advice I can give you, other than to give it the time it needs.

    • I thought this had all passed over the last few years. But with the recent events and the the other family members involved trying their own hand at forgiveness, it has brought all these feelings back up to the surface and it’s like I’m right back at square one. Like you said, maybe I just need more time.

      Thank you for the advice.

  3. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things. And forgiving yourself is even harder. For some reason hanging on to the problems of the past seem to be easier than letting them go. I’m not sure why. I’m still trying to forgive my ex-husband and forgive myself for failing at my marriage, (or failing to recognize I was marrying the wrong guy).

    Anyway, unfortunately there is no easy way to forgive. It helps to remember though that we can’t change the past and we can’t change other people’s behavior. All we can do is “bless them change me.” Take the lessons you learned and put them to good use in the here and now. It’s not healthy to hold on to negative thoughts and feelings. Be gentle with yourself and let these feelings go. It’s starts with your words. Our thoughts do control our lives. Unfortunately we’re a flawed species and we make mistakes, be gentle with your family and be gentle with yourself. Say the words “I forgive you” to your family and to yourself. And keep saying them. Eventually it will become true. But it takes time.

    • Thank you for the kind words. I thought about all of this during the long weekend.

      You mentioned that “our thoughts control our lives.” I’m going with that. I’m a pretty positive person and I feel I put good energy out in the world. The stuff that happened was from a time when I wasn’t so positive. But that changed when I changed my thinking.

      I just need to keep my thoughts under control and remember that that stuff happened in a different time and I’m not that guy anymore.

      I’m the positive happy guy I see before me (typing near a mirror;)

  4. I agree with secret Crushes. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. You’re aware that you need to do more work or at least need more time to not be affected by the past events with your family. My mom always says you know you’re over something when you can find even the smallest bit of humor in it. We take ourselves and others so seriously some times. Maybe you just need to have a light heart about it.

    • I have calmed down a little bit now that I had the weekend to process everything. I feel like I’ve mentally worked it out.

      Crushes did make a good point and using it… positive thinking.

  5. Denim ⋅

    Maybe it is just a matter of reminding yourself of exactly what forgiveness is. You aren’t saying that what you/your family did is right. You aren’t giving anyone a pass. You aren’t saying that you would do it the same again. By forgiving, you are saying that you understand that people have failures. And sometimes they are really awful, and sometimes they are just a little icky. Either way-mistakes happen, and to forgive is to say that even though this bad thing was done, you understand that you have enough good in you to balance that out.

  6. I’ve found that the more I discuss the person or situation with someone, such as a friend, the easier it was to let go of it. I spent a lot of years hating a family member for what they had done and it wasn’t until I began explaining the situation to a really good friend that I started to put it behind me. Good luck and really loving your blog and comments!!

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