The Struggle of Self Forgiveness

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We all make mistakes. Many times the ones we make can cause feelings of betrayal and lost trust resulting in the end of friendships or turmoil in our intimate relationships. You’re left feeling regret, shame and embarrassment because you never envisioned yourself making certain decisions. You’re hurt. And you’re left struggling to remedy your wrong. You’re left struggling to forgive yourself.

Some of us don’t forgive others at all even though we should. Some of us forgive others although it’s hard. I’ve come to believe that oftentimes the greatest struggle involving forgiveness happens when it relates to forgiving ourselves.  

You struggle to forgive you. You set a standard for yourself. You have values. You know right from wrong. You believe you should know better. Yet, none of these things made you immune from checking your guy friend’s phone, cheating on your husband, staying in an abusive or stagnant relationship, quitting school or staying in a job years longer than you should have.

The process of forgiving yourself is painful and imperfect and requires humility, soul searching, strength, courage and willingness. But in the end, you will be liberated and healed. While going through your process, be patient and kind to yourself. Some days you may feel like your mind, heart and soul are at war, and it’s because they are. But, it’s a war you can win.

Acknowledge whatever you said or did that caused some type of suffering to you or someone else. And this is sometimes the most difficult thing to do because it requires you to be naked with yourself. Acknowledge the effects of your decision. Genuinely apologize to yourself for letting you down. Genuinely apologize to someone you hurt, without pointing out any fault they may have had in the situation. Apologize without fear or worry about seeming vulnerable or desperate. Just make an honest confession from your heart about what you did and the result you hope for.

Make any amends God instructs you to make. Don’t replay what you did over and over and over again in your mind. And let go. Let go of the condemnation, guilt, regret and shame. Letting go does not mean you don’t care. But it means you won’t allow what you said or did to condemn you, define you, deter you from moving forward or hinder you from becoming who you were created to be.

When you find yourself on the path to self forgiveness, know that some days will be easier than others. Some days you may be tempted to beat yourself up or question your intelligence or value, but continue on your path to forgiveness until you’ve achieved it. I hope you ALWAYS extend to yourself the priceless gift of self forgiveness. Your body, mind, heart and soul – your life! – deserve the peace, joy, freedom and restoration that happens when you do. 

NOVIA REID (www.noviareid.com) is a Florida-based inspirational and transformational speaker, licensed clinical social worker and author of Just You and I: Devotions from the Heart and Woman: This is for You.

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