Self Forgiveness

Hi Everyone, How are ya, I'm doing pretty good. One of the most important issues my counselor and I agree on with me is that I need to learn to forgive myself. I have been carrying around a lot of self blame in my baggage since childhood. It went full bloom when my mother had her double stroke. She had been sick the week before and I wanted to call an ambulance, but I spoke with my sister and at the time she did not think it was necessary, but deep down I did, she seemed disorientated and had a little trouble walking. Being a nurse I trusted her judgement and I am sure she called it right, but that little bit of doubt, that voice inside my head, haunted me the whole time I watched her suffer from the effects of the double stroke and still does. I was told there was nothing we could have done to prevent the double stroke, but even then I still believed if I had gotten her to a hospital I could have saved her from that fate. Then my worst fear of all happened, which magnified my guilt, she died when I was not there. Even though I was there that day and I did lay in bed with her and hold her as I whispered in her ear what a beautiful women she was and how happy I was that she was my mother, I still kept insisting I needed to be with her when she took her last breath. To make a long story short, as much as I was there that day to avoid that fear, I could not control fate. I realize now that she must of wanted to be alone when she passed, because she hung on for hours after she should have and until all of her children had left the room. So jump to today, no longer can I hide my feelings from myself that I chose to do so with Alcohol. And thanks to the help of my counselor she reminds me that I did the best I could, I did take good care of her and her suffering was not my fault. I need to let it go and begin working on self forgiveness. If not I will continue to stay in a painful place. So as I am working on this, for many other things I did wrong that may have hurt others and myself as well, I thought I would share some material I have found to help myself in the hope that it helps any of you who have the same issues or baggage. Although it's a process, some days tougher than others, in time we will set ourselves free to fully live life the way we are meant to, and especially the way our loved ones would want us too.
Thank you for visiting my blog,
Love you,
Janet :)

In our journey to inner peace and healing, both guilt and forgiveness of self and others have a profound effect on this process. Guilt is defined as a feeling of culpability especially for imagined offences or from a sense of inadequacy; a self-reproach; and forgiveness as the act of forgiving or the ceasing of feeling resentment against an offender. Guilt and lack of forgiveness of self and others, burdens many people with the heavy weight of inappropriate shame and the destruction of deep-seated resentments. In recent years, much has been written about the destructiveness of repressed emotions and particularly anger and resentment in contributing to life-threatening illnesses.

The belief that feeling emotion means we are weak is a dreadful legacy to burden people with. Teaching people that strength means not feeling or denying our feelings is tantamount to creating illness. Beliefs such as 'big boys don't cry' and 'good girls don't get angry' has resulted in men and women who are unable to get in touch with what they actually feel. Depression is thought to be caused by anger turned inward and is only one of the symptoms of the need to protect ourselves from the scorn associated with expressing feelings. Many other illnesses and particularly the addictions are theorised to be expressions of a deep level of emotional pain.

Why won't we forgive? I believe it starts from our unwillingness to forgive ourselves. We believe that we are undeserving of love, respect, acceptance, appreciation, and the right to live a life where we walk in peace, joy, harmony, and abundance. Somewhere along the line, we started to believe that all the rules and regulations of the society in which we live defined who we were supposed to be. We stopped trusting and believing in our own inherent worth and came to believe that we were 'not good enough.' Messages such as 'you failed' or 'you should' became a litany for us to abuse ourselves with guilt. I call it abuse because it is just as painful when we do it to ourselves as when others do it to us. We became judge and jury and found ourselves guilty of our perceived offences. When the primary caregivers such as parents, teachers, and other societal influences are unable to love themselves unconditionally, this 'learned attitude' is passed on to the next generation as shame in an attempt to control behaviour.

This sense of shame differs from guilt in that guilt is about behaviour. Shame is deeper and more pervasive. It is about your being and feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, being bad and unlovable become the conviction underlying your life. Children grow up believing they are 'not good enough' and become the caregivers for the next generation. And so it goes, on and on. I am not blaming the parents and caregivers here as we parent the way we were parented. My own definition of maturity is that maturity is achieved when we are able to forgive our parents and other significant adults for being human.

What Is Self-forgiveness?

Self-forgiveness is the willingness to believe that you are worthy, that there are no mistakes rather, you are on the planet, or in Earth School (as some people call it) to learn about being human. The opportunities to learn are just that - not mistakes - just opportunities to learn.

Practical Steps to Self-forgiveness

* Examine how you perceived a certain situation and how you can chose to change your perception. Remember that the thoughts we think create the feelings, and it is our perception that creates our interpretations of the situation.

* Accept yourself and your humanness - you are not supposed to be perfect.

* Admit when you make a mistake.

* Remember that everybody is doing the best they can with what they know, and that includes you.

* Let go of past-future thinking, stay in the 'Now.'

* Confront your emotional pain - own your own 'stuff.'

* Appreciate the lessons that have contributed to your growth and made you who you are now.

* Say 'I forgive myself for ____________ (whatever).'

Written by Armen Hareyan on 2006-02-04


  1. I love this!! You are a strong woman, and should not blame yourself for anything that happened to your mom. I know it's tough to move past that, but there was nothing you could have done. I know I would feel the same way you do, because I am just like you :). But you did everything you could for her before and after her strokes. She knew you loved and cared for her! You went to sit with her every free moment you had, and that alone should make you proud, and I am sure she was proud of you and proud to have you as a daughter. And as for all the other stuff, the only times you have ever caused hurt is when you were drinking, and alcoholism is a disease that is hard to overcome and you are doing an amazing job at overcoming it!!!! Just know that no matter what has happened in the past is forgotten and no matter what I love you!! You are my mommy, and never forget you are a strong woman!!!!! Love you!!! xoxoxo

  2. You are just the best daughter any one could ask for, thank you so much for these kind words, they are just what I needed to hear, I love you more :)