Forgiveness Is Something You Can Also Give Yourself
When was the last time you forgave yourself?
Think of your worst mistake. Have you forgiven yourself for making it?
Many men, women, and teens in prison are enduring the punishment set by the courts, while simply trying to survive and, if it is possible, to leave prison still healthy and hoping for the future.
Their future will be a struggle. Every employment application I have seen lately asks the question "Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Explain the circumstances below." The prisoner who has served their time, nonetheless has the burden of the past to cope with as they try to move forward. Not the least of which is reintegrating with family and friends.
We all make mistakes.
Society has a hard time overlooking the criminal mistakes of former prisoners. It regards those mistakes as having potential for recurring. Recidivism rates show that in far too many cases that can be true. So society thinks "proceed with caution."
If any past mistake has become an ongoing burden, it is time to resolve it.
What others have done to hurt or injure us, we can learn to forgive...and we should.
What we have done to others, we can attempt to undo by taking the proper steps. That may call for compensating them for a financial loss, asking their forgiveness and knowing that by doing so we did the right thing, even if they refuse to forgive or to accept our apology
If we hold onto our own mistakes in life, we too have burdens of the past to cope with as we try to move forward. We don't necessarily have to list them on a job application, but we could find ourselves mentally listing them over and over in our mind. In many cases there are lingering family issues and friendship problems, we are aware of and may not have resolved, or will have to learn to live with, as being outside our own ability to resolve on our own.
The one aspect of mistakes we can deal with are our own feelings about those mistakes. We can eventually forgive ourselves and move on. How long that "eventually" will take, depends a lot on us.
Repentance is a well-known religious term, defined somewhat differently by different faiths, but poorly defined in terms of how repenting can allow the individual to forgive themselves.
Ultimately the religious individual seeks absolution, a freeing from sin and guilt as a result of acts of penance, even a return to good standing after an excommunication.
That process can be very helpful for the religious person as a part of forgiving themselves.
For the less religious person the process must be much the same, acknowledging the mistake, doing what can be done on their own to try to make amends, accepting the natural consequences which flow from the mistake, and resolving that the mistake will be avoided in the future...not just because the consequences would again be painful, but because the mistake was basically a wrong path, and one not to be taken again.
Forgiving yourself involves all of that, and reaching the point where the desire to avoid making the mistake becomes so ingrained that the mistake is very unlikely to be made again, and you become confident that you are free of its risks, have accepted the responsibility, and can truly put it in the past as just what it was: a mistake not to be repeated.
Forget any possibility of forgiving yourself for any personal mistake you still feel was caused by someone else. We make our own choices. They are after all "our own choices." We live with them until we truly forgive ourselves for making them.
The best part is: we can.
© 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
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