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Forgiveness Is Something You Can Also Give Yourself

Updated on February 21, 2015

When was the last time you forgave yourself?

I believe that forgiving is a large part of living happily.  That doesn't make it easy at times.
I believe that forgiving is a large part of living happily. That doesn't make it easy at times. | Source

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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    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 5 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      know thyself before you can know another. it is harder to admit you are human than to admit you have made a mistake . the biggest obstacle between man and his saviour is the EGO.

    • cynthtggt profile image

      cynthtggt 5 years ago from New York, NY

      This is true. Making amends helps us forgive ourselves too because it allows others to see and understand how one is changed by trials and experience. All these things go a long way in helping us forgive ourselves. Inspirational piece and important advice but always so hard to do. Voted up.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      cleaner3: We have to be willing to admit when we have made a mistake, and do our best to make up for it, and guard against its ever happening again. The Bible teaches that there are two kinds of sins, namely sins of commission and sins of omission. We usually think of the first as sometimes needing forgiveness. The second does, also. What we didn't do can be mistakes, too. In which does ego play the biggest factor? That probably depends most on the individual, and their efforts to overcome the failings which can be caused by ego.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      cynthtggt: The final test is how we ultimately feel about our mistakes. When we have done all we reasonably can to make amends and make things right, we have ample cause to forgive ourselves and move on. To do less is to be moving on before we are fully ready.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks for that lesson. We must remember... to err is Human and to forgive Divine!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      rebeccamealey: If we follow the commandment to "forgive all men" that must include ourselves.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      So true, so true! We cannot love others until we are able to love ourselves. The enemy will constantly whisper in our ears and remind us of our past sins, even long after we have asked to be forgiven. Well done! Voted Up. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      This is what Is do, it is a little different, but it is part of the Lord's prayer. When I pray, I use a version that is not the most usual. " Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us" Also, we must take action, to be forgiven of our sins. Sometimes it is hard to forgive others, but God will help us. If other people don't forgive us, God will.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      wow I love this.. and I needed to read it.. thank you so much for writing it.. the Lord Knows doesn't He?

      I need to forgive myself and it is so hard. I have asked for forgiveness but there is no response.


    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      Love this hub. Love and forgive yourself and others will love you back. We are human and as humans we make mistakes. I always said I would hate to meet the perfect person.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      breakfastpop: Only God has a standard by which to measure perfection. We probably wouldn't recognize such a person, other than that Manolie is the perfect person for me.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Perspycacious

      I think we need to forgive ourselves for our mistakes; learn from them and move on. Easier said than done though.

      Voted up and awesome

      Take care :)

      Voted up and awesome.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Deborah Brooks: Try out these suggestions and see if it doesn't work for you, too. All the best to you and yours.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Sueswan: Just don't forget doing your best to make up for them, so you are free to move on with a good conscience. Thanks for reading, commenting and voting.

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 5 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      Life is always our choice, and it's up to us how live it...great hub my friend...

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      raciniwa: There are indeed many choices we make each and every day. Sadly not every choice chosen is a good one. We are learning from our mistakes and from our successes. It would be nice if every choice turned out to be the right one and successes multiplied. It should be that as we age and mature, more and more choices are the right ones.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Michele Travis: Still working on this? I suspect your rendition of The Lord's Prayer means that you are. With the heat, anger, and animosity of Election 2012, many of us will have some repenting to do. We will also also want to cultivate ways to not judge, so that we too may not be judged.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good points.

      Forgiving is such a powerful act---if it is real, be it forgiving ourselves or forgiving others, it is so freeing.

      Sadly there are those who just can't or won't and that leaves a hole i their from that point on.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

      Voted up+++ and shared

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Thanks for starting my day with your comment and observations. They are always welcomed.

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