Forgiveness Includes Forgiving Yourself

Forgiveness Includes Forgiving Yourself January 7, 2024



Yes, Forgiveness Does Include Forgiving Yourself

Yes, forgiveness does include forgiving yourself.   1 John 1:9 says: “Our God is a forgiving God. He is the first to forgive our sins and trespasses.  And He reminds us that we must learn to forgive one another, too. Learning to forgive others also means learning to forgive ourselves.”

For years I listened to a friend of mine who refused to forgive her ex-husband. He left her for a younger woman.  This was an unforgivable act in her mind. For years she made his life miserable.  She also passed on her misery to her kids.  They were away at college and never came home to visit anymore.

I Have Coached Many People who Cannot Forgive

I have coached many people who cannot forgive. And when this happens, I have learned to ask them why they can’t forgive THEMSELVES.  They then get outraged and defensive. And then they yell that they don’t need to forgive themselves.  They also point out that THEY were the one who was harmed.

Yet when I probed a little deeper, on some level they finally admitted that they believed THEY were the cause of this person hurting them, and rather than accept this, and release and forgive, they chose to cling to the belief that they were to blame.

My Friend Was a Successful Decorator Before She Married

I knew my friend before she married.  She was a successful Decorator, staging houses for realtors to help sell the house quickly.  She did a fabulous job and was in great demand when she married.

Her husband made good money, and when her children were born, he asked her to quit work and concentrate on taking care of them and supporting him in his business. Over the years, it was obvious to me that she grew frustrated and bored with her mother and housewife role.

She Took Her Unhappiness Out on Her Husband

Instead, she took her frustration out on her husband, constantly harping on about his lack of attention, or complaining to him about problems with the house or the kids.  As a result, her husband spent less and less time at home.

Is it any wonder that he sought attention from someone else?  Yet, when he finally asked for a divorce, my friend refused to believe that she was in any way responsible.  Instead, she took every opportunity to make his life miserable.

And Now She Was Gloating

And she was now gloating over the fact that he wanted her to sell the big house that cost him an arm and a leg every month. Both of her children were in college, and he pointed out that she didn’t need all that space anymore.  He would give her all the equity from the sale. This would allow her to pay cash for a nice house.

She was telling me about his offer, and she screeched, “Over my dead body! I’ll burn the house down before I give him the satisfaction of selling it!”

How Do You Deal with Someone Like This?

Oh boy. How do you deal with someone like this?  I knew from our many conversations that she would continue to project her own guilt out on her ex-husband and continue to make herself miserable in the process.

She had already alienated her two children, who hated to come home for a visit.  They knew that she would bombard them with questions about their dad, so they stayed away as much as possible.

I Suggested She Look at the Pros and Cons

So, I finally suggested that we take a piece of paper and write down the pros and cons of keeping the house. As I questioned her about the pros, she truthfully could only come up with, “Well, I like the neighborhood, and I like the status of living in a big house.”

On the con side, the list was extensive, from the upkeep and time she devoted to cleaning it, to her admitted loneliness rambling around in it alone.

The pro side had 2 positives. The con side had 12 negatives. She looked at me and with a sheepish grin said, “Hmmm…this is quite an eye opener.  Is holding on to this house really what I want to do?”

She Could Re-Establish Her Decorator Business

Also, I reminded her that she could now re-establish her Decorator business.  She was fabulous at staging those houses fealtors had listed, and they sold quickly because of her.  I also pointed out that her home would sell quickly because of the way she had it decorated.

And she liked the idea of becoming a Decorator again and began thinking of ways she could promote her business.  So, she made the decision to put her house up for sale.

Her House Sold Quickly!

Her house sold quickly, she bought a lovely townhome that was perfect for her, and she started up her decorating business, which was thriving. She ended up losing 30 pounds and looked fabulous!

Also, her kids were now happy to come home to visit because she had a life and talked about her life rather than grilling them about her ex-husband. And guess what! She met a man and they have been dating for two years now!

She Admitted Her Part in the Divorce

After her house was sold, she admitted that she needed to take some responsibility for the breakup of her marriage.  She felt guilty that being a housewife and mother wasn’t satisfying to her, and she took it out on her husband.

And she admitted that she should have told her husband that she wanted to go back to work doing what she loved yet was afraid he would object. After the sale, she told him the truth. He was saddened that she never told him how she felt.  He knew she was unhappy but thought she didn’t love him anymore.

Are You Unable to Forgive?

If you are unable to forgive someone, be honest with yourself.  Do you feel that in some way you were responsible for the hurt that person caused you?  If you can admit it and forgive yourself, as well as the person who hurt you, you move one more step up the ladder of soul growth.

Your greatest leap in soul growth comes from your mistakes.  When you learn to forgive yourself and say, “I guess I won’t be doing that again,” you grow spiritually .  If instead you say, “I blame myself for what happened,” and hold on to your guilt, you remain in that space and don’t move forward.

Which will you choose?

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