Forgiveness and Self-forgiveness

I am here to help you forgive others or forgive yourself. It is difficult and uncomfortable to keep carrying all sorts of emotional distress caused by the original act. (“The original act” means something done by another person that caused you suffering, or it could be something you did that you’re having difficulty forgiving yourself for. I avoid labeling the original act as “something wrong,” since the definition of “wrong” can change depending on time period, belief system, culture, circumstance, laws and ethics in different jurisdictions, and personal values.) Forgiveness may sound challenging but it is learnable and it’s possible.

To support your journey, I have tools to offer; I know how to facilitate creating your own roadmap for achieving forgiveness of others or yourself. 

There are a few areas where people often get stuck during the forgiveness process, including lack of a roadmap, lack of coping skills, conflicting definitions of “wrong,” and an inability to distinguish between the original act and the self.

Some people do not have a working model of the forgiveness process. They don’t know what it takes to forgive and they don’t know what the process entails. Lacking coping skills makes the process difficult to bear. In our changing world, some things that were illegal or forbidden — for instance, alcohol, divorce and marijuana — have become accepted practice. So definitions of wrongdoing are very personal and individual. The inability to distinguish between the original act and the self means that instead of the original act being labeled as a “wrongdoing,” the person who committed it is labeled as a “bad person.” This makes it difficult to forgive and it might result in blame, suppressed emotional distress, or anger. If only the original act is labeled as “wrong,” this leaves the person as neutral, with the possibility of receiving forgiveness.  

Research shows that there is a high correlation between the inability to self-forgive and experiencing anxiety, depression, stress-caused illnesses, self-harm, risky behaviors or substance abuse. An inability to forgive others has a negative impact on happiness, relationships, and mental and physical health.  

Forgiving others does not mean you approve their original act, nor does it mean allowing that person to continue hurting you. Forgiveness is not pardoning, denying, excusing, or forgetting. It includes learning how to protect yourself from that person. Forgiveness benefits you, rather than the person who committed the original act.  Forgiveness gives an opportunity for personal healing. You will get your life back and find your own way of moving forward.  Forgiveness creates relief in you and a new opportunity to live your life at peace.

I am here to listen to you, empathize with your experience, and help you:

  • Explore definitions of “wrongdoing” in a new light
  • Separate self from act (you will be able to distinguish between “I am a bad person” and “what I did was ‘wrong’”)
  • Learn coping skills to tolerate discomfort arising from talking about your experience
  • Acknowledge and grieve your loss
  • Learn what you are gaining from not forgiving
  • Explore what it takes for you to forgive others or yourself
  • Find out what you would like to do, if the person who hurt you or the person whom you hurt is no longer available to talk to you, unsafe to talk to, or the damage is irreversible
  • Find your new authentic self and a new way of living after forgiveness

The speed and the process of forgiveness vary depending on each individual, circumstance, and the degree of the damage.  I will be there to gently walk you through your journey at your own pace.

I’ve asked my clients to find a person who has never made a mistake. So far no one has been able to name such a person. Everyone makes mistakes once in a while, because being human includes making mistakes. It is up to each individual to figure out what to do with the outcome of the original act.

Before ending this page, I would like to share my dream, a big dream, with you.  I hope someday the accumulation of forgiveness at the personal level will bring peace to this beautiful earth. It would be so meaningful if you and I could work on this vision together.

Click here to see my paper about how to facilitate a process of self-forgiveness

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