The benefit of NOT forgiving yourself

Forgiving Yourself

Forgive Yourself

This is part four in my series on how to forgive yourself. Track back to read more. Today I want to look at two factors that keep you from forgiving yourself.

What are you getting by not forgiving yourself?

One day I was teaching a small group about God’s forgiveness and the question came up about self-forgiveness. A girl said she couldn’t forgive herself.  She said, “Remy, I don’t have any trouble believing that God forgives me. I just can’t forgive myself”.  I’ve heard this many times. I started to give her my standard answer but then out of the blue a question came to me.   I asked her; “What are you getting by not forgiving yourself? In other words, “What benefit do you receive by not forgiving yourself?”

She looked shocked, like she was “busted” or exposed by my question.  She paused a minute and said; “If I forgave myself I’d feel the need to change my lifestyle. By not forgiving myself it’s like I have permission to feel sorry for myself and use it to justify using drugs.”

Bingo. The clarity that she got in that moment was amazing.  My question caused her to see the truth behind her inability to forgive herself.  The truth was; she wasn’t unable to forgive herself. She was unwilling to change her lifestyle and the forgiveness issue was simply a good “cover” or excuse.  My question helped her see the true issue and forced her to deal with the question; Do I really want to change?

Since that encounter I often ask that question of people who can’t forgive themselves. The truth is; many times people are “getting” something by not forgiving themselves.

If you are having trouble forgiving yourself could it be that you are receiving a benefit that forgiving yourself would cause you to lose?  If you are willing to reflect and be honest you might find the real reason that you have trouble forgiving yourself.

I have two more posts about forgiving yourself. Consider subscribing to this blog so you don’t miss them.

Question: What other benefits do you think people might get from not forgiving themselves? Leave your comment below.

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5 thoughts on “The benefit of NOT forgiving yourself

  1. liz

    i didnt look at it from that perspective. my take is that people feel very angry and just cannot think outside the box and consider it harmful to themselves by holding on to the hurt. also that they are in the process hurting thenselves even more. They just have not thought they will gain but forgiving both themselves and the offender. it takes some counselling and time to heal and then re;ease yourself. my experience is that time has helped me and associating with right minded people who believe in leaving the past to the past.

    1. F. Remy Diederich

      Thanks. Yes, there are many reasons for not forgiving yourself. And it does take time. You don’t just flip a switch. I’m glad you have found a supportive community to help you.

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      i didnt look at it from that perspective. my take is that people feel very angry and just cannot think outside the box and consider it harmful to themselves by holding on to the hurt. also that they are in the process hurting thenselves even more. They just have not thought they will gain but forgiving both themselves and the offender. it takes some counselling and time to heal and then re;ease yourself. my experience is that time has helped me and associating with right minded people who believe in leaving the past to the past. Link to comment
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  2. Sherrie

    Wow now that was powerful. I never once thought about that. As a person who has held on so long to lack of self forgiveness, I really had to think about that. I made a list: I get to isolate. It gives me a reason not to have a relationship. And yes, it keeps me numb on antianxiety drugs. I am sure there are other “benefits” I can’t or won’t think about but this really opens up a whole new way of thinking. I really am going to work on this one step at a time and I am feeling like the light came on. Thank you.

    1. F. Remy Diederich

      Thanks for sharing. Your comment is a good example of where I get my inspiration in writing. I’ve learned so much over the years just asking questions and hearing back from people how they feel and think about different things. Thanks for giving me more insight into the problem of not forgiving yourself.

  3. Pingback: Forgiving Yourself - Consider the Lie - F. Remy Diederich

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