What Is Self-Forgiveness?

When you self-forgive you are struggling to love yourself when you are not feeling lovable because of your actions.  You are offering to yourself what you offer to others who have hurt you: a sense that you have inherent worth, despite your actions, that you are more than your actions, that you can and should honor yourself as a person even if you are imperfect, and that you did wrong and need to correct that wrong done to other people.  In self-forgiveness you never (as far as I have ever seen) offend yourself alone.  You also offend others and so part of self-forgiveness is to deliberately engage in seeking forgiveness from those others and righting the wrongs (as best you can under the circumstances) that you did toward others. Thus, we have two differences between forgiving others and forgiving the self.  In the latter, you seek forgiveness from those hurt by your actions and you strive for justice toward them.


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Categories: Our Forgiveness Blog, Self-forgiveness


  1. Samantha says:

    Sometimes self-forgiveness gets bad press such as it is narcissistic to dwell on yourself. I respectfully disagree. We all need to get reacquainted with ourselves when we “just can’t live” with ourselves after doing wrong. Self-forgiveness allows us to be whole again.

  2. Michael L says:

    As long as we do not play games with ourselves and forgive so we can keep doing bad things, then I am all for self-forgiveness.

  3. Neva says:

    Great point about self-forgiveness including accountability to other people. This keeps the whole enterprise of self-forgiveness honest so the person does not pat himself on the back without being accountable to others.

  4. Chris says:

    I was told that self-forgiveness is not legitimate. Those offering the advice did not quite have it right. As long as there are safeguards, it not only is useful but also at times necessary.


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