A friend told me that self-forgiveness is a way to rationalize bad behavior so that you can keep doing it. Is she correct?

Some people consider self-forgiveness to be inappropriate because one cannot judge one’s own actions in an objective way (we are biased and too self-interested to get it right, in other words).  Yet, even if we cannot see our own actions with complete clarity, we do have a conscience that assists us.  Thus, we can assess our actions and words as right or wrong.

When we self-forgive in an accurate way, we see that we have done wrong to self and others and do what we can to change.  In other words, to self-forgive is not only to love oneself after not feeling so loving (toward the self) but also to make amends for the damage the self-forgiver caused to other people.  Thus, self-forgiveness, when understood and practiced properly, is not a trick one plays on oneself to keep going with the behavior (which conscience tells us is unacceptable).

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness


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