Tagged: “emotional forgiveness”

If someone hasn’t harmed me directly, can I still forgive this person?  As an illustration, one of my fellow employees was intentionally injured by our boss.  Can I forgive the person who mistreated the co-worker whom I respect for his integrity and tenacity?

You speak of what some philosophers refer to as secondary forgiveness. Put another way, you have suffered by someone else’s wrongdoing toward a significant other and not toward you personally.  You can forgive if something unfair happens to others and then this causes you pain.  This can even happen if you are injured even though you don’t know the victim or victims. This is called tertiary forgiveness.  Here is an illustration of this tertiary forgiveness: the head of your country starts a conflict with another nation and you believe that your leader’s actions are unjust. If you choose to forgive the leader, then you can.

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How can I convince myself that I am worthy of love after letting down too many people in my life.  I am having a hard time loving myself.  Help!

Once we forgive others, we realize that we can offer unconditional love to ourselves, as we do not judge ourselves by our actions alone. Self-forgiveness is about finally allowing yourself to be gentle to……you.  You realize that you are imperfect. You fall flat sometimes, and yet you do not have to keep yourself down.  In a way, you are offering your own hand to yourself, accepting yourself as fully human in your imperfections, worthy of love because you are a person who is special, unique, and irreplaceable no matter what you have done.  This is not some kind of trick you play on yourself because self-forgiveness challenges you to seek forgiveness from whomever you may have offended when you offended yourself.  Self-forgiveness challenges you to be fair to those who experienced your unfairness.

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I learned from a friend that self-forgiveness is a means of justifying negative behavior so that it can continue. Is she right?

Some believe that self-forgiveness is improper because it is impossible to evaluate one’s own conduct objectively—that is, we are too prejudiced and self-interested to make the right decisions.  We do, however, have a conscience that helps us, even though we are unable to observe our own deeds with perfect clarity.  As a result, we can judge if our words and deeds are right or wrong.  Accurate self-forgiveness allows us to acknowledge our offenses toward ourselves and others and take the necessary steps to make amends.  To put it another way, self-forgiveness is more than just loving oneself.  It also involves making amends for the harm the self-forgiver did to other people.  Therefore, when self-forgiveness is correctly understood and applied, it is not a ruse to continue engaging in conduct that our conscience tells us is wrong.

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Can my forgiving my ex give me confidence in entering into a new romantic relationship?  If so, how is it that forgiving my ex can give me confidence with someone else?

Yes, I do think that your forgiving your ex can give you confidence with another person in a new  romantic relationship for this reason: You now know the pathway out of resentment.  In other words, even if the new person acts unjustly, you can forgive and be free from the burden of excessive anger.

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