The importance of finding forgiveness within is that without it, we remain broken ...
As a WS who is still struggling with finding forgiveness within myself, reflecting on the posts in Jovies thread of Have you forgiven yourself was not a easy thing to do. While I can quote you chapter and verse from books or websites on the subject of self-forgiveness sadly, I donít have the self-experience to offer you because like a lot of you, I havenít found self-forgiveness and at times, I despair that I ever will.
However, as I was thinking about forgiveness, I came to a realization that there was a linkage between that post and one that I had posted in the R forum recently about On being stuck, on moving forward, on healing. In that post, I argued that quite often if a BS is unable to find acceptance, then they would get stuck in a blame spiral where bitterness and despair were the outcome. Itís a vicious cycle that self-perpetuates and the only way out it through is coming to terms with the crap, accepting it and moving onward.
And then it struck me that our issue on the WS side parallels the struggle of the BS insofar as finding acceptance is crucial to our self-healing. If we (generally speaking)canít come to a full acceptance of ourselves and our failures, then we will get stuck in a shame and guilt spiral which means we can never find self-forgiveness either.
We've all heard stories that illustrate that holding onto the hate and bitterness can end up defining some BSís and I think that guilt and shame sometimes defines us as WSís too. And thatís not good.
Weíre often guilty at holding up the mirror to our spouse failures but in truth, itís a two sided mirror. For as important acceptance may be to our spouses, its twice as important to ourselves. For the road to self-forgiveness starts with acceptance.
According to LiveStrong, self-forgiving is the acceptance that we are humans who have faults and makes mistakes. It needs you to let go of self-anger for your past failures, errors and mistakes and is expressed by no longer needing penance, sorrow and regret.
When itís written out like this, it seems simple but I acknowledge that granting yourself self-forgiveness isn't that simple. The focus of this post isn't in the how, its about why we need to move the need to find acceptance and ultimately self-forgiveness to the to top of our priorities.
Remorse, regret, shame, guilt, self-loathing are labels that we use to talk about the self-inflicted emotional costs of our affairs. Post after post in the WS reverberate with these words. This is the new world we live in. Itís the new reality of our lives. But the daily act of facing the new world constantly reminds us of who we were and what we did in the past. And that continual reminder of our "bad-self" exacerbates our shame and guilt and those emotions are stopping us from finding self-forgiveness. We will never come to accept our humanness and faults if we spend every minute of every day beating ourselves up over our past actions.
Self-forgiveness has nothing to do with being unilaterally forgiven for your actions by some outside agency. Itís not absolution or the clean slate forgiveness of the confessional and for sure, itís not the same as forgetting. A remorseful WS canít forget the hurt and pain his actions created. How can a remorseful WS ever forget when each day, something happens that brings the A back into the real world? The ramifications and implications will forever be with us.
And thatís the crux of our problems. As long as we canít get past our guilt and shame, then we will never heal. We need to find self-healing if we ever want to be good people in our own eyes.
And on a gut level yesterday, it struck me that the trick to break this cycle is finding acceptance and coming to terms with ourselves. We keep telling our BSís to get over it, learn to accept it, live with it and cope with it and I think we need to take our own advice.
We need to accept and acknowledge that we may have made bad decisions but we have to also recognize that those acts do not define us and that as a WS, you are not necessarily a bad person.
I think that self-forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. Itís forgiving yourself of the self-guilt and transforming that hurtful emotion into something more tranquil. Itís a state of grace that we offer ourselves from a feeling of self-love and healing. We don't need to search far and wide or spend thousands of dollars to find it, after-all, self-forgiveness comes from within.
The reason I think itís important that we work towards self-forgiveness is that it seems evident that if a WS has truly found forgiveness, then they will become calmer and more at peace with themselves. Self-forgiveness will stop the cycle of guilt and self-loathing. And that will promote self-healing. It creates a self-perpetuating cycle of healing where once before we had a cycle of hurt and pain.
And so here we are today once more thinking of self-forgiveness. We know we can't run from ourselves forever and so, I want to challenge everyone here to think about this today. Spend some serious time on this matter. I know that I am going to do that. We can deal with this here and now.
We have a chance to finally deal with the demons inside of us. After all, we canít run any further can we? Weíre already at the rock bottom. Perhaps this is the key to it all. Face the hurt and the anger and the shame and figure out why and how it all started but Instead of running away again, this time, we have to face the snake pit and overcome it. We need to come to terms with the hurt in our hearts by using the right coping skills and techniques. Grow up and learn to accept and embrace the real us perhaps for the first time in our lives.
Ask any teenager and they will tell you that growing up is hard to do. Maybe Iím wrong but I think itís even harder to do when you have to do it at 46 or 54 or 63 years of age. But I have faith that I will grow up and find self-forgiveness. After all, my BS, my family and more importantly, I deserve a life where shame, guilt and self-recrimination does not define me or shape me. I want the grace of self-forgiveness to flow within me instead.
There always comes, I think, a sort of peak in suffering at which either you win over your pain or your pain wins over you, according as to whether you can, or cannot, call up that extra ounce of endurance that helps you to break through the circle of yourself and do the hitherto impossible. That extra ounce carries you through 'le dernier quart d' heure.' Psychologist have a name for it, I believe. Christians call it the Grace of God - Elizabeth Goudge