Sunday, March 18, 2012


I have thought about forgiveness a lot lately. As a victim-offender mediator it is very important question and I talk a lot about it with my mediator friends. But we talk about situation, where the one who has been hurt/violated/injured forgives to one who have hurt her/him. But many times it would be as important to forgive yourself too.

I have met many victims, who have a hard time to forgive themselves. "Why didn't I defend myself? Why didn't I leave? Why didn't I act differently, so that I wouldn't have irritated him/her?" Unfortunately we who want to help, sometimes add the self-blame: "You should leave her/him? Why didn't you hit back?"

What if our inability to forgive ourselves, can turn to hate, bitterness and demand of revenge? What if we really can forgive others after we have forgiven ourselves? We can't change the past incidents, but we can learn from them. Life will throw us to situations, where we don't know what to do and where we feel ourselves helpless. We try to survive the best way we know, with abilities and tools we have in that particular moment.

So what if we change the questions we ask ourselves after different kind of crisis. Did I have any other option to act differently? Would it changed anything? Have I learned something? What have I learned? Have I forgiven myself?

1 comment:

  1. I learned this self-forgiveness thing after I took out a car loan and bought a car I couldn't really afford one time. As it became increasingly obvious the purchase had been a terrible decision, I found myself asking, "how could I have done that?" or telling myself, "that was so stupid!" Eventually, I realized that I needed to forgive myself for making a bad choice. How to do this? As I thought about all the reasons I had purchased the car, I came to realize that even though it had been a mistake, I had made the best decision I had known to do at the time. There were good reasons to purchase the car -- I needed transportation, it was a good price, it was comfortable, it had a good maintenance history, it was in good condition, etc. The biggest lesson I learned was not to second guess my decisions, even if they turned out in hindsight to be mistakes. I have to trust that I was not being deliberately evil when I made the decision to buy the car. I have to trust that at each moment, I was doing the best I knew how to do. The most important decision at ths point in time, right now, is what to do going forward, not to dwell on something from the past that we cannot change.