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?