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Does anyone else struggle with self forgiveness


Ljj71400

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I have made some really dumb and bad choices this year. 2020 has been full of ups and downs for me. I woke up feeling guilt, regret, and anxiety over the past. I have the hardest time letting go of the past. I struggle to even let go of embarrassing memories. I wish I could take back some of my choices. Sometimes the guilt can strike when I'm having a good time.

When I wake up, the guilt and regret are hard not to dwell on. I have a very time not beating myself up

Does anyone else struggle with self forgiveness? Advice?

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Hi Lij71400,

I have struggled with what you describe before.  Nowadays not so much.   I think foolish and bad choices form a wide range of values.  At one end of that range are those choice made by those, who, like genocidal dictators have sent tens of millions of individuals to extermination camps or set up forced starvation campaigns. 

To me, those are the ultimate in foolish and bad choices.  I have certainly made foolish and bad choices, but nothing I have done in my life has led to the destruction of tens of millions of men, women and children, or millions, or hundreds of thousands, or tens of thousands, or thousands, or hundreds and so on.  I have never committed a violent felony.

So I try to keep perspective and a sense of balance when I look at my life. 

It is sometimes the case when people are feeling bad that they compare themselves to the most ideal human beings.  But in fairness I think balance requires that people also see how they are doing in relation to those guilty of the worst decisions, evils and crimes. 

I don't know what you have done or failed to do in your life, but I am absolutely sure that you have not sent tens of millions of men, women and children to extermination camps.  You are far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far from having made those kind of "foolish" or "bad" choices. 

I once talked to a little girl who wanted to end her life because she did not get straight A's on her school report card.  She told me she was bad, a failure, a waste of oxygen.  She felt a degree of guilt completely out of proportion to the ideal she did not achieve.  Perhaps many people are like this. 

Guilt has a function but it must be proportionate to the act.

Being able to maintain perspective and balance are part of fair-mindedness.  They are essential to a love of truth and goodness.  Excessive guilt is not only unfair to the person concerned but also to fairness and justice itself. 

Anyway, that is how I deal with the issues you mentioned.  Hopefully other members here will see and respond to your post and have more helpful words than my poor words.

I wish you only the very best!

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Epictus made some really good points.

In many Asian cultures failure to get straight A's or be perfect the parent shames the child. In Japan many people have struggled with living with feeling they let down others even the Samurai in history.

Sometimes if you set yourself to the highest code of honor, the highest standards you may feel you let down because such lofty standards are very difficult. You can have high standards but instead of harming or beating your self up on failure, come to view it as a learning experience.

For example, I fail a test, I can learn what the correct answers and methods are. If you hurt some you can make amends to that person.

 

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  • 1 month later...
12 hours ago, Zagor said:

My mental illness would go away by at least 20% if I could clear my conciseness and wishing I have never done some things in my life.

The bad news is that nothing in the past can be changed; and the good news is that nothing in the past can be changed.  

Honestly, I am not trying to be a smart a$$.  That is just how it is, whether we like it or not.  Let yourself off the hook.  If the situation switches to 'we can change the past, but you fail to do so', then you can always still beat yourself up.  😕

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My life is one impossibly long trail of regrets and failures. I have tried to justify some of my past actions but it simply cannot be done. I despise myself as a result.

Self-forgiveness is a completely alien concept to me.

The memories always seem to loom before me when I'm trying to fall asleep at night. Needless to say, I don't often sleep very well.

This is a fascinating thread, @Ljj71400  . Thanks for starting it!

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On 12/30/2020 at 2:36 PM, jkd_sd said:

If the situation switches to 'we can change the past, but you fail to do so', then you can always still beat yourself up.  

Very nice JKD!

Bulgakov

Edited by Bulgakov
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On 11/18/2020 at 3:27 AM, Ljj71400 said:

Does anyone else struggle with self forgiveness? Advice?

Sorry you are feeling this way. 

In my case, it's not so much what I have done than what and who I am. More to the point, what I haven't been able to do. 

I see myself as a failure and as an entity that has failed to find meaning and a point to my existence.

I am also part of a species dead set on destroying this world because of some deranged sense of entitlement. And there is nothing anyone can do about it. It is in our genes to be self-centered, greedy and incapable of planning into the future. 

This is what I can't forgive myself. This failure, that I can't make a meaningful like that I would feel mine and also being human in general. 

 

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Hello, my friend,

Regret is the HARDEST thing I've ever lived with.  If I could create a ribbon to measure, it would wrap around the world twice, at least.  It sits down to breakfast with me, peeks from inside the closet at night . . . it is with me everywhere and all the time, and I hear myself saying aloud sometimes, "Gyod, I hate myself " or "I should have died a long time ago . . . "  

But I'm trying something new.  I realized I actually reach for those painful thoughts sometimes because I think I deserve to be unhappy because of all my bad, bad choices.  So lately, when I'm feeling neutral, I try to create a new, painless thought to join me in my neutrality.  Like, messing around with my tablet, or listening to music on my computer while I research things I've always been curious about; continuing with my creative writing to get through the sorrow (or the glory)--distraction, distraction, distraction.  I think this mental activity can be practiced as one would a musical instrument. 

When I hold myself back with pain, it obliterates the possibility of a better present, a better future.  So I remain inert and in pain that may one day **** me. I have to make a conscious effort not to go to the place of pain - and it's like developing a new skill.  I don't have a measure of success, and I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others and their successes, which only brings on more pain.  

And I'm tired of it.  So. Very. F#$king. Tired.

I empathize with you completely, and I wish you peace.

 

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I have struggled with constant guilt most of my life.  It has even (when I was a teen) caused me to behave very badly since I felt so bad.  Kinda like, ‘you think this is bad?  Wait’ll til you see what I do next!’ I am constantly at war with myself and have yet to figure out how to change.  

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On 1/3/2021 at 2:11 PM, sober4life said:

I can't forgive myself because I'm garbage.  I'm awful and I always have been.  God should do the world a favor and put me in the cemetery where i belong.

Pretty much my view about myself as well...though I don't want my stiff to take up valuable cemetery space. Scatter my ashes in or next to Lake Superior.

Edited by JD4010
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6 minutes ago, JD4010 said:

Pretty much my view about myself as well...though I don't want to take up valuable cemetery space. Scatter my ashes in or next to Lake Superior.

Mom already bought me a plot but the plot is worth money so family can either put me there or sell the plot and have me cremated and thrown in the dumpster behind the crematorium that the government will pay for.  I wonder which one they'll choose.🤔

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22 minutes ago, sober4life said:

Mom already bought me a plot but the plot is worth money so family can either put me there or sell the plot and have me cremated and thrown in the dumpster behind the crematorium that the government will pay for.  I wonder which one they'll choose.🤔

(Only half joking.)   So have the ultimate revenge.  Outlive them and use their ashes as dumpster lining.  

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There is plenty of things to do to get better but do we try any of them? You keep doing what your doing you keep getting what your getting.I accept that depression will always be in me.I watch my thinking and know when i lie to myself and when i tell the truth to myself.

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Hi @Ljj71400

I have many regrets and I wrestle with self-forgiveness. What seems to help me with my struggle, for the moment, is to work on forgiving others. As I become more able to forgive others who have done me wrong, disappointed me and hurt me, my deeply held arguments for why I'm unforgivable seem to weaken. If I'm so special that I don't deserve the same forgiveness I give to others, there's a reason.

I think that reason, for me, is that I don't want to let go of something (or accept something) because I need it to justify my present, past and future pain. 

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