Posted by: Mermaid | February 4, 2009

On Forgiving One’s Self

We all err and make mistakes, right? Then we ask for God’s forgiveness. And it is an essential part of repentance to be sure and have yaqeen that God will forgive and have mercy on us. But… what if we can’t forgive ourselves? What if we hurt someone real deep or we broke a code of ethics we heartily believe in… how can we forgive ourselves? Forgiving others is easy for some and difficult for others, but the hardest of all is forgiving ourselves. “We are humans and we are imperfect” does not help sometimes. You think you have a big heart and you can forgive everyone, and you do. But you never lay the whip down before your slips… and the lashes go on and on endlessly and loudly that they overshadow the repenting prayers you direct to the sky. And you don’t know how to do it… you just don’t know how to do it!



  1. Well… I always wonder why does learning to forgive oneself seems to be a lot harder than forgiving others… and I always thought that may be it’s because, after all, the others do not live in your own head listening to the very same voice of blame…

    The thing is ya Mayo eno, when doing something such as those you mentioned above, one should get angry of himself, blame himself… but never hate himself…

    I think that this is the basic difference that “Self Forgiveness” make… to evaluate yourself, in a healthy way…

  2. Part of the issue is that forgiveness by others means acceptance and we all want acceptance, to be part of the group. Forgiving ourselves is much easier when the problem is one that we can acknowledge directly to the injured party and receive in return an assurance that we have been forgiven and brought back into the fold. “If they’ll accept me back, how bad can I be?”

    But not all wrongs can be handled this way and so there sometimes is no external assurance that our sincere repentance has been accepted. We have to live with ourselves. Clearly you have a conscience and it is only people who have one who worry as you do. I know some people, too many, who don’t care about serious ethical or morale trespasses. They are usual dangerous people to be around. It’s the people who have good hearts who suffer these things and that should be of some solace to you.

  3. I honestly say get over it. Life will throw more shit at you and you’ll continue to do unbelievably stupid stuff that you feel you shouldn’t be forgiven for even by God himself. So clear your conscience cuz more burden is coming.

  4. Ya Rou, wallahy a good explanation (that others do not live in our heads fa it is easier to forgive them than ourselves).

    And yes, you’re right. We need to keep a healthy balance between monitoring our behavior and tolerating slips.

  5. Matiqutayr, well, those who do not mind ethical trespasses are not of solace to me :( They actually make me wonder HOW can such people ever exist!

    But you know what, is it true that when those whom we wronged forgive us, we just forget about it? I would say yes, when the matter is trivial or small. But when it is grave….mmmm. It gets really difficult because you can’t be really sure they forgave you at heart even if they deal with you in a normal way.

    And what is even harder is when you “wrong yourself”… when you break something you truely believe in! You move on… but you do not have this “mosal7a ma3a al nafs”!

  6. Sola, well, 3andek 7a2 in everything you said! Burdens just keep coming and accumulating!

    Maybe I need to get myself a gift and forgive her for what she did before :)

  7. مرحبا
    قد يعتقد المرء ان مسامحته لذاته عند اقترافه لخطا او خطيئة هو بمثابة تطبيع مع هذا الخطأ!!! هنالك بعض الاعتقادات التي تؤمنين بها..و بعض الاخلاقيات التي تتمسكين بها..و بعض القواعد التي تتقيدين بها…و فعلك ما يخالف اي منها يهزك من الداخل..و لفترة قد لا تصدقين انك انت من يفعل هذا..و لكن مجرد انك فعلت هذا الخطأ او ذاك لا يحوله الى صواب..و ربما..عندمل تسامحين نفسك قد ترين ان هذا شيء من القبول بهذا الخطأ..ربما الشعور بالذنب..هو شيء مقصود لتثبتي لنفسك انك ما زلت تتمسكين بما تؤمنين به و انك لا زلت على اخلاقياتك..و الدليل..انك لا تستطيعين مسامحة نفسك!!! المشكلة تظهر ان جلد الذات و الشعور بالذنب..لا يحول دون وقوعك بذات الخطا مرة اخرى…و هنا يدخل المرء في دوامة…حد فاهم حاجة؟!!!.. لا اعرف..هذه مجرد محاولة للتفسير..قد تكون بعيدة كل البعد عن الصواب..

    عموما..عدم مسامحة نفسك ..و تقريعك لذاتك فيه شيء من ايجابية ..اذ انه يثبت عمق تشبثك باخلاقيات معينة..و ان لك ضميرا حيا..يحاسبك..و يلومك..و يؤرقك..و يجعلك تذرفين الدموع!!فكري لو ان كل الناس لديهم شيء من هذا..كيف ستكون الدنيا!!!

  8. “و فعلك ما يخالف اي منها يهزك من الداخل..و لفترة قد لا تصدقين انك انت من يفعل هذا”

    This is very true ya Oroba! I mean sometimes you just tell yourself: “There is not way I’d slip in this area” and the next day you’re in to your nose .. as if God is telling you: “You’re not too good or too perfect to slip.”

    ربما الشعور بالذنب..هو شيء مقصود لتثبتي لنفسك انك ما زلت تتمسكين بما تؤمنين به و انك لا زلت على اخلاقياتك..و الدليل..انك لا تستطيعين مسامحة نفسك!!

    I liked this very much ya Oroba! A very good way of looking at the feeling of guilt.

    Am really, really, really happy I am reading your thoughts, dear :)

  9. ربما الشعور بالذنب..هو شيء مقصود لتثبتي لنفسك انك ما زلت تتمسكين بما تؤمنين به و انك لا زلت على اخلاقياتك..و الدليل..انك لا تستطيعين مسامحة نفسك!!

    “I liked this very much ya Oroba! A very good way of looking at the feeling of guilt.”

    What Oroba said is what I so poorly failed to convey.

    Although I do kind of like the way Sally put it. :-)

  10. What can I say, Mantiquttay? I am blessed for having such brilliant, eloquent friends :D

  11. I believe that tolerance is not classifiable.. I mean we cannot be tolerant people only when it comes to others but when it comes to our selves we find it hard to be.. Our tolerance is a bit incomplete then, and so I guess we cannot describe ourselves as ones.

    And tolerance is not necessarily about forgive and forget. You can tolerate somebody doing something, which means you fully understand the situation while still seeing this as something wrong and shouldn’t have been done and regret abit that it happened. You are simply not mad / angry / judgmental at that person, because you simply “understand” … therefore you tolerate.

    When we do something wrong, and keep blaming ourselves for it ages after, it is because we cannot tolerate ourselves doing something of the kind. And it’s a pity to be so harsh.. It is bad to hurt others or do wrong to our beliefs and ethics, but being intolerant towards ourselves does not always help in making us not do it again. On the contrary, we are prone to do more wrong again because we are too busy “wronging” ourselves for what we once did.
    If you hold a whip to a child for every mistake he does, you do not always get the results you want (that he becomes good and careful in future … etc), you confuse him more. On the other hand, if you correct him with tolerance, you will help him understand and grasp his mistakes, see through them, and then he’s able to do a lot of good that it will no longer matter the bad he once did… It’s the same thing with us.

    It’s just a way to help ourselves be “metsal7een ma3 nafsena” , and trust me it does work; it is just a matter of alot of practice and patience.
    Because it is simply not possible that we never ever do harm to people or ourselves, it wouldn’t make us the humans we are. And as wrong is inevitable, self blaming is not a cure neither. It will not make us feel better by doing it, will not erase the harm already done, and will keep our insight from being clear on the road ahead for some time.

    I pray God to bless us all with the gift of tolerance, towards ourselves before others as it’s a huge mercy.

    Thank you for the thoughts ya doodz .. God bless you dear.

  12. hmm .. oops! .. it didn’t seem that long on the notepad :$
    Sorry for the long comment!

  13. Ya Nahlool,

    First, sorry about the late reply. You comment is very rich that I had to wait a bit to dedicate some quality time to read and respond to :)

    Second, allow me to disagree with you. Well, the way I see this forgiving issue is that there are three kinds of people:
    1- Those who forgive themselves for any slips/mistakes but cannot forgive others.
    2- Those who can forgive others but find great difficulty in forgiving themselves
    3- Those who can forgive themselves and others accepting that we are humans who slip and repent.

    I wish I belonged to group #3.

    I liked very much how you differenciated between tolerance, forgiving and forgetting. Well said! :)

    I think there has to be a balance. We should not be too harsh nor too tolerant. A too tolerant approach might result into a too spoilt self that does not realize the magnitude of slipping. And a too harsh attitude might result into more slipping as you suggested. The magical word is “balance”… something very few can achieve!

    Amen, amen, amen to your prayes, dear :) May God bless you with light within … always :)

  14. Well, I do not see any disagreeing at all my friend. I totally agree with you, the group #3 is what I was referring to all along, but you have put it in a much easier way by splitting them into groups, and “balance” is the magical word I was looking for :) .. so thank you for helping me out ..

    It’s not impossible to join group #3 dear. Just believe in it deep inside and be patient with yourself on the journey of self-tolerance …

    God bless you ya Mayada.

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