Ask Gwen: Forgiveness and moving on


You have written about forgiveness and giving yourself permission to move on. You make it sound like a simple choice. I wonder how to deal with living with having made a terrible choice in the first place – one that caused others great pain. Making the choice to forgive myself does not seem appropriate. How can someone move forward in life when they feel responsible for causing pain to others?

Gwen’s Answer:

Forgiving ourselves or others does not mean that what was done was okay. We accept responsibility for what we did, express our regret and make amends if that is possible. Forgiveness simply means that we acknowledge our errors, take the learning from the situation, vow to operate in future from our highest selves, and then move on. It means we have done all we can now, so we stop beating ourselves up.

Continuing to berate ourselves, feel guilty, worthless, or bad does not serve anyone, and cannot change things. Honor all the good that exists in you, and you can aim to balance out the pain you may have caused others by doing things now to help others whenever you can.

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