Self Forgiveness: There is no risk

Self Forgiveness: You need only ask

Self forgiveness often feels out of reach. We are entirely too hard on ourselves. Or we take ourselves way too seriously! Still, one of the biggest challenges in my life is Self Blame. I know I am not alone.

We feel like we deserve blame and shame, yet we feel like we don’t deserve it in the same breath. Many of us go through life playing this blame game: “Is it me? Is it them?” In a way, that is how the story of blame stays so strong, by discombobulating us. In a confused vacillating state of defense and admonishment, we are more vulnerable and subservient to the wiles of shame and guilt.

self forgiveness

Self Blame, along with his best bud Self Doubt, and his life-sucking neighbor, Self Hatred, are enough to drive anyone half crazy! And they have risen to epidemic proportions in our culture. (And we have exported them to other cultures.)

They have got to be stopped!

Blame, doubt, and guilt prevent people from feeling all the love and living the freedom that they deserve, instead making people feel unworthy, unloved, despairing, and afraid. The worst, worst, worst feelings in the world.

Too many people think that they are inherently flawed, (mostly because someone hurt them, yet they blame themselves for it.) On some level they feel like they deserved to have been treated that way. It is the only way they can explain why someone else would do something so horrible.  (Plus the abuser probably told them it was their fault.) For most of us, the abuse wasn’t so blatant, but the negative voices come from somewhere.

We conclude that there must be something wrong with us.

But there isn’t anything wrong with us.

Not. One. Thing.

We are beautiful and beloved. And deserving.


Absolutely without question, deserving of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not condoning something horrible, it is about freeing yourself from the blame game. Freeing yourself from resentment.

People get very afraid of self forgiveness. They feel like if they forgive themselves, then they are “egotistical, uncaring of who they have hurt, or irresponsible.” I know, I have been there.  They feel like shame is penance for what they did. If they let it go, they are “a terrible person” since they NEED to take responsibility for that. (And you know what I think about “need.”) Ironically, if they let it go, they would no longer think that they are a terrible person.

There is no risk to self forgiveness.

Self forgiveness is seeing the you, the preferred you beyond the blame and shame.  Knowing that you are more than what happened to you, more than the names you’ve been called, more than your neediness and more than your bad luck might suggest.

Forgive yourself for “allowing yourself to be abused,” forgive yourself for being anxious, forgive yourself for getting a divorce, for surviving when someone else didn’t, for not being lovable, for not being thin enough, smart enough, for not “saving” your loved one, for being an imperfect mother. (All of that is in your head anyway.) You did the best you could, and you made it here. And I am sure you did far better than you imagined.

Forgive. You will not get struck with lightening. You are innocent.

Shame is familiar, and it is scary to give up. What if forgiveness feels worse? Forgiveness is how we heal, healing–by definition–cannot be worse. You will feel better.

Shame keeps you stuck under a really heavy weight. A weight that is not yours to carry. Forgive like there is no tomorrow, like you have done nothing wrong, because you haven’t. You are innocent.

You are innocent. And loved. Oh so loved.

Don’t forget, forgiveness is a verb, you keep committing to it, shame is familiar. It’ll keep coming back for a while, expect it, greet it, and let it go again and again.

Are you ready to try? 

For added inspiration, read the short poem  The Calm Came Back by Danielle Boostra.

Please share!

Forgive Yourself And Others Masterclass

34 thoughts on “Self Forgiveness: There is no risk”

  1. Beautiful post, Jodi and such an important reminder for all of us. The nasty voice in our head needs to be quieted. When I have problems in my life I always ask myself ‘was there something I could have done differently?” sometimes the answer is yes but I’m weary of blaming myself. I think therapists really promote this idea that you ‘should have done…” instead of whatever, so that doesn’t help. Also, in relationships we can’t control what others do to us but only our reaction to it. So here is where self blame needs to be thrown out. I always remind myself of Maya Angelou’s quote “You teach peoople how to treat you”. If you can be forgiving to yourself then others will also follow suit. I’m sorry this is so long but it really touched me. Thank you for that, Jodi.
    lisa thomson recently posted..Pubbing and Clubbing Post DivorceMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      I love this quote and think it to be relevant to my life. We are only as good as we think ourselves to be. But then again we are so much greater than we know.

  2. Thanks for this piece Jody, it’s beautiful. I had a good chat with some women friends last weekend about forgiveness and it’s true to say we may struggle with forgiving others however we mostly forget to forgive ourselves. We had all experienced this and also a common experience was that we could all apply “no shame, no blame” to others yet found it harder to apply the same to ourselves.
    Thanks for the reminder and for putting it so clearly.

    And I love your new look! Well done, great artwork and great tagline!

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      I think us women have to stick together on this. Remind each other that we are ok and deserve forgiveness, we need to stop judgments and model that forgiveness and we can all heal together!

  3. ~~~Jodi,
    after Kay was murdered, I blamed myself for living w/out her. I thought I should suffer, too… so I stopped going in for my doctor appt, dentist appt, exercising, EVERYTHING STOPPED.

    I am learning to live again. I am learning to forgive myself for that…

    My Inner Chick recently posted..Blogging Without BoundariesMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      It is hard to accept survival when someone dies, the guilt goes as deep as the love. Living and breathing her legacy as you are is the greatest gift for her and so many others, especially people like Nikky who Kay would just hug and love as much as you.

  4. Andrei@Petrol si gaze

    Basically self forgiveness is necessary when we do one thing wrong and then stop. But what should we do when we do constantly some serious mistakes, like abusing drugs, alcohol, should we forgive ourselves every day, because otherwise we cannot live properly?

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Yes, we forgive ourselves everyday, this is the only way to stop those behaviors which continue when one feels too worthless to be any different. Addiction is like lying to oneself, feeling worthless, forgiveness is a way out of addiction. Yes, one forgives each mistake but behavior will follow! And the patterns will stop! Great question! My answer is simple. It is more complex, but in the end still simple.

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Absolutely! (I wanted to say abso-smurfly for emphasis, it just came to my mind) and now everyone knows my favorite show when I was young. But it starts with intention, and then repeated commitment. That’s all.

  5. Absolutely true. I completely agree with this post. This concept was also discussed during one of the sessions in our LIFE CLASSES by Mr. Parag Shah, while discussing the book “The Roadless Traveled” written by M.Scott Peck. When I was reading your post, I could easily recollect the discussion done during the session. We even had an activity of writing a “Seek Forgiveness and Give Forgiveness” note.May be will put more words later.

        1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

          Maybe, but it is about no longer being available to the negative behavior they are doing. How to be around and no longer let it define you or keep you pinned down. Does that make sense?

  6. You and I are on the same wavelength since I recently posted something on this topic. I learned a lot about this concept from A Course in Miracles. The line in the Bible about forgiving others as we forgive ourselves is, I believe, a reflection of the truth that forgiveness is not possible until it includes everyone, including ourselves.
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Grieving Over Welcome ChangesMy Profile

  7. I also agree with this post.We also discussed about this topic in Our Life classes by Mr.Vardan kabra.That time we did discussion about this topic.What Mrs. Ritu Chopra’s say same feeling & activity is hear.

      1. Thanks,Jodi but Want to tell you that forgiving others its really difficult for me.please give me your suggestion.From last month I am struggling this things.

  8. I don’t know how you do it, but it’s like you write specifically to me. Forgiving myself for SO many things in my past has been an on-going struggle. And I’ve read and heard so much about it, I thought I heard it all. And yet, with your unique way of discussing it, I’ve got a fresh perspective again. And a fresh courage to commit to the process of “forgive & release”. Thanks Jodi!
    Greg at Tiny Bit Better recently posted..A Tiny Bit of Gratitude – 11My Profile

  9. Beautiful analysis of forgiveness and its related aspects. Taking it hard on you is not a logical thing to do. But it times logic and sense takes a back seat, and we’re driven by negative emotions.

    I’ve been there and found it difficult to forgive self as well as others. Forgiveness is something that one has to learn in life the hard way, and once you learn to implement in life, it becomes easy.

    Things that happen cannot be changed. At any moment and in any chase the only option you’ve is to spring back into life. Learn lessons, forget the event, and move on. Forgiveness helps release the negative energy, which hurts our soul if curbed inside, and gives the permission to move forward.

    There’s so much to say on this topic, which you’ve written so beautifully. Thank you, Jodi. 🙂

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      I love what you say about releasing negative energy that hurts our soul. I agree! And thank you for the compliments.

  10. It is indeed very vast topic for discussion but at same time it is great topic to share one’s feeling and the experiences one has gone through over the years. I also gone through same kind of feeling many times, as a human being it is very natural to behave and act or react,get along with the flow and repent later on. But we learn things as time passes and tends to apply in our life as well, so I really felt that “forgiveness ” is a blessing and one must have it to nurture our own soul with others at the same time.

  11. It is indeed very vast topic for discussion but at same time it is great topic to share one’s feeling and the experiences one has gone through over the years. I also gone through same kind of feeling many times, as a human being it is very natural to behave and act or react,get along with the flow and repent later on. But we learn things as time passes and tends to apply in our life as well, so I really felt that “forgiveness ” is a blessing and one must have it to nurture our own soul with others at the same time.
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  12. It is very difficult to forgive myself when I do something wrong while knowing it is wrong. Everyone does mistakes and no one is perfect but doing something I am aware of is different. For those things I believe I can forgive myself only if I make the effort of changing.

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