Forgiveness May Be a Futile Exercise …Unless…

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness    (c)2014 Nancy Virden

Think about this for a moment: Unless we can forgive ourselves we cannot forgive anyone else. Is that true?

1) A woman I know is emotionally tortured over her involvement in a past abusive relationship. Admittedly, she was manipulated and used in the scenario; anyone would say she had been a victim. Nevertheless, years later she often feels rage and hatred toward the abuser and offers no mercy to herself either.

2) A set of parents within my social circle are frequently devastated as they observe their son abusing himself through drug addiction. They question why is it he who turned to this tragic way of life. What could they have done differently to protect him?

The mother is pained remembering a time she believes she let her son down. She blames herself for his predicament. It is impossible to carry this burden alone, so she publicly speaks critically of her husband, complaining about his failures as a parent.

3) A young adult wishing to attend college had his saved tuition money stolen by his father who spent it all gambling. The young man, without a higher education, gained a family and an average job. His own children are adults now, and he scrapes by financially, accruing debt on the way.

As he sits in the school financial aid office with his daughter who has big dreams, he hears he cannot co-sign for her loan. Inside, he rages at his father who cheated him and made it so difficult for him to be successful. No one on the outside likely thinks he understands how his debt lifestyle harms his daughter, but they are wrong. He is acutely aware of his failures.

Locked in a low self-worth mindset and believing we have few options,  we may adopt anger, hate, rage, unforgiveness, and judgmental  standards as ways of thought in all our relationships. Realizing we are forgivable and undeserving of abuse, somehow sets us free from resentment.  I’m not sure how it works, but it does.


NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline     1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

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