Plenty of disappointments have come. I have known the loss of loved ones. I have hated and lacked forgiveness for what was done to me. Worse yet, I have despised and lost esteem for myself. Nothing has even been as insufferable as breaking the heart of a woman I truly loved. Not knowing what I had until it was gone is now a personally proven fact beyond question. My guilt lessens, but haunts me like a ghost keeps one from being able to fully rest. Of all things to bear, regret has proven to be the most difficult to bear. I regret my lies. I regret not going to her, not telling her the truth and not saying “I screwed up, let me try again.” like I should have. Deep down I wanted to make her proud, but instead I practiced my dysfunction and made her leave. It has been in being an upstanding man and shouldering regret that my redemption was planted and now self-forgiveness grows.
Dishonest people conceal their faults
from themselves as well as others…
Christian Nevell Bove
Most of us think we can forgive and forget; we just don’t want the other person to forget that we forgave them. That is only partial forgiveness and certainly not forgetting. Reminding someone overtly or covertly is a form of control. One of the truest signs to me that I have genuinely forgiven someone, is the memory of it all begins to fade. Over time what happened becomes a distant memory and my forgiveness is made more complete by forgetting.
Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note,
torn in two, and burned up,
so that it never can be shown against one.
Henry Ward Beecher
Beating yourself up over things you’ve done that hurt another can go on for years, decades or even a lifetime. But feeling bad changes nothing. Your guilt will not help the other person and makes you feel bad for no good purpose. If you have corrected your behavior and apologized (assuming you can without causing more harm doing it), you have done all you are responsible for. Forgive yourself and move on. Remember; forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.
Forgiveness is choosing to love.
It is the first skill of self-giving love.