The short answer to why we won’t forgive ourselves is, we’re afraid.
Afraid we don’t have the right, afraid it might incur the wrath of the people who taught us about right and wrong, afraid it means we’re not sorry, afraid if we forgive ourselves the evil within might finally gain control and we’ll hurt someone we love.
It is okay to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. We absolutely have this right.
We’re grownups now, remember? We make the rules (and the consequences). Take responsibility for how you think and feel about yourself.
Also, have you ever considered that not having forgiven yourself could be what is keeping someone from forgiving you? If you can’t forgive yourself, why should they?
If someone taught you doing something wrong meant you’d never be forgiven, I am so sorry. I really, really am.
It must have been terrible growing up believing any wrong move would mean a lifelong sentence of shame and isolation. That kind of burden must have forced you to contort yourself in innumerable ways as you tried and tried to do what was right.
Please know there is nothing you could have done differently to get it right. Not because you are bad, but because getting it right simply wasn’t possible. The game was rigged, the deck was stacked, the dice were loaded. There was no way to win. I know you know this on some level. Forgive yourself for trying, and for failing.
Forgiving ourselves does not mean we are not sorry.
It means we’ve learned from our mistakes and have allowed the pain of them to change our heart and mind. Let’s feel regret or remorse, apologize if we can, and then let the knowledge we did wrong guide us to do what is right the next time.
If we forgive ourselves the evil inside will not win. It feels like it will, but it won’t. You will not become a bad person when you let yourself off the hook. I promise you that.
Not forgiving ourselves is not keeping anyone safe. It is keeping us feeling isolated and from loving each other as we constantly change, learn, and grow. Sure there are people like Narcissists who will never change but don’t forget Narcissism is a mental health issue, and everyone deserves compassion.
We all do bad things sometimes. Doing something bad doesn’t mean we are bad. Bad is something we did, it is not something we are. (Here’s a post on something bad I did that I had to forgive myself for)
I’m still making mistakes (probably some grammatical or spelling ones here), but hey, we’re human and we’re both doing the best we can, right? Let’s be proud of ourselves for trying, for recognizing our mistakes, and for letting them change us so we can do better next time.