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Meyla Hooker

Educator, KIPP Houston High School

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Is there a framework for forgiving yourself?

I have met many people lately that often find it impossible to forgive themselves (for situations big and small). I once thought this was easy for me. When I delved deeper, however, it became apparent that I have the same issue. Would love your thoughts on this topic.

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  • Nov 6 2011: Wow. Forgiveness, the very idea validates morality as truth. Religeous frameworks for forgiveness reserve this ability to diety only, but say that we should forgive the wrongs of each other or not receive divine forgiveness. Forgiveness for yourself must be sought from the divine....and on and on. This is a framework for forgiveness, but not for self forgiveness. That framework requires true repentance and faith in that system. I've seen this work for many people including myself. But does not answer how to forgive yourself, especially if you are moral but athiestic.
    The good news is that you or me realize that we even need forgiveness. If you don't have a conscience, self forgiveness is moot. Forgiveness is letting go, releasing from prison and more than that never bringing the past wrong up as a weapon to reimprison or enslave. It's not forgetting, it's remembering to never again wrong. It's truly the mark of love and maturity. Holding on to unforgiveness to others and yourself is like holding a hot coal in cupped hands, it will scar if you hold on long. It's difficult to let go because the cupped hands are in your mind. You can't forget. So what do you do? Find the person you are closest to in the world that you trust with your life and tell them. This is typically a cathartic process full of painful regret and remorse. Saying these things aloud and hearing yourself say it is important even more than writing it down, but writing is good too. The friend will be there not to say what you did was not that bad, but simply to comfort and love you, because you can't do this for yourself, yet. if you have no one or trust no one then confess these things aloud alone. Record yourself if you can. Apologize and forgive yourself aloud. Repeat if you must. Listen or watch your recorded confession. By all means if this involves a living person you've wronged then apologize and try to make amends to them. if they won't speak to you write them. Time does the rest.

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