Isn’t self forgiveness just a trick we play on ourselves to reduce guilt so we can keep doing silly things? Forgiveness is for others, isn’t it?

As there is false forgiveness when we are forgiving other people, there is false forgiveness when we forgive the self. ??False forgiveness toward others is insincere and meant to manipulate rather than to uplift in goodness. ??For example, a false form of forgiveness might be to continually remind someone that he or she has been forgiven as a way to dominate. ??False self-forgiveness also is a form of manipulation in which we let ourselves off the hook so that we can continue with the unfair behavior.

Genuine self-forgiveness is the expression of the moral virtue of mercy toward the self. ??We express moral virtues all the time toward the self: we are fair to ourselves (justice), we care for our physical needs (love), and we sometimes have to wait under certain circumstances (patience).

We have to be careful when we self-forgive also to bring justice into the situation. ??If we have mercy on ourselves because of an injustice that we ourselves created, then we must correct the injustice. ??This might include going to others and apologizing and making the situation right.

Based on the above analysis, genuine self-forgiveness is hard and sincere work, not a trick we play on ourselves.

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