Forgiveness

Today encouragement to forgive yourself.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Mahatma Gandhi

Survivors of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) are often encouraged to forgive the perpatrators of their abuse, neglect and traumas endured, often with a promise that when we forgive those who harmed us, we will be set free. My experience of forgiveness, however, is that it is a personal journey. I recognize that each survivor determines if, when, how the act of forgiveness becomes part of her or his story.

There is a fundamental act of forgiveness that I discovered to be essential to my recovery and that is forgiveness of myself. Children take in the guilt and shame of the ACE or CSA with serious consequences to their mental and physical health. Forgiving ourselves for being children, being unable to make sense of what was happening to us, being too afraid to tell, and being ill-equipped to escape the hooks of abuse requires that we acknowledge and accept how powerless we were. Abusers of children, and indeed others in a child’s life, often blame the child for the abuse. Although victim blaming is not unusual, it is particularly harmful when the victim is a child.

I believe you have the strength to forgive yourself.

  • What words of forgiveness will you say to the child you were?
  • How will you use the strength of self-forgiveness to open new possibilities?

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