There have been a lot of arguments made in favour of forgiveness but no one is discussing the merits of forgiving one’s self.
I would not assume to speak for all humanity however I can speak for myself and my most ruthless critic is me. When I examine my fear of failure, I find myself centre stage. Others will forget my tumbles but I never do.
How absurd to be middle aged and discover the person you are most afraid of is you.
Forgiving myself started with the decision to do so. My heart wasn’t in it at first, yet there is no point in parting the curtain into self examination, until you have made this decision. You will delude yourself if you don’t. Children don’t climb on the knee of an armed parent to ask for forgiveness, they go where there is tenderness and mercy.
Trying to forgive others before you have decided to forgive yourself is like “putting the cart before the horse.” This is a time worn analogy so allow me to update it. Its like packing up the travel trailer and deciding to push it instead of pulling it. This has the advantage of security since you will be able to see your trailer at all times but it will be a long trip and you probably won’t get much time at the lake.
If you think you can be harsh and unforgiving with yourself and still be kind to others, you are half right. You can pull it off with friends and acquaintances but it seeps out with family. They are most likely to remind you of yourself. They will not just see your unforgiving heart, they will feel it as well.
That corny old poem The Desiderata says it best
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself”