Forgiveness Sucks :)

13 Sep

I like the title to this blog post. What do you think?  Normally when we read about Yom Kippur – and various articles, they are usually titled “What is Forgiveness?” or “How to Forgive” …. For me – I’ll stick with the simpler “Forgiveness Sucks,” and I’d like to share why.

Of course, the holiday of Yom Kippur goes hand in hand with Forgiveness. The words Yom Kippur – Kippur comes from the word “kaparah” – meaning atonement, so the entire day is really all about this one key phrase here – forgiveness. G-d forgiving us for our sins, we forgiving our friends, our friends forgiving us …and we all live happily ever after.

Well, easier said than done.

I have great difficulty when it comes to forgiving someone who has wronged me. Sure I know I’m not perfect and neither are the people around me, but at the same time I have hard time “letting things go.” Maybe I can blame my mom for this one. As a child I remember her telling me how she held grudges against her loved ones and the various reasons for doing so. (and trust me, she had GOOD reasons to hold those grudges!) but I would almost say she “glorified” these grudges as if they were vital to be kept. Kind of like the feud between the Montague’s and Capulet’s (in Romeo & Juliet). Their attitude conveyed the importance of believing in these feuds – not even remembering what the dispute was about in the first place! Maybe my mom was part Italian or something. In any case, I think somewhere in the depth of my soul I too believe that these grudges are important. For me, it’s crucial to remember how these people have wronged us – most likely to serve as protection from them in the future.

So to me, forgiveness sucks.

And with Yom Kippur right around the corner – I decided it was time for a little introspection on the subject. And that’s when I realized that there is a part of forgiveness that often gets overlooked amongst all the Yom Kippur stuff.

Forgiveness of the self.

We’re not blind to our imperfections – we know where our faults lie – and they can be downright depressing. Whether it’s our short comings in our religious activities, or we find ourselves frustrated with our character flaws … the list can be endless…The truth is that it’s difficult to stare ourselves in the mirror and come face to face with our faults – and when we do, it’s even harder to “let them go.” It takes courage to look at our character flaws, recognize them, and yet say to ourselves: “I forgive myself.”

“I forgive myself for being unkind…”

“I forgive myself for not being a good friend …”

“ I forgive myself for being selfish…”

“I forgive myself for not being a good parent….”

(I could go on and on right?)

Why is it so hard to give ourselves leeway and the room to make mistakes? We are human after all – but how often do we really allow ourselves to be human and to make these mistakes? Everyone agrees that slip-ups are crucial to our self growth. This is why I feel so strongly that when it comes to Yom Kippur – we need to forgive ourselves. Before we are able to forgive our brothers and sisters and friends, we need to be able to forgive and “let go” of our OWN shortcomings and flaws. We need to remember that as long as we try our best and work hard – then we can leave room for us to screw up every once in a while. Because we are only human.

Once we are able to look at our flaws, straight in the eye – really look at them – and still be able to say “I forgive myself” … and “I am only human” and “this year I will try better” – only when we let this grudge against ourselves go, can we let go the grudge against our friend. It’s like the saying “to err is human, to forgive divine”. If we are able to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings and let them go, then ultimately we will be able to forgive our friends – because after all – they too are only human with flaws and aren’t perfect.

And then suddenly – the grudges will disappear.


Posted by on September 13, 2010 in Emotional Health, Spiritual Health


8 responses to “Forgiveness Sucks :)

  1. Faye

    September 14, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Maybe the two are intricately intertwined – because we know how hard it is to accept and forgive our own flaws, because we see them in ourselves and know how awful it is to live with them, to struggle with managing them, and to battle the regrets and stabs that are accompanied with the actions they prompt in us…. perhaps this gives us a window into the actions of our friends and allows us to understand how they must feel when they slip, when they show their flaws, perhaps we can see the flaws and think: wow, I know I’d feel awful & regret if I was like that or did that, he/she must feel the same way… and then this connection, this understanding leads to empathy, and the empathy to forgiveness.
    Perhaps forgiveness is the recognition that those who have wronged us are human and fallible like we are, and we accept their imperfections either a) because we want them to accept ours or b) because it helps us understand that ours are human and okay as well.
    Just my thoughts… shana tova & g’mar tov!

  2. Shmully

    September 14, 2010 at 11:37 pm


    I agree with what you say, I just wish it was easy! I think that it is difficult to achieve admission of self, because people have difficulty admitting that they have flaws, and their severity. I wish there was a less critical lifestyle, where flaws would be seen as chances for improvement, and not reasons for being in a lower class…and I guess I will start from my POV, that flaws are not a negative but a chance to raise even higher. I mean, if we are where we are with the flaws, imagine how much higher we can go…and for free…with no further training!!

  3. mrsduby

    September 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    oooh i love it when people discuss my blog — its so much fun ! 🙂

    It seems that you both are agreeing – just from different points of view. The overall fact is that forgiveness is a 2 way street. Not in a “it takes two to tango” way – but Fay it IS intertwined….. if you are able to show compassion for yourself, then ultimately you can show compassion for others… and it works the other way around as well… the more we show compassion for others, the more that compassion will be shown towards ourselves as well.

    As for you shmullyyyyyy its extremely difficult to show our faults and flaws because we are afraid of the judgments / comments / opinions of our friends…. and so we tend to want to portray a more “perfect” character…. which technically doesnt allow for humility and error.

    AND SOOOO when we feel we need to hold up this “perfect” form then we will hold our friends to that same standard of perfection….. (which is all a huge facade anyway) ….

    ok i think i’ve rambled enough and i hope some of that made sense. (well it made sense in my brain) 🙂 🙂

    thanks for reading!

  4. chaya

    September 16, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    i agree duby its very very hard.. and its easier to keep a grudge. its funny you should say you have to forgive yourself.. i was sittting with my 5 yr old class and telling them about how hashem judges us and we have to make sure we havent done anythign bad and only do mitzvos and even if we did somethign bad we have to daven to hashem and ask our friends to forgive us.. and it got me thinking about how i hold grudges (and pretend i dont) and then i read your blog and im not the only one who finds it extremely hard to forgive poeple. hope it gets better for us both.. 🙂 have an easy fast!

    • mrsduby

      September 21, 2010 at 10:54 am

      Hey Chaya,
      Grudges can be fun !!!!!!!! It gives us girls what to talk about when we want to bash someone 🙂 🙂

      Im actually laughing a bit that you say you hold grudges because you Litvin people are so loving and forgiving with each other! a sibling or cousin pisses you off and its like no big deal… (or maybe thats just my insane husband? 🙂 …. well either way, thats the impression i always feel when im with you guys (so dont burst my bubble !!!)

      hehe …
      thanks for reading hon — ya know, you can subscribe to my blog (on the homepage theres a box to put your email address) so the posts come straight to your inbox and you dont miss any – becasue i dont post all of them on facebook)

  5. Marko -- Calm Growth

    September 28, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Hi Duby, interesting article, I like the title too 😉

    As for self-forgiveness, I agree with you, is fundamental to our growth and our quality of life… we have to accept our “imperfections”.

    As for forgiveness to others… My opinion is that there is little difference between forgiving and forgetting.

    As you said – “it’s crucial to REMEMBER how these people have wronged us – most likely to serve as protection from them in the future.”
    Forgiveness, for me, means to transfer awareness in this moment, and just do not care about the past. This does not mean that I will forget something that someone did to me. That means I’ll have inner peace in this moment.

    Take care…

    • mrsduby

      October 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm

      Hi Marko,
      thank you so much for your comment! Being in the moment is definitely ‘key’ to forgiveness because, like you said it keeps us in the present and to stop harping on the past. Obviously its not so easy !! 🙂 🙂

      thanks for reading!

      duby 🙂


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