Forgiveness and Standing Up For Yourself

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Forgiveness and Standing Up For Yourself

Is it possible to stand up for yourself at the same time you forgive yourself? Some days this seems like an impossible task for me – the two behaviors often collide in the back of my mind as polar opposites. But I am compelled to find out how they must work together for progress and letting go of conflicts.

I’m finding that it takes equal parts of courage of compassion to look at my behavior objectively. Then, with a humble heart I can begin to own what is appropriate to own and forgive myself for my mistakes. For example, many years ago I had a falling out with my business partner and it took years to see what I could own in the downward spiral of our relationship because I felt so justified in my actions. It wasn’t until I was able to courageously take off the backpack of self-justification and own 100% of what I contributed – not 100% of the problem but 100% of my portion of it. Gratefully, years later this resulted in a reconciliation.


While easier said than done, self-forgiveness was the easy part compared to learning how to stand up for myself without contempt or judgment. It was important to find myself right for my actions – to understand what was important to me, what values were being honored or stepped on and what I needed most. Too often, this comes across as being defensive, and that is NOT what I’m suggesting. I’m talking about finding a real sense of self-worth and self-respect


Brené Brown has written extensively on “wholehearted living” and I believe this is the basis for finding coexistence between forgiveness and honest self-respect… for being wholehearted means allowing oneself to be vulnerable, raw and deeply aware. What a scary place to go at first… and how satisfying to see what it yields.


I’m finding that I’m able to move on with less in tow (fewer stories that keep replaying in my head, less weight of blame, etc.) when I find the sweet spot of forgiveness and self-respect. I’ve chosen to live wholeheartedly with deep compassion, great courage and a commitment to connection and this has made all the difference in my life. How do you find the right balance between forgiving yourself and standing up for yourself?