Self-forgiveness: We are always learning


Versailles News

By Kathy Monnin

On my way to meet a friend for coffee I was listening to EWTN radio, a caller mentioned guilt she had carried for more than 40 years. As I listened to her story, I thought she was feeling shame and not guilt, but I am no analyst. Nonetheless her story gave me something to ponder in print.

The caller said more than 40 years her friend had an abortion. The boyfriend dropped the girl off for the procedure but someone else needed to pick her up, so the caller did so. Clearly the caller had no part in the decision making, she was just being a friend by providing her a ride home. I found it interesting to hear that this young couple later married and had three children.

This story illustrates how our decisions affect others. I found myself wondering how that couple dealt with the knowledge that they had aborted their first born, especially when the caller friend had such difficulty reconciling the episode. It caused me to give thought to all the secrets families and individuals keep to themselves throughout their life.

Alcoholic Anonymous states “you’re only as sick as your secrets.” But it’s not the secret that causes the sickness it is how you own your decisions and/or behavior. It’s doubtful that any of us made the same decisions in our teens as we would today. For that reason alone, we should forgive ourselves for our inexperienced decision-making skills.

Guilt is an essential aspect of human behavior, (consider Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden). In most cases, guilt describes owning up for a wrong committed. Often guilt causes an emotional conflict (an act of conscience) that a person has after realizing their wrong action. Guilt can take the form of anxiety, sadness, fear, achiness, fatigue, and various depression symptoms. Guilt can assume residence emotionally and physically within oneself because guilt always seeks punishment. Remember we learn from our experiences. Although some lessons are more difficult than others, we must be willing to forgive our shortcomings.

Shame is defined as an intense feeling about the self that comes from failing to live up to one’s own or others’ standards. The main difference from guilt is that shame makes you see yourself as a bad person while guilt implies you are a good person who did something bad. Guilt and shame can be harmful for the person, but remorse offers a way out. For one to be remorseful they must accept guilt first. Remorse allows you to see the situation clearly and take positive steps to correct it and prevent future violations. However, one can accept guilt without being remorseful.

Whether its termed shame or guilt, the cure is self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. Get over it. Whatever we think we have done or not done we must lovingly release ourselves from the past. Forgive yourself as many times as it takes, because its OK to be human and we are all imperfect. And that’s no April Fool’s joke. Remember nothing you confess could make God love you less.

“Guilt is to the spirit, what pain is to the body.” ~David A. Bednar

“Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.” ~Erma Bombeck

“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” ~Maya Angelou


Friday, April 1 (Fifth Friday of Lent):

-Fish Fry at Ansonia American Legion from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Dine in, Curb, or Carryout

-Fish Fry at Goat Farmers, Yorkshire from 5 to 7 p.m. Eat in or Carryout

-Fish Fry at Greenville K of C from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Dine in or Carryout.

Saturday, April 2, Paper Drive Fund Raiser for the Darke County Right to Life from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Osgood Park (just off State Route 705 on the west side of town). Or you may contact Justin May (937-423-1824) to make special arrangements to deliver your paper and cardboard to his residence located at 12292 Mangen Road, Versailles.

Sunday, April 3, All You Can Eat Spaghetti Dinner at Trinity Lutheran Church, Versailles from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. $8 dine in or carry out, includes salad, dessert, and beverage.

Friday, April 8 (Sixth Friday of Lent):

-Fish Fry at Ansonia American Legion from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Dine in, Curb, or Carryout

-Fish Fry at Greenville K of C from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Dine in or Carryout.

-Fish Fry at Osgood Legion from 5 to 7 p.m. Dine in or Carryout.

Saturday, April 9, Singles Dance with music by Hearts on Fire, at the Greenville VFW at 219 N. Ohio Street, from 8 to 11 p.m. Cover Charge is $7.

Happy birthday wishes to Ginger Magoto, Shirley Magoteaux, Tony Bey, Barb Bey, Heather Poor, Bonnie Frantz, Paige Collins, Cooper Luthman, Lisa Schemmel, Lisa Kenworthy, Tom Doseck, Todd Dammeyer, Tammy Bergman, Ted Robinson, Angie Kaiser, Louden Keihl, Orville Bohman, Wendy Magoto Groff, Joyce Johnson, Marc Saluk and any whom I missed as their birthday approaches, as well as, anniversary wishes to Michelle and Terry Feltz (6), and Connie and Luke Stachler (48).

Please extend your sympathy to the family and friends of Rob Beisner (45), Michael McConnell (64), Ruth Kremer (71), John Labig (75), John D. Kremer (97), and all those who have passed as well as those we hold within our hearts as the anniversary of their passing nears. Please give your prayers of comfort and healing for the sick, those who struggle, the suffering, the caregivers and those who mourn the loss of their loved ones.

As an act of kindness forgive yourself. You remain a student of life always learning throughout your mortal existence. Forgive yourself and others for no one is perfect. Show yourself and others grace for all are still learning and show yourself and others patience throughout life’s journey.

Kathy Monnin is a volunteer citizen columnist. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 423-0914. Feel free to contact her with Versailles news and tidbits. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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