Forgiveness isn’t earned

The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

Forgiveness is free. It’s a gift. And it’s one you can give yourself. Even after you’ve written a really crap first draft.

The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
The Magician’s Land

One of the first tasks of the writer, I have found, and not the easiest, is forgiveness: You must forgive yourself for writing crap first drafts. Perform whatever ritual of absolution you have to, pray to whatever cruel god or gods you have to, but do that for yourself. Only once you’ve forgiven yourself can you begin the serious work of writing, which isn’t writing at all. It’s revising.

Lev Grossman. Writing Advice From George R.R. Martin, Karen Lord, and Other Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors, Flavorwire.

‘Most clients have a hard time with forgiveness, because it sounds like a change in judgment or evaluation. It sounds like ‘I used to think you were wrong, but now I’ve changed my mind.’ Worse, it may appear to be equivalent to emotional avoidance: excusing, denying, or forgetting old angers and hurts. But the word forgive itself suggests a more positive way to approach this difficult topic: We can take it to mean ‘give that which came before’—literally, fore-giving. It means repairing what was lost. Gift comes from the Latin gratis, or free. In that sense, fore-giving is not earned: it is free. However, the gift of forgiveness is not a gift to someone else. Giving what went before is most particularly not a gift to the wrongdoer. It is a gift to oneself.’

Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, and Kelly G. Wilson. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change

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