I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

I Deserve Compassion

I can now say the words, “I deserve compassion,” but it took me a long time to admit that. For years, I tried to be self-loving and self-forgiving, but a voice in the back of my head whispered, “You know all the wrong things you did. You’ve earned your pain.”

In one sense, of course, none of us merits anything good in life. (That sentence reveals my theological basis of everyone being a sinner.) What I failed to understand is that God loved me and forgave me. Once I truly accepted divine forgiveness, that led me to forgive others and feel compassionate toward others. Why couldn’t I love and befriend Cec the same way?

Although the process I went through is too complex to relate, for me, it came down to this. I didn’t warrant compassion until I saw myself as a beloved child of God. If that was true, I didn’t have to prove anything or do anything to make myself lovable.

I have three children and I love them very much. If I look at their lives, I can easily point to their flaws or take note of the ways they disappointed me. Instead, I knew I loved them and thereby I accept each of them as they are.

The hardest words I recall saying to myself were these: “I am loveable.” Although I said them aloud to myself daily, for almost a month I wanted to add, “because I . . .” and list my good deeds. Or I’d have to fight myself by adding, “But look at . . .”

I know I’m loved and worth loving.

I’m loveable;
I can show myself compassion.

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