How To Forgive Yourself
Forgiveness is a crucial part of everyone’s life. It’s the act of letting go of any feelings, resentment or anger. When you don’t allow yourself to move on from your past mistakes you hold your mind hostage. It starts to wreak havoc on your everyday life, making it hard to do simple things like smile without shame and laugh without guilt. But we know forgiving yourself isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s harder than forgiving other people that have wronged you or caused you harm. That’s because letting yourself off the hook requires a lot of reflection and self-love. If you add self-deception into the picture – such as holding yourself to unrealistic standards or believing untrue things about yourself – this process can feel seemingly impossible.
It’s easy to see how overtime accumulating feelings of guilt and shame towards yourself can lead to serious issues regarding your mental health and wellbeing. If you’ve been suffering from guilt or shame for quite awhile now and or your everyday life has been affected, we encourage you to see a medical professional. However, it’s good to keep in mind that everyone gets things wrong in life and you can always learn from your mistakes. But like we already mentioned, we know it is not easy! This post is dedicated to helping you forgive yourself. We are sharing our favorite strategies for letting go of guilt and anger and starting fresh with a healthier mindset. Keep reading to learn all about them!
How To Forgive Yourself
Focus on what you can learn from your mistakes
Everything in life is a learning experience. This includes the things you feel guilty about and every one of your past mistakes. Understand where you went wrong and analyze how you can change the pattern for the better. Monitor what steps you can take to prevent a similar error in the future so you can improve yourself. There’s no use in dwelling on the past for too long, but you will benefit from learning how to avoid making the same mistake twice! Here’s an insightful episode of The Art of Being Well in which Dr. Cole shares tips on how to recognize toxic patterns and heal your past.
Acknowledge where you went wrong
Self-awareness is just as important as self-forgiveness. You will feel bad until you recognize that you’ve made a mistake and there’s no going back. The only viable course of action is to move forward. To achieve this, you should assess the situation and pinpoint what you did wrong. Once you do, you will be able to rationalize the situation and move on. Even though it can be hard to trust yourself not to deny your responsibility or take your share of the blame, it’s key to self-assess. If you want to know more about how to trust yourself, listen to this episode of the Papaya Podcast: The One About Divorce & Trusting Your Heart Again with Nicole Breanne.
Allow yourself to feel remorse
Every time we do something wrong, it’s natural to feel guilty about it. This is a sign that you understand your past actions clash with your core values and usual actions. It’s okay to feel remorse as it shows maturity and a desire to do better. These feelings can actually lead to a positive behavior change! Though it’s important not to mistake remorse with shame since shame is a negative emotion that usually leads nowhere but self-hatred. Shame can cause mental health issues and lower your self-esteem, impacting your overall well being. So always remember that it’s normal to feel guilty, but not perpetually ashamed of yourself for a past mistake!
Apologize to those you’ve hurt and then let it go
It’s easier to forgive yourself when others have already pardoned you for your actions. So the right thing to do – both for those you’ve wronged and your own mental health – is to own up to your mistakes and apologize. Seek forgiveness from the ones affected by your wrongdoings first. Then, wait for them to forgive you. Afterward, you will probably feel a lot better about the situation. Forgive yourself and avoid dwelling on the past! If you feel like you still can’t heal, consider different methods such as therapy or hypnosis. You can learn more about alternative ways to heal yourself on this episode of The Heal Podcast: Breaking Through Trauma: Psychedelic Therapy, Hypnosis, Ketamine & More with Dr. Mike Dow.
Own up to the consequences of your actions
Acknowledging you made a mistake is one of the first steps. Owing up to the unwanted consequences needs to follow! You have to make an effort to repair the damage or at least plan how you can prevent the situation from repeating in the future. It will not be easy, but it will help you grow and learn from your mistakes. What damage have you caused? What can you do differently moving forward? Ask yourself the tough questions and increase your self-awareness.
Treat yourself to your own advice
Look, if you’re that one friend who always gives the best advice, chances are you’re not following through when it comes to your own mistakes. If your friend does something wrong and you instantly help them forgive themselves, telling them everyone can make a mistake and that every misstep is a learning opportunity, take your own advice seriously! Forgiveness is an act of kindness and self-compassion is key for your mental wellbeing. Here’s a raw and honest episode of The Blonde Files on self-compassion that can help you with this step towards forgiving yourself. Remember it’s all about treating yourself as you would treat those you love!
Shush the inner critic
We all have that annoying voice in our head telling us we’re just not good enough. That nothing we do to repair a mistake or learn from it will ever be sufficient to counteract the damage. Take deep breaths and shush that voice! Nothing good will come out of beating yourself up like there’s no tomorrow. So keep your inner critic in check and analyze what you’re feeling. Yes, maybe you should’ve done better. But at some point, you have to stop replaying the situation in your head and accept you did your best given the circumstances. Forgive yourself while admitting you can always do better!
Realize you have to move on with your life
Forgiving yourself is easier said than done. Still, the time will come where your mental health will deteriorate if you hold on to feelings of guilt and shame for too long. Forgiveness is important to be able to live life at its fullest potential. Otherwise, you will always feel bad about every little thing you’ve done in the past. And that’s no way to achieve happiness or be at peace with yourself! Realizing you have to move on and let go of the situation will lift the weight of the world off your shoulders. It will help you regain control of your life and improve your future behaviors as well as your relationship with yourself. If you are in need of an honest piece of advice on regaining control of your life, then head over to this emotional episode of With Whit.
How are you forgiving yourself for your past mistakes?
We hope this advice inspires you to take action and strive for forgiveness. Forgiving yourself is necessary to be able to move forward and live a fulfilling life. No matter how big or small the mistake, you deserve to let go of the guilt and shame. These tips will help you process your emotions and forgive yourself. As always, remember that if you need extra help, you should seek medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For now, try these strategies and be kind to yourself today!