How to Forgive Yourself-We’re all faced with the necessity to forgive ourselves from time to time. Perhaps you’re berating yourself for a blunder you made at work that lost the organisation a significant sum of money. Or perhaps you’re still awakened in the middle of the night by the remembrance of regretful actions you made as a youngster. Perhaps you’re remorseful over something you didn’t do—a wasted opportunity or a path you opted not to take.
Isn’t it getting heavy, whatever weight you’re carrying?
It’s like being the judge, jury, and defendant of your own life all at once if you refuse to forgive yourself. On a daily basis, we put ourselves on trial and write our own sentences of condemnation. Most of us have conversations with ourselves that we would never have with our children or neighbours. We, on the other hand, have no qualms about condemning ourselves. The good news is that you can choose to smash down the gavel, dismiss the court, and let yourself off the hook when it comes to self-forgiveness.
The bad news is that facing your problems, learning to forgive yourself, and forming a new identity is difficult. My wish for you is that today marks a turning point in your life, and that you refuse to allow your mistakes define you.
Let’s get on the same page about why self-forgiveness is vital before we go over the stages on how to forgive yourself.
What Is the Importance of Self-Forgiveness?(How to Forgive Yourself)
To live a complete, meaningful, and true life, self-forgiveness is required. Here are some justifications for self-forgiveness:
.You are, without a doubt, deserving of love. You are a human being who deserves honour and dignity, despite your flaws, shortcomings, and poor decisions. We’re all in the same boat when it comes to being dirty and making mistakes. You are greater than the most heinous act you’ve ever committed. Own it and allow yourself to be vulnerable.
.You can’t show others compassion if you don’t show compassion to yourself. Self-forgiveness is a sign of integrity since it permits you to treat yourself as you would others.
.Unforgiveness keeps you from living in the moment and expecting wonderful things to happen. You choose to let past decisions define your identity when you condemn yourself. You’ve decided to carry the burden of life on your back. You’re like the Jurassic Park bug that was discovered crystallised in amber: you’re frozen in time. That one blunder has encapsulated your entire personality. You must let go of your previous regrets and disappointments in order to live completely in the present and feel that you are deserving of wonderful things in the future.
Self-Forgiveness: What to Do If You Can’t Forgive Yourself
Self-forgiveness is a skill and a habit that everyone needs to master in order to genuinely connect with themselves and live an authentic life, whether it’s something you did 10 minutes ago or 10 years ago. Here are some techniques you can use to help you forgive yourself.
1.Understand the price of unforgiveness.
If you refuse to forgive yourself, you will jeopardise your identity as well as your ability to give and accept love. You will be weighed down by unforgiveness.
Allow me to illustrate this with a word picture. Consider that everyone of us is carrying a backpack full of metaphorical boulders and bricks representing previous traumas, past decisions, and current obstacles. Some of the boulders and bricks were placed there by others, while others were placed there by the systems and cultures in which we were reared. Unforgiveness is like a stack of bricks we carry about with us all day, every day. Did you scream at your child after a long day at work? That’s a brick, right there. Are you one of them?
With all of this extra weight on your shoulders, you’ll soon be scratching and clawing just to get through the day. You have the option of continuing to carry the bricks. However, as you take one tired step after another, you’ll find yourself sinking deeper and deeper into a black pit of bitterness. Bitterness, on the other hand, is a poison that limits your ability to offer and accept love. It’s pointless to linger in resentment; you’ll only harm yourself.
To summarise everything: Self-forgiveness is the process of taking out the bricks you’ve stacked in your own “backpack,” assessing them, learning from them, and then laying them down again. And refusing to forgive yourself has a steep price tag.
2.Make a list of your grievances.
If you want to forgive yourself, you must first understand the exact hurts you are carrying around—regrets, mistakes, and decisions. I want you to take out the bricks from your rucksack and make a list of the areas in your life where you need self-forgiveness.
1.Give the pain a name. Make a list of the behaviours and phrases that make you regret them. I’d like you to write these things down on paper, by hand.
2.Accept responsibility for the things you need to forgive.
3.Keep in mind that you may need to forgive yourself for a mistake you made. I should have gone back to school and I should have moved when I had the opportunity are signs that you’re clinging to regret.
4.Recognize that your pain can be caused by major life events as well as small, everyday decisions. Don’t overlook the minor details. Perhaps you refuse to forgive yourself for a pattern of conduct that has been holding you back for years.
5.Take a step back when you’ve completed your list. How does it feel to admit your mistakes? Are you afraid? Are you ready to go to work? Enlightened?
3.Make the decision to forgive yourself.
Once you’ve recognised your unforgiveness bricks, you must decide whether you want to carry them with you throughout your life or lay them down.
We have a lot more control over our ideas and behaviours than we think. You’re not going to wake up one day and feel like forgiving yourself if you’re locked in a tangled web of shame and bitterness. Have faith in me. Until you decide to forgive yourself, this thing will eat you up from the inside out.
It may seem clichéd, but when you’re ready to get started, say out loud, “I forgive myself for .” In your talks with others, use that terminology.
4.Take responsibility for the consequences and mourn them.
Self-forgiveness does not imply that you ignore the repercussions of your actions. Let’s imagine you embezzled funds, were detected, fired, and lost a promising professional path that you may never regain. That’s a bummer. Allow yourself to be sad and devastated by your loss. Instead of stressing over the “what ifs,” accept that you can’t change the past. Make no excuses or light of your actions. It’s just the way it is.
I want you to sit in it, not bathe in it, when it comes to grief. You must make the decision to move on at some point. And now is not the time to pass judgement on oneself. It’s a period of transition.
5.Make peace with those around you.
When you injure yourself, it’s very likely that you also hurt others. You’ll probably be prompted to forgive someone else or beg for forgiveness from someone you’ve wronged as you forgive yourself. This is terrifying, but it’s also beneficial. I’m a perpetual optimist. Restoration, hope, and healing are all things that I feel are always possible. You could change someone’s entire future and rebuild your relationship by deciding to be brave and take the first move.
Do not hesitate to call someone and ask for forgiveness. Alternatively, make monetary compensation. Alternatively, admit the harm you caused your team, family, or company. Not all cries for mercy result in hugs, forgiveness, or joyful outcomes. However, they do allow you to do so.
6.Take care of yourself as if you were a loved one.
I want you to have a lot of compassion for yourself as you analyse your bricks of unforgiveness. I want you to talk to yourself as if you were talking to someone you care about, even if you’ve done something terrible. Perhaps you have regrets over something you did as a child. Why should you hold yourself to an adult’s standard? You were only doing what you knew how to do when you messed up back then.
Kindness is important. Acceptance is key. Patience is required. Show yourself to be merciful and gracious. Try to comprehend your own motivations and viewpoints, but do so without passing judgement.
7.Be willing to learn from your mistakes.
Forgiveness isn’t a magic wand that can undo the harm you’ve caused to yourself or others. You must learn from your previous ideas, words, and actions if you want to break the cycle of pain.
Pick up your phone right now (or as soon as you finish reading this article) and make an appointment with a mental health professional if you’re feeling overwhelmed by unforgiveness and don’t know where to begin. Talking about past failures or habits you’d like to modify is a crucial step toward developing new ones for the future.
8.Make the conscious decision not to linger on your past mistakes.
Many of the times I’ve said things that have wounded other people are still fresh in my mind. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been rude and mean. My brain will still bring up some of those names and faces of individuals I’ve wounded, as well as some of the words I’ve uttered, when I’m exhausted, run down, anxious, or disheartened. I have to make a conscious decision not to dwell in self-pity. When the thoughts come to me, I literally declare out loud, “Nope!” (thankfully, my wife is used to it by now).
When these thoughts, memories, and feelings of shame emerge, be on the lookout. Choose to train your mind as you would any other muscle.
9.Say no to toxic shame.
I’d like to make a distinction between a few key nerdy psychology terms here. We feel guilty when we do anything that goes against our moral compass. Guilt is an unpleasant emotion, but it isn’t necessarily a negative one. It’s a sign that you’re in good emotional shape. For mistreating your spouse or spreading lies about a friend out of envy, you should feel guilty. If you don’t, you’ll have bigger difficulties to deal with.
We want forgiveness when we feel guilty because we know we’ve done something wrong. Take advantage of the opportunity to make peace with yourself by forgiving yourself when you feel you’ve broken your own conscience.
Shame, on the other hand, goes a step further. This is when you believe the wrong you’ve done is a part of who you are. Rather than saying to yourself, “I’m sorry for lying to my boss,” you tell yourself, “I’m a terrible employee and a liar.” When our wrong decisions become part of our identity, we feel shame. Shame whispers the lie, “I am a mistake,” but guilt helps us see, “I made a mistake.”
When you hurt someone, guilt is like lifting up a brick for a season. Shame is what happens when you stuff the brick into your rucksack and convince yourself that this is who you are for the rest of your life.
Yes, you made a mistake. Yes, it was incorrect. You, on the other hand, are not the worst thing you’ve ever done. Accept responsibility for your actions.
Change your thoughts, your actions, and your life will change.
Choosing self-forgiveness is a transformative act of courage. It won’t be easy, but you’re deserving of it. We’re all working on getting healthy and whole, and the greatest way to achieve so is in a group setting. We rely on one another.
One of the unforeseen side consequences of unforgiveness is that the longer we carry the bricks of our previous sins and failures, the more vulnerable we are to the devouring effects of anxiety. Own Your Previous, Change Your Future is a new book I wrote to help people deal with past trauma and what they can do to reclaim their lives. Get a copy of my new book today if you or someone you care about is struggling with trauma, overthinking, or loneliness.