What does Forgiving Yourself Even Mean?
We all do things we are not proud of. Forgiving yourself and releasing the shame for the ways we have hurt or harmed others can be incredibly difficult. We all struggle with self-forgiveness. We tend to be harder on ourselves than we are on others and hang on to our guilt to punish ourselves for our flaws and mistakes.
We forgive for ourselves and our own well-being to lighten our emotional load.
Dwelling on our mistakes doesn’t do anyone any good (including the person we have harmed). It is important to remember that often our mistakes help support us make better choices in the future. We can learn important lessons from our mistakes and the consequences of our errors.
How to Forgive Yourself and Let Go of the Past:
1. Take Ownership:
When you take responsibility for your actions and the consequences you may discover it easier to accept your mistakes. Forget trying to justify – if you were wrong, then you were wrong. Consider owning your part in what went wrong. Accept that you let others down and that you let yourself down too.
2. Realise your Morals and Values:
As we grow and develop, we realise the person we want to be. Getting it wrong can assist us to better understand what we want to make a stand for in life. Usually, the reason you feel guilty about past actions is that these actions do not match your current morals and values.
Remember that the past is the past – we can’t undo it. We can, however, aim to accept what happened and view transgressions as a learning experience.
Think about how you would handle the situation differently if you could go back and do it again. This will reaffirm what you have learned from your mistakes.
5. You Made Choices Based On ‘How It Was For You’ At The Time:
It is likely you did the best you could at the time. The way we respond to situations often depends on our current skills, frame of mind and perceptions. Maybe you would do things differently now but at the time you reacted according to your circumstances.
6. Categorise Your Regrets:
Are there themes in your mistakes? Work on any patterns of behaviour that you observe.
7. Ensure Your Current Behaviour Aligns With Your Morals and Values:
Consider replacing behaviours and thoughts with ones that are in line with your values. Seek to learn from your past mistakes.
8. Let It Go:
At some point, you have to accept that you can’t change the past. If you’ve done everything in your power to make amends, maybe it’s time to accept that your mistakes are part of your story and have contributed to making you the person that you are.
9. Give Yourself A Break:
Cut yourself some slack and realise that we all make mistakes.
10. Love Yourself:
Think kind thoughts about yourself and show yourself compassion. Give yourself permission to engage in pleasant activities.
Forgiving yourself is an essential component to achieving contentment. Forgiveness helps you be at peace with yourself.
If you would like strategies for bringing more peace into your life call Wellbeing Therapy Space email us:
Author: Claire Mansveld of Hey Zeus! Creative and edited by Rebecca Dallard
Photo: by Bruce Hong of Unsplash