Our imperfections as human beings are inevitable. None of us is without blame or fault. No matter how good a person is, they have fallen short at some point in their lives. They’ve made small and big mistakes….and they will continue to do so because they’re human. Learning to forgive yourself is a life skill that you need to cultivate because you will spend the rest of your life as you – a human being with weaknesses and limitations.
Before we can learn how to forgive ourselves, let’s get into what you should forgive yourself for:
- Forgive yourself for not knowing any better when you made that mistake
- Forgive yourself for failing to respect your needs and putting yourself last
- Forgive yourself for giving away your power so easily to others
- Forgive yourself for lying when you shouldn’t have
- Forgive yourself for being the person that life demanded of you when you were in survival mode
- Forgive yourself for getting into relationships that were not good for you
- Forgive yourself for all the opportunities you missed or didn’t take advantage of
- Forgive yourself for the things about yourself that you don’t like
- Forgive yourself for judging, shaming or hurting others
- Forgive yourself for your reckless youth
- Forgive yourself for not being a good son/daughter, spouse, parent, colleague, friend, sibling, neighbor, roommate, etc.
- Forgive yourself for harboring feelings of unworthiness
- Forgive yourself for not standing up for yourself when you needed to
- Forgive yourself for not forgiving yourself all this time
- There are so many things to forgive yourself for and you know them. That’s where you start. By identifying which areas of your life need your pardon. Make a list of everything you feel you’ve done wrong or not good enough. Acknowledge your part in those shortcomings, be honest about what happened, accept what you cannot change and release it all. This part isn’t easy because you’re coming to terms with uncomfortable choices and situations but it’s necessary for your healing.
- If you’ve hurt other people, ask them to forgive you. Admitting that you’ve been unkind or toxic towards someone else is tough but think about how harder it is for the person dealing with the pain you’ve caused. The fact that you’ve acknowledged your actions or words hurt someone may disturb you if you don’t reach out to them. It’s okay if you try and make amends and the other person doesn’t accept your apology – you did your part. Make it sincere and if you’re in a position to make it up to them – do it.
- Let the past rest – you don’t live there anymore. Stop replaying negative scenarios in your head or wishing that things could have turned out differently had you acted differently in the past. That past version of you did or said what they thought was appropriate or acceptable at the time. You now have the chance to create better versions of yourself that make better choices. You can’t travel back in time to change things but you can influence the present and the future. Be engaged with the present moment.
- Grow and learn from your mistakes. Every failure presents a learning opportunity. What wisdom did you gain from your experience? What actions do you need to take so that you don’t repeat the mistake? Which people do you need to keep close or let go of? What opportunities can you take advantage of? What is within your power to correct?
- Practice self-compassion. When you fail, suffer or feel inadequate – it’s easy to criticize, blame or punish yourself. Self-compassion is about replacing those negative feelings and thoughts with warmth and understanding towards yourself. This means that forgiving yourself is an everyday choice because you are imperfect and you will make mistakes or run into difficulties. It’s also about being gentle with the person you are becoming – you will always be a work in progress deserving of your grace and kindness.
Forgiving yourself is not a one-day event. It’s a process therefore don’t rush it. Forgiveness does not guarantee forgetting the past and that’s why you should always be compassionate with yourself. It is also not about minimizing or denying the pain you’ve been through – by all means acknowledge the pain and start the healing process. If this process is tough for you, we are here to guide you through it. Schedule your free consultation call today.