Apologizing to someone when you make a mistake is tough. I’d argue that it’s even tougher to forgive yourself. Why are we so hard on ourselves when we mess up? Oftentimes, we harbor guilt for our mistakes for much longer than we should. Today I want to share with you some tips for forgiving yourself when you make a mistake. I hope that these tips will allow you to learn from your errors and move on quickly the next time something doesn’t quite go as planned.
You deserve the same grace that you extend to others. The sooner you accept the fact that you’re human and you are going to mess up from time to time, the easier it will be for you to forgive yourself.
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How to forgive yourself
Prevention.com acknowledges that forgiving yourself is easier said than done. While it may not be easy, it is possible. Here are some steps that will help you learn to move past your mistakes:
1. Understand that the past is in the past.
In order to be able to forgive yourself and move forward, you must first accept that the past is in the past. While this may seem like common sense, we sometimes forget this when we’re in the midst of reflecting on our mistakes. It’s important to acknowledge that there is nothing you can do to rewind time or take back what you’ve done. Accepting this fact allows us to free ourselves and move forward.
This book by Dr. Hamilton Beazley provides step-by-step guidance for leaving the past in the past.
2. Spend time considering your values and opinions.
Is there a reason why you are feeling so terrible about what happened? Did you act out of alignment with your morals and values? By taking time to acknowledge why the action or mistake has made you feel so uncomfortable, you can better align yourself for your future. Reflecting on your life’s most important values reminds you to act with those values in mind going forward.
3. Apologize for your actions.
If anyone else was involved or affected by your mistake, and it’s weighing heavily on your conscience, a sincere apology can go a long way in improving the situation. If you have hurt or upset someone, understand they may not accept your apology, but you will have tried. However, don’t apologize until you sincerely mean it and don’t do it just for your own peace of mind.
4. Put your feelings in writing.
One way to let go of the past is to journal. Writing can be very therapeutic, and it can also help you get your feelings sorted out. You could write a letter apologizing for your mistakes or you could simply let out your feelings about the situation that’s plaguing you. Getting your feelings out into the open can lessen the burden in your mind.
5. Accept that everyone is human.
Everyone makes mistakes in life, regardless of who they are. How many times have other people wronged you in your life? Accepting that mistakes are part of human life should help you to treat yourself with kindness after you’ve messed up. Sometimes the only way to learn and grow in life is to make errors. Mistakes can be one of our biggest teachers.
6. Know when it’s time to move on.
After taking the time to reflect on your mistakes, there comes a point when enough is enough. You need to recognize when it’s time to stop dwelling on the past and move forward with your life. After a certain amount of reflection, nothing positive will come from mulling over the past, so know when it’s time to accept things as they are and move on.
The next time you encounter a problematic situation in your life, remember these tips. Forgiving yourself takes a lot of patience, kindness, and practice. Remember, we’re all human, and no one is perfect. Mistakes can lead to life’s most significant growths, so continue to reflect and learn from every situation you encounter!
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