The ability to forgive others is an excellent testament to the quality of your character and shows that you are a good person and that you have compassion. It isn't easy seeing past your anger, resentment, disappointment, and at times retribution towards someone who has hurt or aggrieved you in any shape or form.
But what's important to understand is that no matter how emotionally balanced or mature you are to forgive the other party, forgiving yourself is an entirely different thing altogether. It is here that you may feel frustrated and hard on yourself, getting constant feelings of shame, anger, and regret. Making amends with a friend is easier in contrast!
We've all made mistakes and at times those mistakes lead us to feel guilt. But what's important is that we try to focus on seeing past those errors and learn from them so that we can take a sigh of relief and continue moving forward to forgiving our own person. And one of the best ways to let go of your past or present errors is to forgive yourself.
Self-forgiveness is an essential trait that can have a positive effect on your physiological and psychological well-being. The worst thing you can do when troubled by your feelings is to dwell on your past errors.
In light of this, we're going to talk about some excellent ways you can start the journey of forgiving your errors and understanding why it's so important. So here goes.
9 Ways You Can Forgive Yourself
Accept and Embrace Your Flurry of Emotions
An important stage in the process of self-forgiveness and forgoing negative feelings and guilt is to embrace your feelings. Before moving on in life, it is essential that you accept the emotions you are currently feeling and give yourself time to process them. You need to first acknowledge why you're feeling what you're feeling and finally be at peace with your feelings. Letting those emotions overcome you may be detrimental to your mental health.
Accept that You Have Indeed Made a Mistake
If you've made an error or have hurt someone else emotionally and are having a hard time forgetting about past mistakes, look at yourself in the mirror and vocalize why you've made that mistake and what you have learned from it rather than being overcome with difficult emotions and guilt. Dwelling on past mistakes will only slow you down and make you more guilty.
As soon you vocalize the train of thoughts that are pulling you down, you will begin to feel more light-hearted, which is where your journey of self-forgiveness will start. Moreover, you will start to acknowledge your mistakes and become warier about the consequences of those mistakes.
Understand that Every Mistake You Make is an Opportunity to Learn
Failing to achieve your goals or making errors should be taken as a learning experience. In many ways, your mistakes can teach you a lot about life and how to stand tall in the face of adversity. Self-forgiveness helps you let go and move forward more quickly because you now realize what you should and shouldn't do, which also helps raise your levels of empathy.
All of this can also be excellent for your mental health and your outlook on life itself, which in turn will help improve your self-esteem and stop the guilt trips. Understand that making mistakes is normal and all of us do it. The real challenge moving past those errors. And sure, while there will be consequences for your errors, you should always look at the situation with a positive outlook.
Compartmentalize Your Thoughts and Feelings
Another way of forgiving yourself is to compartmentalize your emotions by visualizing the errors you have made and putting them on the back burner. Overthinking is going to gradually pull you down, making it harder for you to complete tasks or take care of your responsibilities.
You need to be able to put the emotions about your failures or errors aside and try to think about the positives of your situation and lead a more meaningful life. So, realize your responsibility and move on.
Talk With Your Inner Monologue
This process is also referred to as journaling and can be a pretty effective way of understanding your inner self and leading to forgiveness, which is going to help open a path to self-forgiveness. It is more like taking a personal interview with yourself. In addition, talking with your inner voice can also be a good way of creating self-compassion.
Another way you can do that is to put your personal interview into writing, listen to your inner critic, and discover what types of negative emotions are pulling you down or inhibiting you from living your life to the fullest. Forgiving yourself is a good way of increasing your self-compassion. In addition, self-criticism can also lead to positive thoughts. So talk to your own person and don’t feel bad over past errors.
Always be Aware When You Start Getting Self-Critical
When it comes to having conversations with your inner person, it is also a good idea to notice and write down things, especially when your inner monologue starts becoming hypercritical. This is when you should pay attention to the emotions and thoughts that are leading you to become a harsh critic of yourself.
What's great about this is that at times, thinking harsh thoughts about yourself can also lead to constructive criticism and ultimately, forgiveness. And you can learn a lot about yourself that way, especially when it comes to self-compassion.
Focus on How You Wish to Correct Your Mistake
So, if your mistake led to hurting someone, you have to sit down and think about how you are going to make things right. For example, you can either go to this person and make a heartfelt apology. Or you could try to reconcile with them by making amends. If you're unsure about the best course of action, the best thing you could do is reconcile with them as it shows your concern and empathy towards them.
Making amends is different than simply asking for forgiveness. It is when you take steps to try and reverse the mistake you made. Making amends for your mistakes is also a great way to enhance your self-compassion and forgo your guilt.
Your first response to feeling guilty should be an evaluation of how you have learned from your errors and continue to improve yourself in the future. It is better than going to someone else for counseling.
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Heed Your Inner Advice
Sure, it can be much simpler to forgive someone and give friendly advice than to ask another person or colleague to act on their own advice. But when it comes to forgiving yourself, listening to what your inner monologue is telling you is often the best way to overcome a mistake and possibly look beyond it.
You can practice it with a friend by asking them how they felt when they made a serious mistake and why they aren't able to forgive themselves. Listen to them and think about what you would do in their stead. Then think about your mistakes and try to concentrate on ways, you believe, are important to move forward and built a better future for yourself.
Try Not to Think About Your Mistakes Over and Over Again
While it's human nature to play the past errors you made in your head on repeat, it is not a healthy way to forgive yourself. Overthinking and constantly stressing about your past errors is wrong and can drain your levels of focus, your ability to maintain healthy relationships, and a slew of other problems.
At some point, you will need to filter out these thoughts to reach true self-forgiveness and start your healing process and lower your guilt at first impulse.
For example, if you get trapped by constantly thinking about harsh thoughts such as "I am a complete failure", try to break your train of thought by preoccupying yourself with anything. For instance, just take a deep breath, get up and go for a nice walk or reconnect with an old friend.
Do anything to reduce the emotional pressure of your errors and instead find ways to interrupt yourself and steer your mind away from negativity and ultimately, forgive yourself. Don’t let emotions dictate your future. Tell yourself that it is the wrong way of thinking and move forward!
Health Benefits of Forgiving Yourself
It Good for Your Psychological Health
Freeing yourself from harsh feelings and moving on with your life by forgiving yourself can be an excellent way to optimize your overall feelings of contentment and happiness. In addition, the act of forgiving yourself can also help you gradually enhance your self-image and other feelings.
Some experts also say that self-forgiveness and taking responsibility can also help lower an individual's stress levels and guilt, and may even possibly minimize the symptoms associated with depression. Imagine that.
Understand that there is no reason to feel guilty over the errors you have made, after you achieve genuine self-forgiveness, the way forward is learning from those errors and achieving a sense of contentment.
Boosts Your Physiological Well Being
Self-forgiveness can also be a wonderful way to enhance your physical health. According to one study, it was identified that the act of self-forgiveness can help lower bad cholesterol, dull body aches and pain, and can also improve cardiovascular health. So accept responsibility for your actions and let go of any regrets. Understand your feelings and let go of your past errors and guilt.
Challenges of Forgiving Yourself
So, what are some factors that make it a powerful challenge for individuals to forgive themselves and experience guilt? What are some of the reasons why despite everything, some people tend to constantly stress over their mistakes?
Problems arise when you're doing things that don't resonate with your own values or your belief system, which is what inadvertently leads to constant feelings of shame, guilt, and self-loathing.
In addition, some individuals are predisposed to negative emotions and keep thinking about things over and over again. As a consequence, they are easily overcome by feelings of guilt. This doesn’t mean they are a bad person. But this further exacerbates the problem, leading the person to dwell on their own harsh and negative thoughts and feelings.
And giving yourself a break requires that you challenge these thought patterns, lighting the way ahead by admitting to your errors, learning from them, and realizing that you may need to make some changes. All of this makes having a sense of self-forgiveness more difficult. Finally, individuals who don't accept their mistakes and realize that they need to change themselves may experience even more difficulty letting go.
All in all, forgiveness is paramount to both your inner and outer healing because it enables you to look past your anger, regret, guilt, and shame. It allows you to become more accepting of yourself and strengthen your relationships, enabling you to learn from your errors and become a better person.