Day Nine - Will you forgive yourself?
Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes the main person you must forgive when mistakes are made is yourself. You may do something horrible to someone else, you may have caused a project at work to fail, or any number of things that require forgiveness. The thing is, sometimes other people’s forgiveness is easier to come by than your own.
Look at these four ways to forgive yourself and take them to heart, because everyone needs forgiveness from the main person in their lives: themselves.
1. Rate What You Did
Give your failure a scale from one to ten before you forgive yourself. It’s important to put your offense on a scale of some sort so you can look at it clearly. For example, did you hurt someone else or was it more self-destructive? Obviously, when you hurt others there is a whole other emotion at play over when you hurt yourself, but both are important.
Look at what you’ve done and rate how it will affect the future. Are there ways you can mitigate the damage that you’ve caused? For example, can you repay yourself or the person you harmed monetarily? Can you say you’re sorry and have it mean something? Remember that forgiveness is a process that you need to go through to truly experience it fully. It may take some time.
2. Accept Your Feelings
You’re likely not alone in your feelings about whatever it is that you’ve done. It can help to share the feelings you have with someone. Perhaps a professional or a trusted friend can help you put what you did into perspective.
The important thing is to realize that you’re not alone in your feelings, or even probably the thing you did that you need forgiveness for. Someone else can relate to what you’re feeling. If you can find those people, you can learn to accept your feelings and move past them.
3. Know What You Want but Accept If It’s Unrealistic
Even if you hurt someone else and may have no control over how things end due to that, it’s important to know what you want. For example, if you cheated on your spouse and caused them a lot of pain and it made you realize how much you love them, and you want them back, it may still not help you get them back. But, it’s important to know what you want so you can tell them, and they know it’s an option if they’re willing. Having said that, be ready to accept the outcome and let them know that you will. This is a true sign of acceptance and moving on.
4. Let It Go
It’s normal to play what you did over and over in your head to a point. But, if you really want to forgive yourself, it’s imperative that you let it go eventually. No matter what you’ve done, you don’t need to think about it forever and keep punishing yourself forever - especially if you’ve learned from the mistake and aren’t going to do it over again.
Tell yourself you’re sorry, and tell anyone you harmed that you’re sorry. Each time mean it. Analyze what you did and learn from it. Develop concrete steps to prevent the same thing from happening again and then move on from it. Start focusing on the positives that you have learned so that you can truly forgive yourself and move past it.
Choose any time in the recent past where you made a mistake. Tell yourself you’re sorry, and tell anyone you harmed that you’re sorry. Analyze what you did and learn from it. Develop concrete steps to prevent the same thing from happening again and then move on from it. Start focusing on the positives that you have learned so that you can truly forgive yourself and move past it.
There are times when self-doubt and situations reach a point where you may need professional help. We'll talk about that next time.