4 Simple Steps On How To Forgive Yourself
1. Recognize that you are human
We need to understand that no human being is perfect – we all make mistakes and do things we regret. However, we do have the capacity to learn and grow from our mistakes. As long as we have that sincere desire, we can let the mistake go and forgive ourselves by focusing on doing better next time.
Remember that even Paul the Apostle wrote in the Bible about his own difficulty with his humanity: “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do,” he said in Romans 7:15 (NIV).
2. Empathize with yourself
You would most likely find it quite easy to forgive someone else for doing the same thing you have done, if he or she were truly sorry. So, put yourself in that person’s place. If you would forgive them, then you can understand that what you have done is forgivable, even by yourself. Also, recognizing that others would not hold against you what you would not hold against them, may make it easier for you to not hold it against yourself.
3. Work to improve, without expecting perfection
As we are able to recognize those areas of our behavior where we can make changes, we can work on improving in those areas so that we make fewer of these kinds of mistakes in the future. For example, if the thing we have a hard time forgiving ourselves for is always running late, we can start setting timers to help us remember to stay on schedule. We can also seek advice from friends who seem to fail less in this area and ask for their advice and support. While we may always struggle with certain behaviors, if we can see small changes and incremental improvement, we can forgive ourselves and keep moving forward toward our goals.
4. Practice positive self-talk
Many times we get angry at ourselves and will say things about ourselves that we would never say to others. Instead, we need to turn that talk around, saying instead things like, “so you messed up, but it’s OK, you can do better next time.” Again, it might help to imagine you are trying to encourage someone else who has just made a similar mistake. Whatever you would say to that person is something you can practice saying to yourself.