This Is Why It Is Important To Learn How To Forgive Yourself

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We are often harder on ourselves that we would be on other people, holding ourselves to a higher standard, and becoming angry when we don’t meet expectations. Whether it’s running late, failing to complete a task, or thoughtlessly speaking and hurting someone’s feelings, we’ll berate ourselves endlessly even when the friend we offended, for example, has already forgiven us.

We’ll engage in negative self-talk, feeling as if we need to be punished, calling ourselves “stupid,” or a “failure.” We’ll rehearse the mistake in our minds, keeping us from sleeping or being truly present and engaged with those around us.

Clearly, these actions can have a long-term detrimental impact on our lives, leading to depression or suicidal thoughts, among other effects. Sleep loss can lead to illness or physical danger due to falling asleep while driving or other hazards, and our relationships will suffer because of our lack of engagement.

This is why it is imperative that we learn to forgive ourselves. According to psychotherapist Ashley Eder, LPC, the key to this is compassion. We must learn to have as much kindness for ourselves as we would show to others.

If you have a hard time exercising this kind of compassion for yourself, imagine if someone else had done what you are angry at yourself for. Would you forgive this in another person if he or she was truly sorry? Most likely, you would. Thinking about it from that perspective should make it easier for you then to apply that forgiveness to yourself. 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.

This kind of self-love is also biblical. Jesus commanded us in Scripture to love others as much as we love ourselves.  And if there is nothing we think we can find that is “lovable” about ourselves, we are also encouraged by God’s Word to recognize our value and worth as a being created and loved by God. If we are worthy of His love, how can we not be worthy of our own?