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How to forgive yourself-10 important steps

Hello beautiful soul!

Sometimes life leads us into situations where we cannot see or act clearly or we simply get it wrong and make mistakes.

Making mistakes is part of human nature. In fact, making mistakes is a fundamental part of the emotional learning process. There is nobody that does not make mistakes.

For some of us, those mistakes feel like a prison sentence in which we cannot forgive ourselves.

I believe that until we are able to forgive ourselves fully, we will not be able to find pure joy in life, we won't be able to appreciate the positives that happen in our life, we won't be able to focus on improving ourselves, that's because when we feel guilty or ashamed, our mind will tend to focus on those mistakes we made and how those same mistakes have impacted on others.

Not being able to forgive ourselves would be like living next to a person who 24 hours a day says to us "you were wrong", which after a while is likely to translate into "you are wrong" "you are not good enough".

Forgiving yourself requires even more effort and, above all, more time than forgiving another person.

One of the most important turning points in the process of forgiving yourself is to develop empathy and self-compassion, understanding that you are human, therefore you make mistakes.

What said that we are not allowed to make mistakes?

To forgive means to have the need to embrace and hold that person (YOU). So, forgive and embrace yourself. Hug yourself tightly, with humility, with infinite love. Embrace that fragile part of yourself, the choices you made, the mistakes you made.  

Here are some tips on how to forgive yourself

1 - Understanding that you have made a mistake is already a big step.

Not everyone is able to be self-critical and aware of their mistakes. It is important to be able to say to yourself "I someone", "I was rude to...", "I hurt...", "I made a mistake", and I am responsible for it.

2 - Accept that you are not perfect.

So many people live in the cage of perfectionism or in the illusion that they can always control the situation, themselves and their reactions.

But we all make mistakes, every human being does!

Some make small mistakes, some make big mistakes, but those who make mistakes do so for one simple reason: we are all imperfect creatures and we all deserve forgiveness.

It's easy to think that we do not have the right to make mistakes, as if we do not accept that we are fallible like any other human being...

3. Take responsibility.

It is very important to keep in mind that actions have consequences. Taking responsibility for your actions implies a sincere effort to understand and accept the mistakes you have made. 

4 - Explore the pain that your actions have caused in others.

This is a very important step, because when you are unable to forgive yourself, another dynamic may be triggered: you feel sorry for yourself, and being sorry for what you have done may almost be more intense than the awareness that you have hurt another person.

Also, not being able to forgive yourself can almost come from a form of self-attachment, whereby you remain more attached to your guilt than feeling sorry for the pain that you have caused others.

This is why it is important to become aware of the pain our actions have caused around us. 

5 - Try to see the full picture clearly.

We often fail to forgive ourselves because we cannot see the full picture of the situation.

It is not a question of blaming someone else, but of recognising that in some situations the responsibility is not all mine, just as in other situations it is not all other people's; this is not aimed at eliminating the sense of personal responsibility, but we can calmly realise that sometimes the fault is not ours alone.

6 - Ask yourself why you might have done what you did.

When someone else makes a mistake, you can only imagine the deep reason why they did it. When it is your fault. you would know why. 

Here are some questions that can help you in this journey of self-awareness:

What need(s) was I trying to satisfy when that thing happened?

What pains/emotions/triggers were coming up for me that I thought doing the thing would help me overcome?

Are there beliefs that my parents, my family, or my environment instilled in me, which may have been the reason why I made the choice I regret?

It is important to ask yourself these questions, not to justify what you did and to say that you are innocent, but to try to understand the deep motivations that led you to do what you did: reality is often much more complex than it seems.

Moreover, by becoming aware of these reasonings, it will be easier for you in the future to find more constructive ways to satisfy the same needs, to face the same difficulties or to go beyond certain limiting beliefs that come from the past.

7 - Express verbally your self-forgiveness and empathy towards yourself.

After accepting the fact that you are not perfect, as no one is, and trying to understand more deeply why you did what you did, you may be ready to forgive yourself by expressing self-empathy and self-compassion.

Ultimately, the process of coming to self-forgiveness is no different from the process of forgiving others: it is a slow and gradual process of being able to express empathy for yourself, and the self-compassion you need to move forward.

I believe it is important to get to express this act of empathy towards yourself verbally.

You could say something like this:

I have made mistakes, but today I choose to forgive myself and allow myself to move on. However painful it may be, I can never change the past. What I can do is take charge of my life and try to be and do better.

8 - Ask yourself what you have learned from your mistakes.

Forgiving yourself means letting go of the past in order to give yourself the chance to start again: asking yourself what you have learnt is a fundamental step to make sure that the mistakes you have made can help you to arrive at a fuller, more conscious and better life.

You can ask yourself these three questions:

What lessons have I learned?
What can I do to avoid repeating the same mistake?
How can I sustain myself on the new road I have decided to take?

9 - If possible, apologise.

After communicating your forgiveness to yourself, you can apologise to the person you have hurt, having previously become aware of the pain you have caused them.

When it is possible to do so, apologising is important in order to make the other person understand that we have understood our mistakes, and above all that we have understood the pain we have brought into the other person's life.

Just be aware that apologising to somebody doesn't necessarily lead you to be forgiven by them, they may not want to or be ready to forgive you, and you have to be prepared for that to happen.

Apologising (when possible) is still very important for your own emotional wellbeing.

10 - Commit to bringing love into the lives of others.

If your apology is accepted, you can try in some way to make up for your mistake by making the other person's life brighter.

If this is not possible, make a commitment that you can implement to make someone else's life better, thus showing yourself that you have managed to learn something from your mistake.

After realising you have made a mistake, self-punishment is of no use to anyone or anything; by consciously going through your mistakes and letting them go, you can become a better person and make the world you live in a better place.

These simple rules can be of great help to you and serve as a guide to help you cope with guilt and unforgiveness. 

Have you ever tried Ho’oponopono for forgiveness?

In this other blog, I share how to practice forgiveness by following this simple yet powerful mantra. Ho'oponopono is an amazing practice which I started to use years ago for myself and my professional life.

Tell me about you, do you have something you need to forgive yourself for?

Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Love, Carlotta


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