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All about self-forgiveness

One of the hardest things for many people is to forgive themselves.

How to forgive yourself cover with colourful circles

Why is that? After all we are all humans and we all make mistakes. Being able to forgive yourself requires empathy, compassion, kindness, and understanding. That can be a tall order.....yet holding on to negative thoughts and feelings such as anger and resentment increases stress levels and has a big impact on the quality of your life.

Here are some things to think about and maybe work towards.

First thing is to acknowledge what has happened. Remember the event and if you can, go and share it with a trusted person. Someone you feel safe with. Someone who doesn't just judge, but is able to look at the full picture and understand the what, why, and how.

You might feel guilt and shame. That's normal. Guilt is actually good because it can prevent you from repeating the mistake. Shame is never useful. Some people struggle with self-forgiveness when they also have empathy with the other party involved. It's really important to have empathy with the offended party, but also have self-compassion. You are not a bad person, so try and stop that inner chatterbox.

Another really important factor is to take full responsibility for what happened. Yes, that can be tough, but without this there is no self-forgiveness or remorse for what you did. 

If you choose to talk to the person you wronged, that's great. But remember to try make amends, if at all possible. That shows that you know you messed up and that can make forgiving yourself easier.

If you're struggling to forgive yourself, you may want to talk to a professional. Hanging on to these unhealthy patterns in the long run can become a strain and impact your quality of life. Learning new and healthier ways of coping with mistakes you've made will be a game changer.  

Forgiveness, in general, is important for the healing process, as it allows you to let go of any anger, shame or any sadness you maybe feeling. You'll be able to move on quicker, learn from your mistakes and do better next time. 

Tara Brach says that the inability to forgive ourselves blocks healing and freedom.