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Learning to forgive yourself

We all go through periods when we have trouble forgiving ourselves. Whether we’re beating ourselves up for not performing well at work, for saying something we shouldn’t have to a friend or for any number of other actions we aren’t particularly proud of, we tend to be far harder on ourselves than we may be on others. Sometimes the best thing you can do for both your well-being and the good of the situation is simply to forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself

Accept what you’re feeling

Rather than trying to ignore your emotions or beating yourself up for what you are experiencing, allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling. You might be feeling frustrated with yourself, angry at someone else, guilty for what happened or any number of emotions. There are no right or wrong feelings; it is what you do about those feelings that counts. Acknowledge what you are going through so you can move forward.

Ask yourself why those feelings are there

Once you have identified the emotions you are experiencing, you can begin to sort through why those feelings are present. Are the standards you have set for yourself unnaturally high? Are you beating yourself up over something that was out of your control? Are you simply unwilling to let go of the negative feelings you have placed on yourself? When you take a moment to step back and look at the situation objectively, you will likely find you are giving yourself far more grief than you deserve.

Quit punishing yourself

As humans, we believe in the justice system and in people being punished when they do something bad. Sometimes we can turn that belief system on ourselves. We wind up punishing ourselves severely for unneccessary periods of time. It’s important to recognize that by letting yourself off the hook, you aren’t condoning what happened; you are simply accepting that you may have done something wrong but that nothing will be gained by continuing to stew about it.

Focus on what you’ve learned

If you get stuck dwelling on what you did wrong, you’ll never move forward and grow as a person. If, instead, you ask yourself what you have learned from the event, you can put in force a plan to ensure you don’t let something similar happen in the future. It isn’t what we have done in the past that defines us; it’s our ongoing attempts to better ourselves and learn from our mistakes that makes us who we are.

Accept yourself

Sometimes all you can do is acknowledge the fact that no one is perfect. You may want to get everything right the first time, every time, but that simply isn’t how human beings operate. We all make mistakes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Focus on all the good qualities you have and how you will use them to do better the next time around. It’s important that you value who you are and what you can accomplish when you have faith in yourself.

more on well-being

The simplicity of happiness
Ways to find time to treat yourself
Tips for coping with negative people

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