Forgiveness is divine. It’s often said that forgiving others can help people overcome feelings of anger, rage, and hurt. Many don’t realize that self-forgiveness in recovery is just as important. After a traumatic experience, many people are left with feelings that are difficult to manage. Over time, some even begin to feel depression and anxiety. This can lead to self-sabotage, self-neglect, and even self-mutilation. People who fail to forgive themselves often find themselves in unhealthy relationships and struggling to succeed in their careers. Sometimes these problems follow a death, other times a breakup or divorce. Forgiving the self is the only way to completely move on and enjoy life.
How To Overcome Guilt And Forgive Yourself With These 8 Tips
In this article:
- 1. Identify Your Regrets
- 2. Recognize You Did Your Best
- 3. Follow Your Moral Code
- 4. Own Up To Your Mistakes
- 5. Make Amends With Others
- 6. Learn From the Past
- 7. Get Help
- 8. Find Your Spirituality
1. Identify Your Regrets
Recognize your emotions and how you feel about events from the past. Identify your regrets to help you resolve them once and for all. This may require deliberate self-reflection.
Spend time meditating or sitting in silence. What feelings are you experiencing? Sadness? Anger? Think back to the source. When did you start feeling this way? What triggered the emotion? Was it a memory? If so, why does that memory make you feel that way? Write down your feelings. If you’re feeling a range of emotions, identify the source of each emotion you’re experiencing.
2. Recognize You Did Your Best
It is in our nature to do our best. We react to situations by putting our best foot forward. Sometimes, even when we are doing our best, we still make mistakes or take missteps that can lead to hardship.
This is because we have limited perspective and no ability to see into the future. We sometimes make decisions that can have unpleasant or even devastating effects. This is inevitable, even when we’re giving our very best effort. Remember this as you struggle to forgive yourself: that you were acting on the best information you had at the time, and were only doing what you could to improve your situation.
3. Follow Your Moral Code
Make a list of everything that you believe is right. What behaviors do good people engage in? What do people do to make themselves good people? Following your own moral code is one of the best ways you can redeem yourself in a time of difficulty or struggle. Treat others as you would prefer to be treated yourself, and do for others what you can to make their lives better.
4. Own Up To Your Mistakes
Own up to your mistakes. Admit to yourself, and others, that you have made them. Denying your mistakes or pretending that they never happened is just one way to escape your problems without actually solving them. To own up to your mistakes, you may need to take stock of the situation and write down everything you believe has gone wrong. Once you can see what went wrong, ask yourself what you could have done to fix the situation. Write down all of your perceived mistakes. Admitting these mistakes to yourself can help you feel ownership over the events of the past.
5. Make Amends With Others
Making it up to others is a critical way to make it up to yourself. Ask yourself what you can do to make life better for the people who have been negatively affected by your actions. If you’re not sure, you may even ask them personally. People who have been hurt by your actions in the past may ask for amends such as behavioral changes, or promises to do differently in the future. It’s important to take these requests seriously and to be consistent in your efforts to make amends to all parties involved. Often, making amends takes a lot of time and patience. Keep at it.
6. Learn From the Past
Learning from the past is the best way to avoid repeating it. What could you have done differently to have prevented your problem from occurring? Could you change your behavior in the future to avoid future problems? To learn from the past, spend time analyzing why problems happened and how your reactions to the situation affected the way things occurred.
7. Get Help
Get help from a spiritual advisor or counselor to help you sort out the problems in your head. Meet with someone who can listen to your situation and help you make sense of what happened before. Do this in the early stages after the traumatic event to prevent your personal feelings from tearing apart your psyche. The sooner you seek professional help, the better.
8. Find Your Spirituality
God forgives. People who reach out to their god are often able to find their way through tough times. Turning to God in a time of need is the best way to ensure that you have a support system to help you through your feelings of loss, despair, sadness, and anger. If you attend a church, turn the spiritual leaders in your life to ask your questions and get the answers you seek.
SelfLoveU gives a video on how to forgive yourself and let go of the past to move forward:
Time heals. As you go through the motions and work toward self-forgiveness in recovery, keep in mind that time will help you feel better. Give yourself time to feel the emotions you’re experiencing, and to get over them as you’re able.
Do you have other self-forgiveness exercises you want to share? Let us know in the comments section below.