Learning how to forgive yourself and practice self-forgiveness in every situation where you weren’t quite yourself, is the cornerstone of self-love.
Stanford Medicine wrote this:
Self-forgiveness improves our well-being and productivity.The benefits of self-forgiveness – Sanford Medicine
Research has shown that those who practice self-forgiveness have better mental and emotional well-being, more positive attitudes, and healthier relationships. A related outcome ties self-compassion with higher levels of success, productivity, focus, and concentration.
“Self-forgiving people recognize that a lack of self-forgiveness leads to suffering,” Pertofsky said. “They are kind to themselves, which reduces their anxiety and related depression.”
In comparison, those who are highly critical of themselves are more likely to experience significant negativity, stress, and pessimism.
Self-forgiveness is a vital part of the self-healing journey.
The Plan: How to Forgive Yourself
The first step to learning how to forgive yourself and practice self-forgiveness, is to understand that you are only human. Human make mistakes. We hurt others, we hurt ourselves, and we do our best to care for ourselves, but sometimes we don’t feel that we deserve our own self-love and self-forgiveness. No matter what you have done, right or wrong, learning how to forgive yourself is an empowering feeling that will give you a chance to truly start to love yourself.
Take out your journal or open a blank text file on your computer.
- Write the date at the top
- Write the quote I am sharing below
- Write down a confession, without any excuses for your discretion, for something you did that you wish to forgive yourself for
- Write yourself a sincere apology for the confession you wrote. Be as genuine as you can be and write the apology as though you are asking for someone else’s forgiveness rather than self-forgiveness.
- Write down how your confession may have impacted someone else and really identify the pain you caused yourself and potentially someone else.
- Write down why valuing yourself and the relationship you have with yourself is more important than being right or even winning
- Write down a way you can prevent yourself from feeling this way again and how you feel now that you have learned how to forgive yourself for something that you felt unworthy of your self-forgiveness.
- Write down a better way to handle this situation now that you can see it written out.
Quote for the Day
After writing the quote and all the pieces of the journal entry for today, write how you can use this quote in your quest to learn how to forgive yourself and practice self-forgiveness.
An Extra Resource for Self-Forgiveness
Eileen Timmins, Ph.D. gives a beautiful TedTalk called, “How Self-Forgiveness Leads to Light, Love and a Joyful Life!” This video is empowering and Timmins shares her own story about how she had to learn how to forgive herself when she didn’t go to see her mother in time before her mother passed away.
Here is a beautiful poem by Vicki A. Zinn about self-forgiveness and learning how to forgive yourself.
Self-ForgivenessVicki A. Zinn, May 27, 2013
How do I learn to truly forgive myself?
How do I stop blaming myself
for the mistakes I have made?
How do I find peace within
myself to move forward,
instead of always looking backwards?
How do I turn this around,
before I totally lose myself again?
These questions haunt me
each and every day.
Just when I think I am making
even the smallest of steps forward,
there is something, or someone,
who pulls me back –
back down into the abyss
of pure sorrow and shame.
Sorrow of love gone wrong, or lost;
shame for allowing it to
consume such a beautiful heart, and mind.
I know that I must learn to forgive myself
for all of my errors of judgment,
which is one of the hardest things
I have ever had to face.
Being one’s own worst enemy,
while facing the deepest of all criticisms,
is very hard to overcome,
especially, when you lose sight of
the light at the end of the tunnel.
My faith deserts me when
I need it the most.
I am solely living on the outside,
while slowly dying in the inside.
I see, nor feel, any real purpose.
Am I always meant to loom
in another’s shadow?
Never to reap the benefits
of all that I have invested?
Never to be acknowledged
for having a good heart?
Never feeling like I will
ever be truly loved,
or cherished, for the
person that I am?
What does it truly take
for someone to see
the worth in me?
All these questions,
while not having the answers
makes it hard to believe
that you matter that much
to all those around you.
Am I just going to always be
instead of, a forethought?
What more can I do to
prove my own worthiness?
Will I perpetually be stuck
in uncertainties of my own
Will I ever truly find my
place in this world?
All these questions constantly
swirl in my mind, as I try
to figure out the answers.
The pressure of finding
these answers lies
heavily on my shoulders.
I am a strong woman, indeed,
but when I face one
challenge after another,
without truly healing,
I tend to find myself
questioning my own existence.
I do not want to be remembered
as a woman who was always in pain.
I want my self-description to be of
a woman, who despite her
many adversities, found her
sense of being, as an example to others.
Life is exactly what we make of it.
If I continue to allow myself to
wallow in these fears,
then I have truly succumbed to
own my demise.
Even with the most clouded
of mind, I know I can not
allow this anymore.
I know that my heart
cannot endure the pain
and disappointment that it bears.
So, I must learn to recognize
that I am human, and that
I will make mistakes.
How I learn from these mistakes
is what separates me from another –
it is what defines my uniqueness.
Regardless of the loneliness
that surrounds me constantly,
I must remember that I am
needed, and wanted, by others.
The only way to do this
is to try to forgive myself,
that those who also recognize
my true beauty are the ones
that deserve to be part of my life.
As the haze lifts more and more each day,
I do believe I will find my way again.
Just some more bumps along this
road that they call life.
My Story on Learning Self-Forgiveness
Forgiving myself was and still is extremely hard for me to do. I blamed myself for my youngest son being born with Autism. I thought I didn’t keep myself healthy enough, or maybe I didn’t eat the right foods, or somehow I had ingested a bad meal that caused him to have issues. I felt really guilty, ashamed, deeply heartbroken, and made every excuse to beat myself up about what my child was going through.
My son couldn’t speak, he would injure himself, and he couldn’t understand anyone and got overwhelmed and overstimulated rather quickly. I couldn’t make it better and I felt like somehow I did this.
I went to therapy after my son was abused and neglected at his daycare center and another mother had shared the videos of what she saw. After this, I started really breaking down inside, and my guilt made me fall into a deep depression.
I learned to forgive myself when my son started attending his new school at the Hope Center. I learned more about Autism and got to know it wasn’t my fault. I just needed to accept what was going on and offer him the supports he needs to be successful. This is how I learned self-forgiveness. It was the first time I had freed myself from the negativity I felt around my son’s diagnosis.
I learned to lean into the discomfort and trust that I had done my best and I couldn’t have done anything differently to protect my child. I offered myself the forgiveness to move from a place of self-torment to self-love and love for my child and his differences. It was a beautiful experience.
A Quick Exercise for Forgiving Yourself
MyLife shares a beautiful 5-minute meditation to learn how to forgive yourself and practice self-forgiveness.