How do you forgive yourself for past mistakes?
by Jacquie Wise
How can I forgive myself for past mistakes? Please don’t use my name if you are publishing the answer online. Thanks.
Any normal, well-balanced person will feel remorse for actions taken in the past that they wish they hadn’t. Sometimes, it can be hard to forgive yourself.
We are our own worst critics. We have very high expectations of ourselves that sometimes we just can’t reach with our limitations at the time.
Some might say: ‘Oh well, we’re all human and we can’t expect to go through life without making mistakes ’. If remorse is eating our insides, that just doesn’t cut it. Something more is needed. I hope these thoughts help you as much as they’ve helped me in the past.
The Four Wise Ways to Forgive Yourself
1 Remember that you acted on the basis of the knowledge you had at the time.
We can only do what we know how to do. You weren’t ready enough, strong enough, skilled enough or wise enough to differently at that time. Accept that. You had limitations. Your remorse tells you that you’ve grown and have acquired wisdom. Well done.
2 Act in a different way from now on.
Your mistakes are experiences that have taught you something. Focus on what you’ve learnt and focus on applying that knowledge in future. Be a positive role-model to others.
Define your values very clearly and decide that from now on, you’re going to make different decisions with greater insight than you had before. From saying ‘I shouldn’t have done that’ take yourself to: ‘I will never do that again.’ From now on, stand up for what’s right.
3 Find ways to atone for your mistakes.
Apologise to those you might have hurt, even if you can’t make it up to them. Acknowledging that you were wrong is the best way towards achieving resolution and closure. Be ready to handle any residual anger from those you have hurt. If there’s something you can do to reverse the mistake, do it. If you’re not in a position to rectify the situation, then take other helpful actions to prove to yourself and others that you’re no longer the same person.
4 Don’t forget there’s a higher power and you have a life purpose.
Your soul attracted the opportunities you needed in this life to learn and grow into a better person. Those mistakes you made were part of your soul contract. Your purpose is to contribute to this world by using your skills and passing on your knowledge. In order to do that to the very best of your ability, you need experiences and mistakes to learn better ways.
Recognise that all mistakes are an essential part of your journey towards maturity, wisdom and enlightenment. The key is to learn from your mistakes.
Beating yourself up about them indefinitely is not going to achieve anything other than hold back your growth. Beating yourself up is another mistake.
If you’re religious, remember that God is a forgiving God. Remember the story of the Prodigal Son. All you have to do is express remorse and show remorse in the actions that you take in future, and you will be forgiven. If God can forgive you, isn’t it an insult to His wisdom to refuse to forgive yourself?
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