Living with regret can be frustrating at times, it stops us from getting things done in our life. Regret tends to come at the worst times, it comes when we’re at work or when we’re out with our friends. It’s an uncomfortable and cringy feeling that gets you stressed every time.
How many flashbacks do you experience daily?
Do you ever have the same flashback multiple days in a row?
When trying to forgive yourself, you have to be open to these aggravating flashbacks. Being able to see where you messed up in the past, is something you can use as a tool in the future. You need to learn from your mistakes, this sounds cliche but it’s something that everyone needs to be reminded of.
There are many people in the world who are going through situations that you’ve been through and vice versa.
Something to understand when it comes to forgiving yourself is that everyone makes mistakes and everyone has regrets. No matter how bad you think of past experience, there’s somebody that has overcome it.
It’s not easy to find people that have gone through exactly what you’re going through, this is why you should be open to learning from your mistakes.
Forgiving yourself starts with acceptance; if you can’t acknowledge something you’ve done in the past then you won't ever be able to forgive yourself.
Don’t you want to live your life in the present?
This begins with being content with your past. Your past has made you into the beautiful and knowledgable person you are today. Let’s look at a few ways to forgive yourself, without feeling bad about it at the same time.
Write yourself a letter
I know, who writes letters anymore? Well, this can be something that you can look at as an investment to your well being. Journaling is a great way to write a letter to yourself. If you’re somebody who journals often then you basically write yourself letters every day.
Now, what should this letter contain?
Just telling yourself that it’s ok. Only you know of the things that have truly put regret into your life. Write about those sleepless nights that you had because of those situations, really go into detail. Be vulnerable, allow yourself to get emotional, this letter of forgiveness is a goodbye to your regret.
If you feel uncomfortable writing to yourself then you can write as if you were sending a letter to somebody else. Being in your own head for too long can be unhealthy, but it’s important that you’re getting all of your feelings out onto the page.
Writing a letter to yourself is like going to therapy with yourself as well. Not a lot of people have the courage to go to therapy and open up about their life. The same goes for when people are trying to forgive themselves. They can't bring themselves to do it because they think it's weak or that living with regret is normal.
Take a leap of faith and write yourself a forgiveness letter. You can play some music in the background if you’d like or do whatever to make you feel like you’re not alone. I like to listen to some of my favorite songs when I’m writing a forgiveness letter to myself. Something about hearing words of encouragement while writing about what's been bothering me the most is kind of relaxing.
Your letter can be short or long, just make sure that somewhere in the letter you are saying “I forgive you” or “everything is going to be okay.”
“I forgive myself”
Something about saying things out loud will help you to be more in tune with yourself rather than saying things in your mind. You have so many thoughts going through your mind constantly that it’s hard to really sit down and think about one.
Finding a quiet space or place where you can be alone for a few seconds is a great opportunity to say “I forgive myself.” You can even say this when you’re in the shower or when you’re about to go to sleep. If something from your past is really stressing you out, then you can say it a few times during the day. You don’t want to say this too much to the point where you become tired of saying it. You’re telling yourself this to help you move on with your day.
There are so many external things that distract us from doing what we need to do, having things that we have to deal with internally only makes things more frustrating.
The perfect time to say “I forgive myself” is when you’re either feeling regret or when you made a mistake that day. How many times have you got down on yourself due to something that happened at work with a coworker or a customer? You don't have to go through this anymore, simply just take a deep breath, go into a space where you can be alone, and say “I forgive myself.”
Maybe you were wrong in the situation or maybe you weren’t, telling yourself these three words will help you to forget about what just happened and be more productive.
Try to make this into a habit if you’re somebody who has a hard time forgiving themselves, don’t worry, everyone needs to hear some encouragement from themselves sometimes.
Don’t Be Afraid to Treat yourself
Have you ever had to forgive somebody for hurting you? Whether it was emotionally or physically, they did hurt you. What did it feel like when you forgave them? You may have still had a bit of resentment towards them, but you probably felt at peace.
When we forgive ourselves, we don't feel better instantly. We develop peace with ourselves over time.
If you’re not motivated in any way to forgive yourself then start treating yourself. As soon as you genuinely forgive yourself, do something nice for yourself. This is like giving yourself a gift for being honest with yourself. This process also takes some of the initial stress away from the feelings you get afterward when you forgive yourself.
When I do eventually forgive myself, I like to watch a movie of my choosing. This helps me to be more comfortable when it comes to forgiveness.
Don’t let your pride come in the way of forgiveness, who doesn't like to treat themselves when they really deserve it. After all, having the courage to show yourself forgiveness is a big step for your journey in self-improvement. Let this be a reminder that you’re not perfect, and that trying to be perfect isn't the way to go.
During these moments of treating yourself, you may come to a realization that your past mistake wasn't so bad, to begin with. You’ve become a better person because of it.
Forgiving yourself can be easy or difficult depending on how you look at it. There many ways you can try to forgive yourself but it ultimately comes down to how strong you are to keep moving forward with life.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Kristin Neff that says
“When we give ourselves self-compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives.”