How to Develop Self-Forgiveness

As human beings, we are imperfect creatures and are therefore bound to make mistakes. In response to our unwise choices, we can easily carry guilt, leading to self-loathing and inwardly directed anger. It is a terrible burden to carry a painful past incident inside our hearts, as the guilt inspired by the event slowly and inexorably eats away at our happiness and at the life we have worked so hard to create. It’s within our own power to make peace with our past negative choices, and to relearn how to love ourselves.

Understanding who we are and why we have done something is imperative as a starting point. Without full comprehension of the event and our place in it, we can never come to terms with the past. By recognizing the feelings we have attached to the situation, and understanding why we did what we did, we can begin to move forward.

Focusing on certain points may help align us correctly. We should reflect on when we may have forgiven ourselves in the past and what feelings were associated with the peace that followed. We need to focus on any positive behaviors we can add into our lives that will allow us to forgive ourselves with greater ease. We should be aware of any beliefs we may harbor that could inhibit our ability to self-forgive, and then work to eradicate these beliefs. Along the same vein, we need to be aware that our relationship with spirituality may affect our ability to forgive ourselves.

Forgiveness Vs. Self-Forgiveness
Another important factor is being aware of our interpretation of the term “forgiveness.” Many of us lump together “forgiveness,” something we seem to have to ask for, something to be earned and received by someone outside of ourselves, with “self-forgiveness.” They are most certainly two different concepts, which should be kept in their proper prospective. It can be most gratifying when others grant us forgiveness, even more so if they are the wronged parties in the incident we regret and for which we seek inner peace. Unfortunately, we may never receive the pardon of forgiveness from another individual, no matter how important their place, or their opinions, may be in our lives. This is why we must achieve self- forgiveness; our strength and self-acceptance must come from within. We will never be able to forgive ourselves if we rely on outside forces to pardon us, as those forces are outside our control.

Self-Talk Script
By sending positive thoughts to ourselves, we begin to place ourselves in a state of loving and self-acceptance, faults and all. We will never be that better person if we cannot move away from a past mistake. So we work at achieving a state of self-acceptance, empowering ourselves to attack our guilt from a healthy and strong internal place. This can be done in a meditative state, or in front of a mirror through positive phrases that remind us that part of being human is making mistakes, learning from them, and then forgiving ourselves for making them in the first place. Perfection is never an achievable goal. There is nothing else in this world we need for our self-worth and confidence to grow except to acknowledge and believe that in any particular moment you have done your best based on the person you were at the time. Realize that living a “better life” is subjective and can be achieved by simply giving yourself permission to have it. Recognize that you deserve to be forgiven, that you’ve learned from you poor choices, and that you can begin moving forward.

Letting Go
As we have become self-aware and re-identified with our positive relationship with ourselves, this last step releases us from the past. It is simply making an agreement with ourselves to let go of the past and embrace the present. It is choosing to become the person we want to be, using the knowledge of our past choices to propel us positively forward into our new experiences. When we are mired in the mistakes of our past, we are not fully living, missing out on the remarkable opportunity to improve ourselves and to create a world of our choosing.

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