It’s hard to forgive your own missteps.
You feel really rotten when you’ve let yourself or someone else down.
But one day, you have to allow the sun to shine again. Why is it so hard to do that?
As Maya Angelou writes:
“It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ “
This 4-step process can allow you to forgive yourself and move on with your life:
1. Confront your mistake. In all circumstances, take responsibility for your error. Come face to face with it and acknowledge where you stumbled. As painful as it might be, this is the first step to forgiving yourself.
• It’s sometimes helpful to look in the mirror and say aloud what you did. It connects you with the action. It also helps you realize that it’s okay to make mistakes.
• Therapy can help if the first option doesn’t do the trick. Talking to someone else may help you release feelings that are tied down inside.
2. Analyze the impact. Take a moment to reflect on the outcome of your actions. Who has been affected? How badly were you or others hurt? Take it all at face value, and avoid embellishing it with undeserved emotion.
• Take the time to consider the impact outside of what you initially see. It’s sometimes easy to overlook the smaller impact when the greater one is overwhelming.
3. Accept your human imperfections. Above all, be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that you’re human. There’s nobody on the face of the earth who goes through life without making mistakes. However, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t excuse what happened.
• While accepting your human imperfections, take the time to identify your shortcomings. Use the opportunity to work on aspects of yourself that you might want to improve. Perhaps you’d like to further develop certain character traits or strengthen your skills in particular areas.
• When apologizing to yourself and others, you can point out that everybody makes mistakes, but you’ve learned from yours and have every intention of not repeating it.
4. Challenge yourself to do better. The crucial final step to self-forgiveness is challenging yourself to do better. In the previous step, you accepted your imperfections. Now it’s time to work at fixing the things you can.
• Is it that you need to learn to be nicer to others? You can work on that through conscious effort or group therapy.
• Try not to repeat the same mistake. That’s one of the easiest ways to backslide and end up at square one again.
• Ask your supportive friends and family to help you on your journey. Remember that no man is an island.
Making things right might not happen overnight. What’s important is that you forgive yourself and commit to turning things around.
You’re full of so much potential. That potential sits unused while you consume yourself with negative energy.
Lift yourself up and come to terms with the fact that you have so much more to give to the world.
Chip away at the negativity until all that’s left is your renewed spirit.