Self-forgiveness is an essential part of emotional healing and leads to stronger, healthier relationships. Its normal to feel bad about and regret doing something that harms someone else; however, it isn’t healthy to continue to dwell on these actions. When we hold onto feelings of self-judgement and blame, we tap into the shame we may be feeling because of things in our past we are not proud of. Though shame isn’t always bad, when we constantly carry it with us, it can lower our self-esteem and keep us from experiencing joy and happiness.
Self-forgiveness allows us to let go of negative self-judgements, self-blame, and overwhelming shame. When we practice self-forgiveness, we create space within ourselves to grow and change, leading to healthier relationships and a more fulfilling life.
Forgiving ourselves can be challenging, especially when we have hurt the people we care for most, but there is hope! Here are some important ideas and steps to keep in mind when embarking on your own journey to self-forgiveness:
You are not alone. Everyone has harmed someone in some way or done something they are ashamed of; it is part of the human condition. We all make mistakes and deserve to give ourselves compassion and grace. Remember, when we falter or fail, we often learn the most important lessons and experience exponential growth.
Practice mindfulness. When we experience shame and self-blame, we often time travel into the past and relive the moments we regret, preventing us from focusing on the present. As you work towards self-forgiveness, we encourage you to practice mindfulness and work on connecting to the present. By staying in the present, you can focus on self-understanding, self-compassion, and and work towards becoming your best self.
Apologize & make amends. An apology can be a powerful tool of healing for both the person who is apologizing and for the person they hurt. When we take responsibility for our actions and express sincere remorse for hurting someone, it communicates that we value them and our relationship together. Not only do apologies help those who have been harmed feel respected and cared for, but they also foster a sense of self-respect and self-compassion for those who are giving the apology.
As we wrap-up our series on forgiveness, we encourage you to keep the information we have shared over the past week in mind as you continue to work on strengthening your relationships!