Whenever you make mistakes or struggle with something, it can be hard to be kind to yourself. Being at peace and moving on with your situation isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish. Errors are a mandatory condition of being human and it’s more wholesome to learn from mistakes. To gain this progress, you’ll need to learn to forgive yourself. To forgive yourself involves letting go of negative emotions to reduce stress, resentment, and worry.
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How to forgive yourself
1. Acknowledge your emotions
Take the time to examine what you’re going through. See what triggered the feelings of disappointment and allow yourself to wallow in it. Trying to ignore it or pushing it away can lead to a breakdown later or constant feelings of anxiety. When you accept what you’re going through, this makes it easier to forgive yourself.
2. Say it out loud
If you made a mistake and are struggling to deal with it, giving a voice to it can help you come to terms with it. If you’re uncomfortable saying it, you can write about it to help outline how to forgive yourself, fix things, what you learned from it, and how to deal with the consequences.
3. Rethink mistakes as lessons
People are always prone to mistakes. They’re inevitable. However, sometimes they can cost you a lot. That may be unavoidable. The healthiest way to deal with it is to learn from it. This is how you can move forward better. If you did your best and it didn’t work out, you can learn from what went wrong.
4. Save it for later
If what you did wrong is overwhelming you, you can write it down on a note and put it in a jar. This can help you visualise shelving it away until you have the mental bandwidth to deal with it. You should be careful not to use this to avoid the consequences of your actions.
5. Call yourself out when you’re being too self-critical
Writing down your thoughts can also help you develop more compassion towards yourself. It also shows you where you’re being too critical of yourself. Listing your strengths and skills also helps you boost your confidence if your esteem is taken a battering by your mistake. You can also soften the voice of your self-critic by writing it down and seeing what insights you can gain.
In addition, you can use the critic’s voice to learn and respond to it with compassion. On one page of your journal, write the harsh criticisms. Then you can write compassionate rebuttals to help tone down the inner critic and eventually forgive yourself.
6. Outline how to make amends
If your mistakes cost others their peace of mind or money, figure out how you can make amends. Do you need to apologise or give them space? Understand what’s best for the person that you hurt. Research shows that forgiving yourself makes it easier to do what’s necessary.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do to fix things. Since you can’t reach out to the person you hurt to ask them how to resolve issues, you can get advice from a mutual friend. You can also try giving yourself advice as though you’re telling another friend what to do. This can give you a cheat sheet on how to forgive yourself.
7. Avoid reliving what you did
It’s easy to spiral into dark thoughts about what went wrong. But you can avoid this by distracting yourself. Anytime you start thinking about what you did, you can watch a tv show, read a book, do chores, or exercise. If you’re consumed with negative self-thoughts, counter them with positive thoughts about yourself and your achievements.
8. Seek therapy
Forgiveness is part of the healing process. If you’re struggling with how to forgive yourself to the point of affecting your mental health, talk to a therapist or counsellor. A mental health professional can help you break unhealthy patterns. They can also help you get better coping mechanisms and offer you insight on how to fix the mistakes you made.
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