We have all made mistakes throughout our lives. Sometimes we overcome them without much effort, but other times regrets do not let us live in peace. We sink into guilt for something we did, something we know we shouldn’t have done. And there we stay, stuck in a negative feeling that does not allow us to move on because we are too hard on ourselves. Our own conscience is often our fiercest critic. So how can we finally forgive ourselves from such a burden?
Seek forgiveness from others but, above all, your own forgiveness: your mistakes originate from misunderstandings, lack of experience, ignorance of your own being or the inability to understand the feelings of others. Trying to remedy the situation if possible, apologize, explain your motivation, or try to change can be very beneficial if we feel bad about hurting someone. If that person forgives you, great, but if not, remember that your focus should be on forgiving yourself. Forgiving yourself does not mean justifying yourself. Taking responsibility for your actions is perhaps the easiest way to forgive yourself.
Recognize the value of temporary guilt and the danger of lasting guilt: Guilt actually has a positive effect because it allows you to realize that you were wrong and that you are a good person (if you weren’t, you wouldn’t even feel guilty). But it is only useful if it is a temporary sensation. If it stays with you for a long time, it will fill you with shame and negative energy that creates a vicious cycle of new and worse decisions. I guarantee that a decision based on guilt is not a good decision. So, one way to ensure you make better decisions is to do so by putting blame aside.
Accept that you cannot change the past, but you can change the present and the future: Think that punishing yourself and hurting yourself will not change the past, what is done is done. But that regret has to do with something you wish you had done differently. Now you have the opportunity to do it differently . So, look at that mistake as a teacher who taught you a lesson that you can use in your present and your future to live better, with more knowledge and awareness of your actions. When you learn your lesson, you can forgive yourself from guilt.
The unquestionable fact is that nobody is perfect and life is made up of mistakes and successes, defects and virtues, bad and good times. If you are looking for inspiration and motivation to make your journey through this life smoother and happier, you can find them on my social media @lauraposadalifecoach.