6 Ways To Forgive Yourself For Past Mistakes
If you’re a sensitive person, who tends to feel guilty about things, then you might be struggling to forgive yourself for past mistakes.
You probably have made a bunch of tiny mistakes in your life (everyone has). You then forgive yourself pretty quickly, learn from the experience, and move on in your life, equipped with a new set of insights.
But happens when you have made a huge mistake that as a result, you had to pay a high emotional toll? Why forgiving ourselves for major past mistakes in these situations seems almost impossible?
Unfortunately, in some cases, the results of our words and actions have devastating effects on our lives. But no matter what happened, we have to pick ourselves up and forgive ourselves for these mistakes.
Why? Because we owe it to ourselves. You are the most important person in your life and you just can’t keep punishing yourself forever. You falsely believe that beating yourself up for past mistakes will make you feel like a good person, but it won’t. It is just a distorted story you tell yourself.
Forgiving Yourself For Mistakes Is Not An Option
Not too long ago, I met a man named Ed, who told me that in the past year he could barely function. He kept blaming himself for the past mistakes he made and could not let them go.
Ed was married for 13 years to a woman he truly loved, but “I took our relationship for granted and I was sure she will never leave me”, he said in pain and regret.
“All those years I made mistakes that pushed her away from me and gradually she lost her love for me. One day she came home and told me she no longer wants to be together. My world collapsed! I still can’t forgive myself and that’s all I can think about since then”.
Forgive Yourself For Past Mistakes Using Emotional Validation
Like Ed, people who experience a hard time forgiving themselves for their past mistakes become attached to the voices of shame and guilt. You know, the voices that scream in your head – “why was I so stupid”; “I wish I knew then what I know today”; “how can I ever forgive myself after what I did”?
These toxic, looping whispers hinder you from providing yourself the compassion you deserve. Refusing to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made is chaining you down to the suffering cycle.
The ongoing suffering you insist to feel is not proactive or promotes you toward healing. It is simply fanning the flames of guilt and other low emotions you feel.
Unconsciously, you get stuck in a rut deliberately. You mistakenly think that the more you feel guilty about the wrongs you have done, then somehow you will get redemption – from that person you hurt… or from God…
Rather than looking for self-forgiveness ways, you keep yourself stuck in that deep hole until someone will come to rescue you. You’re waiting on others to do the job you’re supposed to do yourself, which is to forgive yourself.
But it’s not anyone’s responsibility to forgive you for your mistakes. It is YOUR job.
Your deservingness of forgiveness is not dependant on someone else’s approval.
When you understand this truth, you would start walking on the path of self-forgiveness.
Forming a New Habit Takes Time
Remember that forgiving yourself is a process. Sure, it would be great to set your soul free from this excruciating pain, but forgiving yourself for past mistakes doesn’t happen overnight.
First, it is necessary to analyze the events the led to performing those past mistakes.
Try to explore why you did what you did, what were your unconscious motives. Then, acknowledge the fact you cannot turn back the hands of time, and finally – accept the new reality and be completely okay about it.
Give yourself the time you need to heal, it is your right. Tune into your emotions, try to let the hurt, guilt, and anger pass through you without avoiding it because it’s part of your soul-cleansing process.
When you feel ready to get out of the self-blame mode and make peace with your past, here are 6 tools that can help you forgive yourself for past mistakes.
1. You’re only human
As a mortal being, you are not perfect, and what do non-perfect beings do? Make mistakes! It is comforting for us to think that our decisions and behaviors are based on logical considerations of right and wrong, good or bad.
In real life- it’s not the case. There are countless studies in behavioral and even economical psychology that clearly prove that our decision-making process is operated by our emotional triggers, protective mechanisms, and unmet needs, rather than rational choices.
2. You were born to evolve
You came to this world to learn and grow. Every journey of learning must be accompanied by past mistakes, whether you like it or not.
The development process requires you to make errors that will sometimes harshly sabotage your life and cause you to lose people you love, money, and even yourself.
Yes, these mistakes might scar you, but they will also push you toward higher levels of self-discovery you never realized you’re even capable of.
See – we grow, become successful, and powerful not when things go smoothly, but only through lessons and pain. Through our mistakes in life.
The faster you’d agree to accept that mistakes are an integral part of life, the faster you will forgive yourself.
3. Forgive yourself – You did the best you could
At that time, with the emotional state you were at, with the mindset you had, with the skillset you had– you did the best you could.
I will write it again – based on the limited thought patterns, psychological and emotional understanding you had back then – you HAD to do the mistakes you did. You had no other choice.
Internalizing this fact alone can make it easier to forgive yourself.
You often find yourself contemplating the thought “if I knew in the past, what I know today, everything would be different”.
Well, of course, it would be, but on the other hand – you wouldn’t know what you know today if you hadn’t made that past mistake.
Therefore, instead of viewing mistakes as the worst thing that can happen, look at mistakes as the best thing that has ever happened to you, because now you know better!
4. Every end is a new beginning
Your past mistakes may have caused you to lose a loving spouse. Perhaps you have lost money or your dream job… You might have given up on your values, sense of self, and identity because you got addicted to substances.
Losing something or someone that was meaningful to you is a traumatic experience that overcoming is similar to grieving.
In order to forgive yourself for mistakes you made, it is necessary to visit through the painful stages in order to clear your spirit. But it’s important to remember that the loss is not the end.
Losing something or someone also means that your life is making room for something new. And now, that you have improved as a person and learned the lessons life threw at you – the new experiences must become so much better.
5. Know that next time is going to be better
This stage can happen only after you take the time to address the parts of you that require healing. These parts might have led to making those mistakes.
If you have managed to educate yourself about your past mistakes and analyze them and yourself mindfully – then your next experience will get dramatically improved.
How come? because you’re coming from a heightened place of awareness and disillusionment.
Now that you are more woke and aware, you will attract opportunities and people that match your new and healthy evolved self.
6. Be Thankful For Your Past Mistakes
Thank the challenges, the obstacles, and the mistakes because they have helped you grow. Use these difficult moments in your life as stepping-stones to something wonderful and refreshing!
Be grateful for your journey. Strong pain is nature’s way to induce rapid changes. Pain becomes change because there is sufficient leverage.
Thanks to your painful past decisions, a whole set of belief structures can change in a snap! Most people will not change until life smacks them in the face. But the intense pain will force them to look inside and question their paradigms.
So, forgive yourself for past mistakes. You’ve made an enormous transformation; now it’s time to let go and apply all you have learned in the next chapters of the book of your life.
If you don’t commit to forgive yourself now, the repeating negative thoughts of guilt will keep haunting you.
Remember, feeling guilty doesn’t make you a better person. It only makes you miserable.
When you change your outlook, you will not dwell on your mistakes anymore, and instead, re-direct your attention towards self-forgiveness and start noticing a shift happening.
In addition to the tips mentioned above, you can also check out this unique meditation I have created for you.
This session will help you forgive yourself for past mistakes, embrace a new subconscious attitude, and heal your heart of remorse, guilt, and anger.
I have plenty of other recordings in my audio library, such as forgiving other people, overcome shame, guilt, self-blame, and many more. Make sure to check them out as well.