Learning to Forgive Yourself

Forgiveness is letting go of resentment that resulted from an offense, whether intentional or not, that happened in the past. It is a commitment to leave the hurt of the past where it belongs – in the past – and to not let that past upset hurt your present or future, or anyone else’s.

Relationships thrive, spiritual connections deepen, and even health improves when we practice forgiveness. So why can it be so hard to forgive?

You may have experienced that the hardest person to forgive is yourself.

There are many ways you can hold a grudge against yourself ranging from letting others make decisions for you because you no longer trust yourself to engaging in unhealthy relationships because you believe that is what you deserve.

The prices for carrying a self-imposed burden of blame are high. You may feel a constant undercurrent of pain and sadness or anger at times when you could be experiencing happiness and fulfillment. This can cause your relationships, your self-esteem, your health, your self-expression, and even your spiritual connection to suffer.

Not forgiving yourself makes you a victim to the past and to your previous decisions. It can hold you back from going for your goals, or even setting goals in the first place. There is liberation and empowerment in forgiving yourself.

How might your life improve if you were to treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion that you treat others?

Instead of continuing to punish yourself for the past, realize that you did the best you knew how to do. Mistakes are not mistakes at all. They are the guidance system by which we learn what is effective and what is not. When you look at your mistakes and learn from them, you can begin to release resentment and move forward along the path of growth and wellness.

Practice self-acceptance. You are human and have what you consider flaws just like everybody else. Rather than let those “flaws” hold you back, improve what can be improved upon, and continue to move forward by focusing on what’s great about you.

Understand that while you may not be able to change the past, you can change your perspective on it. What hurt you in the past does not have to hurt your present or future. When you forgive yourself, you free yourself from the shackles of the past and can experience the joy of living in the moment.

Forgiveness is not always easy, yet it is worth it, because YOU are worth it.

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