How to forgive yourself for past mistakes and move on

1 August 2019

Well-Being

Everyone makes mistakes. Making mistakes is just a part of being human and a part of life. But forgiving yourself for past mistakes is crucial so that you can truly let go and move on. Many of us can hold on to things for years and that can really affect even day-to-day life. Forgiveness may not happen overnight, but it is important to make an active effort to forgive yourself until completely cleared. Now you may be wondering ‘how do I forgive myself for past mistakes?

Forgiving yourself for past mistakes: 4 tips

Let’s go on to learn a few steps you can take in order to forgive yourself for past mistakes.

1. Self-reflection: the first step for forgiving yourself

Before delving into the past, it is helpful to remind yourself of your pure core and what your values are, here and now. Forgiving yourself for past mistakes does mean that to some extent you are looking back and reflecting on the past, and it can be extremely helpful to feel more confident in who you are and what your values are now before you delve into the past.

2. Mistakes in the past: consider what you learned

When we make a mistake, if we don’t properly release the charge around the mistake we carry that forward with us. So in order to forgive and move on, it can be a helpful exercise to consider what you learned from this mistake.

Consider the following:

  • Is there a life lesson (or even just a simple lesson) that you learned?
  • Have you re-committed the same mistake again? Is there a pattern there?
  • Is there a situation you can think of where you re-enforced a value/action you prioritized after making a mistake in your past?

If you are reflecting on a mistake now, play out the situation. Dig in and reflect on what that taught you or where that can guide some of your self-development focus.

3. Accept that the past is the past

There is a cliché quote that states ‘the past doesn’t need you, but the present and your future moments do.’ You can’t change something that has happened in the past, so it is important to accept that the past is the past and then to leave it there. You’ll feel all the better and ‘free’ for it.

4. Look at your mistake through a different lens

Playing the ‘I would have’, ‘I should have’ or ‘I could have’ game with yourself will not do you any good. At the end of the day, we are just human and we are just doing the best that we can at any given point. So to release that part of your past and forgive yourself for past mistakes, look at your mistake through a different lens. Look at through the same lens that you would look at the mistake of a loved one. It would probably be a lot easier to forgive a loved one, wouldn’t it? Give yourself the same kind of patience, love and understanding that you give your loved ones... you deserve it, too.

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