9 Ways To Forgive Yourself And Stop Living In The Past
Forgiveness can be a complex process.
It’s difficult to forgive others, but it’s even more difficult to forgive ourselves.
Some people are able to forgive more quickly, while others have the tendency to hold onto their mistakes for years.
Whatever your situation is, there are some steps that can help you to forgive yourself and stop living in the past.
Think About Your Values
A very common reason for being unable to forgive yourself is because your current values do not match the values of your past. This creates a conflict which makes you feel bad.
It’s a good idea to think about this and try to rationalize things.
We all make mistakes.
A mistake is not equal to being a bad person.
This is when putting things into perspective comes into play.
Think about the big picture.
Think about the situations in which you did good, all the acts of goodwill and help that you offered others. Think about the times in which you were really proud of yourself.
We’re human and mistakes are an integral part of our lives.
You wouldn’t be the person you are today if it wasn’t for these mistakes.
They can show us the right direction and teach us new lessons.
If there’s one common thing that binds humanity – it’s making mistakes.
However, always remember your values and that mistakes don’t define you as a whole.
Leave Past Where It Belongs
Sometimes what we all need is more acceptance and letting go.
Instead of supporting this inner conflict try to rationalize the situation.
It’s not possible to undo some things and feeling miserable certainly won’t help your present situation.
The thing you struggle with the most and that you reject to accept, might be just what you need!
“Forgiveness means letting go of the past.” – Gerald Jampolsky
Identify Your Regrets And Take The Important Lessons With You
You may hold more than one regret. If that is the case, it could help to think about each one of them and write them down on a piece of paper.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all kinds of regrets in your life, start by fixing one by one.
This can help bring more clarity.
Start with the heaviest anchors.
What’s your biggest regret?
Start working on that one first, as it will bring the most positive changes in your life.
Don’t forget to think about the lessons too.
If you could go back to the past, what would you change? What would you do differently?
This question can help reaffirm the lessons you’ve learned and prevented you from repeating the same mistake again.
Release everything that causes damage or doesn’t serve you in any way.
But, keep the important lessons.
You Did Your Best At The Time
Certain circumstances and situations can influence our decisions and reactions. Maybe you were under stress and unable to see the situation from a more rational side.
Maybe you said something you feel sorry for because you have poor communication skills.
You were doing your best in the given moment, and you probably weren’t even aware that you are doing damage onto yourself or others.
At that time you didn’t know better.
Remember this – you can choose your attitude in any given set of circumstances.
You can choose to feel miserable or you can take responsibility and stop living in the past.
If it is possible to repair the damage, do it. Say sorry to the person you’ve hurt.
Apologizing for shows that you respect that person and that you want good relations with them.
The sole act of apologizing can increase your self-esteem and confidence.
Just note that a sincere apology means taking complete responsibility for what you have done. Do not look for excuses or blame anyone else.
If you cannot repair the damage, choose to behave better in the future. Be kind to the people around you. Do some good.
Doing good is better than feeling sorry for yourself!
Think About Your Health
Mind affects the body in many ways. Stress can cause bad digestion, higher blood pressure, tense muscles, depression and other health problems.
If you constantly focus on the problems, your health will suffer as well.
Pay attention to the nutrition and try to be physically active.
But most importantly, work on the real cause as this is what’s making you anxious and stressed.
Learn To Love Yourself
Are you your own worst critic?
Do you beat yourself up of every little mistake?
If the answer is yes, think about your approach to other people.
Do you criticize them or do you approach them with kindness and compassion?
The answer is probably compassion.
So why do the total opposite to yourself?
Learn to love yourself.
Embrace the vulnerability and let go of perfectionism.
Don’t try to hide your flaws. When you accept yourself for who you are (flaws and all), you’ll be more content with life.
Something that very often causes the inner conflict and that stops you from forgiving yourself is the need to be seen as best as possible in the eyes of other people, but yourself too.
If one of your strong beliefs is related to seeking perfection, you’ll find it very difficult to forgive yourself. You will also find it very difficult to be a happy person.
People seek perfectionism for many reasons.
It can be low-self esteem, having unreasonable expectations of oneself and comparing themselves to other people.
This is where self-love comes in.
hiMoment can help you celebrate you.
It allows you to write down what makes you happy on a daily basis, and then builds a collection of all your happy moments.
If you’re still not sure where to start, we recommend adding one moment that made you proud per day.
If you suffer from low-self esteem it might be difficult to come up with something. However, it can be anything really, even something small like doing errands, finishing homework, exercising, giving a compliment to someone.
You see, happiness is like any other muscle. It must be trained in order to be in top shape.
Writing down one thing that you’re proud of every single day is like a training where the end goal is to build your self-esteem and increase your self-love.
Ready to start training?
Cultivate Gratitude and Focus on The Future
You may find it weird to feel grateful for the past mistakes, but maybe these mistakes helped you learn some important life lessons.
At the same time, you can start cultivating gratitude in your everyday life.
hiMoment can send you daily reminders and encourage you to add and be aware of all the good moments that happen in your life.
“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein
The past is behind us. We can focus on the present and orient our actions towards the future.
Set new goals and have something to look forward to. Thinking about the past will be less likely then.
If you find it difficult to forgive yourself and if you deal with a lot of negative emotions, the best thing you could do is seek support.
You could be stuck on one pattern of thinking so that you’re simply not able to see things from a more objective point of view.
In that case, it’s best to seek support. Talk with a friend or seek group support.
However, if you’re going through really difficult moments, seeking a professional help and talking with a therapist is most likely the best solution.