“You jerk! How could you do something so stupid?!!” You’ve probably heard someone say that before – maybe to you, maybe to someone else. A lot of people say that to themselves – do you? Maybe you use different words, but you know what I mean. You’re a screw-up and you know it. You are just waiting for the rest of the world to realize it.
Guess what? That’s not true. You are an amazing individual with unique gifts and talents. No, really, there’s no one in the whole world just like you. Can you please give yourself a break?
Let me tell you a secret – if you will cut yourself some slack and forgive yourself for your shortcomings instead of screaming at yourself every time you mess up, you will develop more confidence. That confidence will help you improve your performance in every area of life – which means you’ll stop “messing up” so much. Really – try it, it works.
I did. I was amazed at how much confidence I felt when I started practicing a new method for dealing with my failures. Instead of berating myself on how badly I screwed up, I simply said, “Well, it is what it is. I wish I had handled things differently, but it’s not the end of the world. No one died. There’s always tomorrow.”
And I let it go. I chose not to obsess about how I should have done things differently – you think that helps, but it doesn’t. It just wastes your mental space.
Most people have a really hard time forgiving themselves. They feel guilty and think they should feel bad – that somehow this helps them become a better person. The opposite is true. Choosing to forgive yourself is the most powerful choice you can make for yourself and your future mental health.
3 Misconceptions About Forgiveness
There are three misconceptions that could be holding you back.
1. Forgiving Is Wrong
If I forgive, I’m saying that what I did was okay. It wasn’t okay – it was wrong. No, if it was wrong, then it is still wrong. Holding onto the guilt doesn’t somehow make it “right” again. Forgiving yourself is a separate process. Admit what was wrong with what you did. Why was it wrong? Fix it if you can. The best thing you can do is learn from it, forgive yourself and move on. You owe it to your future self.
2. Forgiving Yourself Before Others Forgive You
I can’t forgive myself until the person I hurt is willing to forgive me. That’s a tough one. They might never forgive you. Then what? You stay stuck for the rest of your life? No, you don’t deserve that. Everyone deserves a second chance. Admit what you did was wrong. Ask their forgiveness if you can. Whether or not they choose to forgive you is their issue, not yours. You deserve to be free of the past – let it go. Choose to forgive yourself and become a better person.
3) Holding On To Guilt
I’m making myself pay for what I did by feeling bad about it. A lot of people hold onto the guilt they feel thinking that it will help them become a better person.
The opposite is what actually happens. When you hold onto the guilt, you feel bad about yourself. It influences the way you see yourself and the world around you. When you feel bad about yourself, you tend to make bad decisions. You won’t become the person you want to be by holding onto what you did wrong.
However, if you choose to forgive yourself, you have a chance of making better choices in the future because you will feel better about yourself. It really works – try it!
The one person you need to forgive now is YOU. You are your own best friend. If you are at war with yourself, you cannot become all that you want to be. Your image of yourself is tarnished when you hold onto past mistakes. It’s time to take back what is yours – your sense of identity and who you WANT to be. Don’t let the chains of unforgiveness hold you back from a bright and beautiful future that is waiting for you. Forgive today – you deserve it!
Choosing to forgive yourself is the most powerful choice you can make for yourself and your future mental health.