Why You Need to Forgive Yourself
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Stress Management Coaching
Psychologist Marc Muchnick Ph.D. suggests that hanging on to regret can have a powerful hold on us. Muchnick says we need to make or find peace within ourselves to release feelings of loss, heartache, and disappointment. He also says, "A critical piece of being able to let go of our deepest regrets can make peace with ourselves." 
Unfortunately, we often spend too much time living with regret about things we may have done.

Sometimes you feel regret over things that are not even your fault!

Without self-awareness, regret can come to dominate your life. It can even impact the path your life takes by influencing your life choices. In most cases, the wrongs you may have done will have been long since forgiven by others. But you can be far harder on yourself than other people are. As a result, you may find it impossible to forgive yourself.

The Importance of Self-forgiveness

According to the mental health experts at Westbridge, the road to wellness can often be blocked by blame and resentment. They suggest that people carrying guilt will find it challenging to find a place of comfort. This can lead to problems with low self-esteem and a constant feeling of being unworthy.
When people can forgive themselves, they quickly find they need the tools to improve their own lives. Letting go of regret and guilt allows people to take a new outlook on their lives.

The ability to forgive oneself also allows us to understand ourselves better.

Once we understand our motives and wants, we can become more at peace with who we are.

Making Peace Through Forgiveness


Nothing can bring your peace but yourself

Psychotherapist and social worker Amy Morin says that being stuck in the past is one of the most common issues she encounters in her patients. She feels many people struggle to make peace with their past, which can block their future potential.
We sometimes dwell on things that we have done, especially those things that may have harmed others. Allowing ourselves to dwell on these things is a way in which we punish ourselves. Finding a way to forgive ourselves will enable us to let go of past problems and find peace.

How to Forgive Yourself

Therapist Hannah Rose LCPC believes that you can not shame yourself into growth. Instead, she suggests that only by self-forgiveness and self-compassion can you move forward in life. Reaching this self-forgiveness is a process, but you will be more at peace with yourself once you get there.

The steps to finding it within yourself to forgive the things you have done include...

  • Acknowledgment:   


You must first identify what it is for which you need forgiveness. It is entirely possible to feel guilty and not understand why! It is therefore essential to look inward and know what you think you did wrong.


You also need to understand who you may have hurt and genuinely assess the seriousness of the harm done.


  • Get to the Truth:

Once you know why you feel guilty, you need to assess your motives. Were you trying to cause harm? You may realize that rather than being malicious in intent, maybe you just made a mistake and meant no harm.
In this context, intentionality is important. If you meant to harm someone, you need to acknowledge it and make reparations if you can. But if it was harm caused by an error, remember that we all make mistakes. Is it possible that you are too hard on yourself?
  • Does It Make You a Bad Person?

If you did something to hurt someone deliberately, the next thing we need to do is ask yourself is, "Are you still that same person?" "Do you truly regret the harm you caused, and has the guilt changed you?"
If you can honestly say you are not that person anymore, you can start to forgive yourself.
  • Forgiving Yourself

To seek the forgiveness of others, you first must seek to forgive yourself. When you forgive yourself, you are forced to face the facts of your shortcomings. In accepting that you are imperfect and facing the consequences, you can finally find peace.
Forgiving yourself is an essential step in growth and self-acceptance. It is a fact that no one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, sometimes those mistakes have tragic consequences. But if you want to move forward with your life after a tragic event, you may need to start with forgiving yourself for your part in the situation. And move on from there.
Until next time.
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Phoenix Rising Coaching
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