‘I’m sorry’ are two of the most under used words in the world. And we never say them to ourselves. If you’ve done something wrong in life, first apologise to those you have hurt, and then apologise to yourself to take that first step in forgiving yourself. You can’t punish yourself forever, so we learn from our mistake and do better in the future.
Step 1: Know That You Have Made A Mistake
Your first step is putting your ego aside and admitting that you made a mistake. You have to accept responsibility for your actions to start the process of moving on.
No more making excuses for your behaviour.
To realise your mistake and to own it, is the start of improving yourself.
Step 2: Love Yourself
Once you’ve realised your mistake, you view yourself differently. Am I a bad guy? Am I the villain in the story? But these aren’t the questions to be asking yourself, there aren’t good or bad people in the world. Just people who make the wrong decisions, but these can be experiences to learn from.
You shouldn’t look at yourself any differently, you are still you. Just with another experience under your belt, not all those experiences in life are going to be positives. We don’t learn from positive experiences, the bad ones teaches us the most.
Making mistakes just show you that you are human. We don’t get it perfect every time, we make mistakes, and we take this on board. There isn’t a need to continue punishing yourself for it for ever.
Step 3: Learn To Improve
This is where the magic happens. This is where we learn to forgive ourselves and to improve ourselves. These come hand in hand.
The mistake has happened, there’s no changing that. So take what you can from the experience, learn what was not acceptable behaviour and don’t repeat it.
For example, you made a joke about someones weight and you hurt their feelings. You have learnt that their weight is a sensitive topic and to not mention it again.
Change is needed at this stage to allow you to forgive yourself otherwise you’ll never move on.
Step 4: Group Feedback
If you’re unsure yourself on how to move forward, those that love you will be able to help. You just have to be open to receiving constructive criticism.
Ask for the opinion of friends and family, or strangers you have met in a bar if you’re really struggling to get over the situation. Ask what they would do to rectify the problem, and how to improve yourself so it won’t happen again.
They’ll be able to offer a different perspective, to give you the perspective from the other persons point of view. To help you identify the wrong doings, and what should be changed.
Your parents will always listen, and most likely they’ll always take your side so be careful if they are overly biased in their opinion. However, they’ll help in grounding you in the experience, and not letting you get lost in your own head.
It’s also important to note that if your friends and family love you, even after you tell them what you did wrong, then you can love yourself too. You can forgive yourself because you can do better, and will do better.
Step 5: Acceptance
Time spent sulking and wallowing over the problem won’t change it. You need to accept that no matter how long you spend moping about the mistake, there is no going back. So what do we do… we move forward.
Forgiving yourself is not forgetting the mistake. You should always remember what went wrong, so you always know to do better.
Then apply the lessons learnt everyday.
The good thing about learning to forgive yourself is that you forgive others much easier as well. A healthier cycle of forgiveness and acceptance.