You’ve started on the path of forgiveness. This is not an easy path, but there are many positive benefits. If you haven’t started on the path yet, see my post “How Can I Forgive When It Seems Too Hard” to learn more.
The path of forgiveness often opens your eyes to wrongs you have done and how these wrongs have affected others.
Sometimes forgiving yourself is more difficult than forgiving others.
Acknowledge your actions
An article from the Mayo Clinic advises you to acknowledge your actions and how those actions have harmed others. Sometimes it is hard to admit to mistakes.
Maybe you lied to a friend and your lie created big problems for your friend. Maybe you forgot an important anniversary. You passed along some gossip that hurt a friend.
We are all human and we all make mistakes. Sometimes we make poor choices and our choices hurt others.
Ask for forgiveness
If you made a mistake or a poor choice consider talking to those you hurt. Admit your mistake and ask for forgiveness. Make a plan to do better in the future and stick to it.
What if you hurt someone on purpose?
You may have acted in anger and said some hurtful things. A friend hurt you and you retaliated. Perhaps you hurt someone just because you did not like them.
Situations like these are even more difficult. It is even harder to admit we harmed someone intentionally. How can you forgive yourself if you wanted to harm someone?
You can forgive yourself – no matter what!
The Mayo Clinic article advises you to “…avoid judging yourself too harshly.” Judging yourself traps the anger, guilt and shame in your mind and body. This only serves to keep you feeling the pain and does not help you become a better person.
Consider asking for forgiveness if you hurt someone on purpose. Remember you cannot force someone to forgive you. Acknowledge that you have done your best to resolve the situation.
If asking for forgiveness in this situation seems too difficult, work toward forgiving yourself. One way to forgive yourself is to release any limiting emotions – fear, guilt, shame – using the poetry of emotion process. Promise yourself that you will not repeat this behavior in the future.
Be a better you in the future
The Mayo Clinic article concludes with the following: “Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.” Forgiving yourself can help you become the person you always wanted to be.
How will your life change when you have finally forgiven yourself?
(Image: la_farfalla @ Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/la_farfalla_22/6270016020/)