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  • Writer's pictureEve da Silva Msc, PgDip

How To Forgive Yourself For Past Mistakes

I want to move on from past mistakes. I don't feel that I deserve forgiveness.

Forgiving yourself for past mistakes can be one of life's most painful processes. This is especially true if you find it uncomfortable to think kind thoughts toward yourself or to recognise your vulnerable side.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Mahatma Gandhi

Learning from mistakes is key to developing self-awareness.

The difficulty with mistakes that we find it difficult to forgive ourselves for is that those mistakes are usually most associated with strong, negative emotions. Remembering past mistakes can activate feelings of shame, anger, sadness and fear. Continuing to blame and criticise yourself, withholding forgiveness and self-compassion means the impact of your mistakes is still affecting you (and possibly those around you) negatively in the present moment. Therein lies the vicious cycle you may find yourself within, and perhaps this is what has led you to this post.

The good news is that there is a way out of this common trap that many of us find ourselves in. It may not feel easy but the alternative is for your current (and future) self to be trapped by mistakes that you can learn from and move on from.

Ways to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes

  1. Learn self-compassion

  2. Use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques

  3. Speak to a counsellor or therapist

  4. Journal

  5. Let yourself process your emotions

  6. Do something symbolic

It is a powerful first step that you have taken the time to consider ways to forgive yourself. This indicates that you are in a contemplative or active motivational stage when it comes to making positive change to your life. It is worth noticing that even this step may feel tricky or vulnerable for you and if that is the case, all the more power to you for tapping into your bravery to move forward. It takes courage to face ourselves and also to forgive ourselves. I hope you will keep going, it will be worth it.

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