How to Forgive Yourself and Move On: 10 Tips
By Vex King, Guest Contributor
Knowing how to forgive yourself can be very challenging. Guilt is something that a lot of people struggle with for many different reasons, and if you know that you’ve done something you’re not proud of at some point in the past, there’s a chance that this is a feeling that you know only too well.
However, the good news is that it really doesn’t have to be this way. If you know how, you should find that you are able to use some key tips to let go of the past, and this should mean that you are able to live your life in a much better, and guilt free way without letting things that you cannot change take over your experience of the future.
These handy tips, which are easy to implement into your life, will help you to reclaim your life, and should mean that you are able to enjoy yourself again.
1. Know that you cannot change what has happened
The one thing that is certain in life is that we can never go back to the past and change anything that has happened, as much as we might want to at times – so living in the past is never something that is going to bring you any happiness in the present or in the future.
You should accept that what’s done is done, and that there is no way to change that. Once you have done so, you should find that your head is a little clearer to allow you to move forward slowly but surely so that you can work through the things that have happened in the past.
“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” – Bernard Meltzer
2. Reassess your morals and ideals
Everybody on the planet has a set of ideals that they need to live by, but how well do you really know yours? To what extent are you actually living by your own ideals at all, or how many of your morals are chosen because you think it’s what will please other people the most?
In order to be truly happy and content with your life, you need to think about your own opinions, consider why you hold those opinions, and then try to put them into play on a daily basis in the way that you live. Many people find that they’re living by the beliefs that they feel they should have, rather than by the ones that they actually have, and the difference between the two feels uncomfortable.
We usually feel guilt for things we’ve done in the past because the actions related to those things are not in line with our actual or current moral values. When we identify our morals values, we start to paint a clearer picture as to why we’re hurting, and as a result, we can learn a lot about ourselves…
3. Understand your biggest regrets
A lot of guilt in life comes from things that we regret, and it is important that we know just what those things are, and why we regret them. By thinking about what it is that we actually feel guilty about, and why, we should start to understand our feelings a little more.
It will also help us to think about why we did what we regret, and what we can do to avoid making the same mistake in the future. A regret is not just a mistake – it can also be a lesson that will help you in the rest of your life.
“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” – Doe Zantamata
4. Move on and let go
If you’re going to be happy in the rest of your life, you need to fully let go of the past, and acknowledge that you have done so.
If you don’t let go completely, you will find that the guilt pops up when you least expect it, and you will fear this happening – so you will never really be able to move forward. It will also take a toll on your emotional and physical health, especially if you hold on to emotions such as anger and resentment. Remember, these negative feelings will only attract more of the same through the Law of Attraction.
Sometimes people think that moving on means forgetting, but it doesn’t. Moving on simply means that you don’t let the things that were once bothering you, come in-between your thoughts anymore… and consequently affect your well-being. You will know when you have moved on, because you will have a sense of freedom and understand that you can be happy and free again.
5. Be kind to yourself
One of the reasons that so many of us carry guilt around on a daily basis is thanks to the fact that, on the whole, we are far too harsh with ourselves when it comes to judging our actions and thoughts. Everybody makes small mistakes in life, it is one of the things that makes us human, but it is how we learn from them that will ultimately decide who we grow to become.
Being too self-critical is only going to make you struggle more in the future, so by treating yourself with the same kindness that you would treat a friend if they spoke to you about their worries, you should find that you are able to move on from the small things before they all group together and become larger hurdles that you’re just unable to get over.
6. Learn to love yourself
You’re human, which means you will have flaws – but it also means that you will have a great deal of plus points, too. Show yourself some self-love! Being able to identify your plus points is hugely helpful when it comes to loving yourself, and you should soon see that you are an amazing person – even if you do things that aren’t amazing, sometimes.
“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” – Leo F. Buscaglia
7. Apologise if others are involved
If you have hurt someone, then always say sorry to them. Although sorry won’t change what’s occurred or even your relationship with that person, it will give you some sort of peace.
Too many times, people are too afraid to apologise, or just don’t bother doing it because they don’t think it will make much of a difference. Just the simple act of saying sorry can provide a clearer conscience for yourself, and also bring some peace to the person you have hurt.
8. Practice meditation
Meditation is great for improving your well-being and sense of self. The reason we struggle to forgive ourselves is because of our own conscious thoughts that are constantly berating us. Meditation is effective because it helps us silence our mind and find our inner peace. It’s fantastic for physical relaxation and will help you get in touch with your inner-self.
“Meditation is like giving a hug to ourselves, getting in touch with that awesome reality in us. While meditating we feel a deep sense of intimacy with God, a love that is inexplicable.” – Paramahansa Yogananda
9. Be grateful
As simple as this sounds, being grateful will prevent you from being hateful towards others, and yourself. Keep focusing on all the good in your life; this is the most essential factor of happiness. Practice gratitude as often as you can and you will soon start seeing more positive experiences unfold in your life, which will help you move on.
10. Get professional help, if you need it
If you find that none of the tips above seem to be working for you, and you don’t think that you will ever be able to move on from something that has happened in your life on your own, then you may find that you need some professional help to get you through it. This is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is something that many people have to go through at some point in their lives, so if you feel you need help, please ask for it – as it could be the start of a bright new future for you.
“In order to heal we must first forgive… and sometimes the person we must forgive is ourselves.” – Mila Bron
So, although you may find that you struggle with feelings of guilt at some points in your life, by using the tips above you should find that you are able to move on from them. Nobody is perfect, and by discovering new ways to deal with things that happen to you, you will be able to embrace life and start to live it to the full – which of course is something that most people aim for. There is a great life out there, and getting rid of your guilt means that you will really be able to start living it.
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About the Author: Vex King is a writer and and web administrator who focuses on topics like positive living and abundance. To see more of Vex’s work, check out his website at BonVitaStyle.com.
This is my favourite article and resonates with my situation so well. I am having hard time forgiving myself & let go and after reading this, i have some homework to do! You have provided beautiful ideas/steps. Thank you
Thanks NV! 🙂 Forgiving the self is one of the very most important things we can do <3
i am struggling with finding peace, forgiving myself and loving myself