Last week an incident reminded me of an ugly time in my past, and it affected me negatively. I wasn't able to focus on the present and it took me a lot of effort to bounce back. I gave it some thought and realised that it was because there was no closure, and I never forgave myself for it. Deep down the negative energy could still be felt.
But how do I forgive myself? How do I put the past behind me and move on?
As one would always do in times of need, I turn to Oprah for answers. Surprisingly, the article on The Oprah Magazine website (by Caitlin Abber) offered tips that I have found to be absolutely helpful. It was exactly what I needed.
1. Remember that it’s OK to feel guilty. The feeling of guilt allows us to recognise what exactly we did wrong, and enables us to repair that damage, and eventually heal from our mistake.
2. Admit you messed up. You need to own your mistakes. A lot of times, we turn to denial to protect ourselves from what we did wrong, but this doesn’t help the situation.
3. If you’ve hurt anyone, apologise to them before you can forgive yourself. If you’ve done what you can to make amends, start moving on - regardless if the person forgives you (because you can’t control how others choose to feel)
4. Write yourself an apology note. You need to know that this error in your past does not define who you are. Write to yourself with compassion, ask yourself how much you’ve changed, and soothe yourself like what you would do to a friend.
5. Learn from your mistake. Obviously.. if you’re trying to move on from it, don’t do it again.
6. Be patient with yourself. You can’t rush your feelings. Acknowledge your faults and take it a day at a time, and accept that there’s nothing more you can do except doing better in the future.
7. Be grateful for your mistakes, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Acknowledge that they are a part of life, and we are only human. Look at them as a stepping stone, and because of them, you are who you are today.
How do you forgive yourself?