I have strong opinions on things. What can I say? It’s in my DNA. I’m going to do it my way, even if I fail. But honestly, I’d much rather fail and continue to learn than always think I’m right and never grow. That’s my approach and it applies to all parts of my life, especially moments when you need to forgive yourself.
First, let me just say, if you are really struggling, see a therapist! I’m pro therapy all day, every day! If you find that nothing you do is working, reach out and ask for help. There is no shame in needing help.
I was always somebody that had to figure things out on my own. At one point, I was no longer able to do that and needed help. I’m forever grateful to have a referral to a great therapist.
I am no psychologist and I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I’m going to tell you what works for me and what doesn’t work. When we fail spectacularly, we can laugh (hopefully) or cry together. We can celebrate our victories together. Yay, us! Either way, if you are reading my blogs, we are in this together.
You and I both know the tough times when you are struggling to forgive are the moments that can lead you to the therapist’s office. Whether you see a therapist or not, I want to share my forgiveness tips and techniques to help you live life on your terms.
Let’s talk about forgiveness.
Everyone keeps saying you need to forgive and forget in order to heal. I say bullsh*t. Why forgive someone who isn’t sorry for their actions? Should you really forgive someone who keeps saying they are sorry but doesn’t change their behavior? Instead of forgiving that person, why not try forgiving yourself?
Forgive yourself for accepting less than you deserve. Forgive yourself for allowing someone to treat you poorly. Forgive yourself for listening and believing in someone who lied to you. Forgive yourself for being so hard on yourself.
This is all easier said than done, I know! It took me a while to figure out how to forgive myself. Let’s talk about the benefits first.
Research shows if we forgive ourselves, we have a more positive attitude and healthier relationships. It also lowers anxiety and depression. All of this gives us better physical and emotional health. All great reasons to figure out how to forgive ourselves, don’t you think?
Let’s talk about how to forgive yourself.
Learn from Every Experience
Treat each experience in life as an opportunity to learn. When you focus on what you can learn from every situation, it helps you focus on how you can forgive yourself. Even the bad can teach us something!
Sometimes you will face a tough situation and you will need to do some work to reframe the circumstances so you can learn and move forward.
Here are some examples of how you can reframe difficult situations:
1. I’m not going to do this again.
2. This was tough, but I learned who I don’t want to be.
3. I don’t want to be around people like this.
4. This is the exact kind of behavior I will no longer accept.
5. This is an opportunity to set boundaries (SO, SO important.)
I’m sure there are other things we could add to this list. Feel free to comment and share what you’ve learned in difficult situations. We can all learn together!
Journal Your Forgiveness
Journaling is the most important thing I do to help myself. Specifically, I practice Daily Gratitude Journaling. Focusing on gratitude helps me get in a positive mindset. When I am in a more positive mindset, I find it easier to work on self-care and self-forgiveness. Such a game-changer for me!
My Gratitude Journal makes it easy for you to start your own practice. Give it a try!
When I am really struggling with forgiveness, I will write myself a letter. Wait, what? Yes, a letter. Writing a letter to myself helps me forgive myself when times are really tough. I will write things like:
1. Michelle, I know you are hurting and it’s okay. Just don’t stay there. You are stronger than that.
2. What (insert name) did to you was wrong and painful. I know you are angry with yourself for allowing that to happen. We all make mistakes and you will get through this.
3. Michelle, you deserve better than this. Forgive yourself and move past it. I know you can!
Significant tip: Journal about your tough experiences. Write out all the things that hurt you and how it made you feel. Write a letter to the person who hurt you. Tell them everything you either couldn’t say or didn’t want to say. Puke it all out on paper. Then shred it. Just releasing how you felt will help. Really, it will!!
Silence the Inner Critic
In order to forgive myself, I had to quit listening to my inner critic. Whenever I feel like I’m giving negative thoughts and emotions too much attention, I get clear on what my mind is telling me.
I ask myself: is this benefiting me or helping me to move on? If not, I have to refocus on something else. I literally tell myself, NO MORE! Then, I choose to focus on something that makes me feel good.
It gets easier with practice, I promise!
There are many more ways to help yourself with forgiveness but I am going to give you just one last thing I had to work hard on.
Stop Replaying It In Your Mind
In the past, when something difficult would happen to me, I would replay the event or feelings over and over in my mind. I would try to figure out why it happened or why it made me feel that way.
Some processing is beneficial however when we just keep replaying it and the only purpose it’s serving is to be hard on ourselves, we need to learn to stop. This is where intention comes in again.
We have to stop ourselves and ask, is this really helping me? If not, move past it.
Be Strong and Move Past
Ever had someone tell you to quit being a victim? I find it comical when someone who is abusing you says that. I may have been a victim when you did something wrong to me…but I never stay a victim! I am a warrior and a survivor. You are too! I come out stronger and healthier when life challenges me. So can you!
When somebody tells me to quit being a victim now, I reply with, “Why don’t you stop trying to make me one?”
I love Edwin Louis Cole’s quote, “You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” You certainly don’t fail by making a mistake. You fail when you do nothing to fix it. It’s in your power to change your circumstances and you can choose to forgive yourself.
I used to get quite anxious when things were looking like they were going to fail. I despised failing at anything. When I started to look at them as lessons, I realized I was learning more than I ever could have if things never went wrong. If we just stay where we are, we are sure to drown. Let go, move on and don’t remain in your mistakes!
Sometimes we do have to learn things the hard way. My specialty, I think! I’ve learned not everyone deserves your attention. Not everyone deserves your forgiveness. So, I’m going to forgive myself instead!
As always, I welcome your feedback! I enjoy hearing from you. Feel free to send me an email at email@example.com with questions you have or topics you would like to learn more about! Have an amazing week!
Live life on your terms!