When You Can’t Stop Beating Yourself Up for Past Mistakes
As tough as it can be to forgive others at times, most of us tend to be much harder on ourselves; in fact we are often our own worst critics.
You can’t stop beating yourself up for something you did. Maybe it was a moment of carelessness, or maybe if wasn’t your fault at all but you simply let it happen, or you believe you could have prevented it from happening but didn’t.
Whatever the mistake was, you can’t let it go and it’s preventing you from moving forward in your life.
Pain, resentment, guilt, anger, and fear… all of these feelings bubble up inside of us when we think back on our mistakes. I think we have all experienced these feelings at some point, I know I have.
As tough as it can be to forgive others at times, most of us tend to be much harder on ourselves; in fact we are often our own worst critics. If you’ve made mistakes in the past, and can’t seem to let go of the baggage or mentally rerun the experience over and over, you have two choices.
You can carry the burden of all your past mistakes for the rest of your life, or you can accept you have the power to forgive yourself and move on. Both choices are yours to make …but you must choose.
The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that that situation is over, you cannot move forward. ~Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
The healing begins by giving “permission” to forgive yourself.
The first step to forgiving yourself can be summed up in one word…“permission.” This is not something someone else can do for you. Forgiving yourself is something YOU have to do FOR YOURSELF.
Some people choose to carry their guilt around as though somehow it will force them to become better people. Feeling guilty will NOT help you improve or lead to positive change and repeatedly beating yourself up has never produced anything but really lousy self-esteem. Why … because it focuses the blame on the “person” rather than the behavior.
Instead of wallowing in guilt and self-pity, a better choice would be to accept responsibility for your actions and accept that you are not perfect; you are human and as such from time to time you will make mistakes … even royally screw up on occasion. If you must condemn… condemn the mistake… NOT the mistake maker.
Be willing to ask for forgiveness.
Once you forgive yourself, it’s also important to clear the air if others were hurt as a result of your actions (or inaction). A face to face apology is always the most effective approach. However, depending on the situation, it could be someone from your past who is no longer in your life, or you may simply be afraid to ask for forgiveness.
If asking for forgiveness in person is really out of the question, try writing a letter of forgiveness. Letter writing actually works very well because the process of writing the letter actually assists you in forgiving yourself by reducing pent-up, internal feelings of guilt. It lets you express your thoughts and process all of the internal drama that has bottled-up in your mind.
Learning to forgive yourself is very powerful – instead of resenting yourself for something you did a week or 10 years ago – you make the habit of forgiveness more and more of a natural part of you. And so forgiving others becomes easier in the process.
I’d like to end with this quote by Leonardo da Vinci because it does such a beautiful job of explaining life … “Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.” ~Leonardo da Vinci
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