Learning to forgive yourself and others can be powerful and fundamental in your evolution as a human being. It does seem easier said than done at times, but it can help you heal your wounds and make you happier. Your happiness depends on the internal process of forgiveness, on being more inclined to come to terms with the past and all its suffering, anger and resentment. This process implies changing your focus from blame to a positive direction, and it is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Studies have shown that forgiving people are happier, healthier and more connected to the world around them. Here are the best things you need to do to learn how to forgive yourself and others:
1. Know the difference between forget and forgive – Forgetting implies taking the entire memory out of your mind, refusing to remember a hurtful event or even pretending it did not happen. However, even if you might be able to forget, it does not mean that you are also capable of forgiving yourself and others, especially when the consequences of the actions are utterly destructive.
Forgiveness has to come with letting go of the anger and resentment, transforming the negative thoughts of the past into positive feelings of the present. To forgive yourself and others, you have to decide to shift your focus from blame and look to the future with confidence and trust.
2. Take responsibility – Instead of trying to forget, take responsibility for your actions and learn how to accept the outcomes. This is true about your interactions with other people, as well, and the reactions you have from them. Before being able to forgive, you have to ask yourself some hard question and search deep within your mind for the real reasons behind what happened, how you influenced the situation and how could have prevented it.
3. Ask forgiveness from others – If you ever hurt someone or made mistakes, you need to ask forgiveness from that person. In order to move on with a positive attitude, you have take responsibility for your actions and make amends to those you have wronged.
When asking for forgiveness, you have to be sincere and show remorse about what you have done wrong, acknowledge the significance of your deeds and admit your guilt in the most vulnerable way – say “sorry” full-heartedly.
4. Accept your imperfections – Humans commit mistakes. Therefore, you have to accept your flaws and try to live a mindful life, that will allow you to learn from your past missteps and improve your future happiness.
If you made a mistake, ask for forgiveness and create a purpose for yourself not to repeat it again and stop living in a negative past. Think of your mistakes as learning experiences that shape your personality and embrace the positive parts of your experiences.
5. Be proud of yourself – You are unique, you have worked hard at creating your own identity and developing into the person you are today, and you deserve respect and appreciation from the ones around. You have to be the first one to love yourself for what you have accomplished and how you plan to improve your life.
If you decide to commit to your own development, you will find it much easier to believe in yourself and the promises made to yourself are the ones that make you the proudest. Sometimes self-criticism can bring you down and become the source of your anxiety, depression, and unhappiness, so you must fight it off. You have to be patient with yourself and accept it takes some time to become the person you want to be and avoid comparisons to others.
You should enjoy your personal journey, be the best that you can be every day, take joy in your experiences and be proud of yourself.
6. Count your blessings – Expressing your gratitude or being thankful for the things you have is really important. This will change your entire life – the way you see it, the way you handle your problems and the way you cope with the daily challenges. In the search for forgiveness, gratitude plays an important role because it allows you to focus on the positive parts of your life, pushing away the negative feelings.
Gratitude means learning to live life as if all things are miracles and it also means being fully aware of how much you have been given already. It is also good to note that psychological and behavioral research has shown that the most amazing improvements in our lives come from the daily practice of gratitude. Being thankful and appreciating life and the things life offers us makes us more resilient and even happier. Gratitude opens your heart to happiness and love, and this helps in forgiving yourself and others.
7. Seek a Professional Help – If you feel you cannot handle your situation by yourself, you should seek help from experts. Reaching out for help is essential because it will allow you to continue or improve the process of self-forgiveness if you ever feel you are stuck. Depending on your choice, there are also many interesting books that can teach you about forgiving yourself and other people.