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April 7, 2019

How to Forgive Myself

Addiction can invoke feelings of shame and embarrassment for past actions and decisions which can be difficult to move on from and forgive yourself for. If you’ve struggled with learning to forgive yourself, there are some simple ways to help move forward and forgive yourself for the past. While there is certainly no quick-fix method for forgiving yourself, there are steps you can take to help make progress in moving towards forgiving yourself for past errors and regrets.

If you have lingering regret from your substance abuse days, just know that is normal. However, if you want to change your life for the better, perhaps after your time in an inpatient drug rehab, you have to work on yourself as well. Just because you stopped using drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean your life will instantly go back to the way it was before drinking or using drugs. The road to recovery is a long process, one that is both mental and physical in nature.

Below are a number of different ways to help teach you how to forgive yourself.

How to Forgive Myself: Moving On From the Past

The thoughts you carry around with you each day can have a profound effect on both your physical and mental health. In order to forgive, it’s important to confront your regrets in life and come to terms with them. You want to be able to learn from the mistakes in your life, commit yourself to not repeating them in the future, and give yourself permission for forgiveness.

Acknowledge Your Mistake and Think of It as a Learning Experience

If you don’t take full responsibility for what you regret doing, you will have a difficult time coming to terms with your actions and moving forward from them with forgiveness. By thinking of your mistake as a learning experience, you can work towards forgiving yourself and work towards not repeating the same mistake again in the future. Think through what you would change if you could so if you find yourself in a similar situation, you are prepared and ready to make different choices.

Talk to Someone Close About How You’re Feeling

Whether the person you choose to confide in is a professional, a family member, or a friend, it can be helpful to talk to someone about your guilt and shame. You’re not a bad person, just because you may have made a wrong decision does not mean you can’t learn to give yourself forgiveness.

For some, it can be helpful to have someone else encourage you to forgive yourself and give you permission to move past your mistake. Everyone has things that they wish they could do differently and by talking to someone else about how you are feeling, you can help put that into perspective and feel less alone in the forgiveness process.

Recognize and Confront Unrealistic Expectations You May Have

Sometimes individuals can unconsciously impose unrealistic expectations on themselves and then feel guilt and shame when they fail to meet these expectations. To forgive yourself, it can be helpful to take stock of any unrealistic expectations you may be harboring and to try to realign thems so that they are more realistic to your current situation. You may find that some of the guilt and regret you have been holding onto is misplaced and you need to show yourself a bit more leniency in order to forgive the shortcomings you perceive yourself to have.

Identify Your Feelings and Take a Moment to Move Past Them

Regrets have a way of resurfacing again and again and in order to move past the stressful and painful feelings they may evoke, you need to confront those feelings and find a way to move past them. When you feel yourself starting to feel stressed, take a moment to consider whether it is because of something you have done that you regret. By continuously punishing yourself for mistakes you’ve made, you won’t be able to move forward. Instead, when you find yourself dwelling on something you regret, try to consciously redirect your energy into something more positive that you can change today.

Apologize

If you are having trouble forgiving yourself for something you did to someone else, it can be useful to apologize to them. By delivering a sincere apology, you won’t change the past, but you can help make sure they know that you have thought about your actions, regret them, and will not replicate them in the future. A sincere apology can help be a step in moving past an event that has caused you built-up anger or feelings of guilt. It can also be helpful to try to do something kind for those you have hurt to try to help make amends and to channel your energy into a positive change.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a drug addiction and need guidance, our Florida treatment center is here to help. Contact Beach House Recovery today to learn more about our short term and long term residential treatment programs.

Sources:

  • Healthline. “How to Forgive Yourself.” Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-forgive-yourself#1.
  • Prevention. “12 Ways to Forgive Yourself for a Past Mistake.” Retrieved from https://www.prevention.com/life/g20512857/how-to-forgive-yourself-no-matter-what/.
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