New Year 2018 and a new start…..
Each New Year we can start a new chapter in our life and if you have made mistakes in the past that had caused you to feel unworthy of enjoying life to the fullest, then you may need to forgive yourself. All of us make mistakes, so there is no need to beat yourself up over them. It’s part of being human. Also, if you have been carrying around a huge baggage of emotional hurt because of a childhood trauma or the like, it may be time to learn to forgive yourself.
How to begin to Forgive Yourself Right Now
1. Accept yourself and your flaws.
You are okay as you are, even with your flaws! Your flaws, rather than making you “less” of a person, are what make you who you are. There is no such thing as perfect; everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes help you learn and grow as a person, sometimes we get it wrong before we can get it right. You must accept yourself exactly as you are now if you are to progress in life.
2. Talk to someone.
It really helps to share your baggage with someone you trust. Someone who can provide a safe space for you to release and listen without prejudice. When you’re upset at yourself, emotions can cloud your reasoning abilities. A friend will often point out a reason why you deserve to forgive yourself that you never would have seen yourself.
3. Do the best friend test.
Imagine your best friend had done exactly what you did and then came to you for advice. What would you tell them? You would comfort and reassure them, and tell them not to be so hard on themselves. You would tell them that everyone makes mistakes.
4. Be kinder to yourself
We often give ourselves “self talk”, that we would never, ever say to another, even those we dislike. We can be our worst critic, reminding ourselves of every error and mistake whilst forgetting everything we are getting right! Question the self talk. If you would say better things to a friend who had done the same, say that now to yourself, even as you look at yourself in a mirror.
5. Be your own best friend!
Decide from this day onwards as soon as you catch yourself saying those harsh words you immediately say in your mind the word “STOP!” Then replace them with the words you might say to a dear friend in the same position. Feel how kinder that is, and how much you are beginning to feel like you actually do like yourself more, you may have to do this a lot because you are forming a new positive habit.
6. Find the positive in the negative
Take stock of the situation. Sometimes when we look back we have done some of our most important work or our most important life changes, after mistakes, failures or even after a disaster. Good and bad happens in life sometimes.
7. Ask a good question to focus on better solutions
Know there is something important to learn here. Ask what this has taught you, or what can you do differently next time. This will focus you back on track again in the right direction.
8. Move on
Seek help if you need it, and place your best foot firmly forward, but don’t stay stuck. If you have gaps in your knowledge or even have no clue what to do next, don’t be afraid to seek the help you need. This could be a good coach, a trusted therapist, a knowledgeable friend or someone who already excels in what it is you now want to achieve. You will get the results you want quicker using what others have already learned (they will have already made a lot of mistakes along the way, so you can avoid the same pitfalls)
9. Make amends if you want/need to and it’s safe to do so
You may feel like you need to make amends. For some this may be a simple, a daunting or impossible task, some may want to just let the whole thing go. Usually when we are human enough to admit our mistakes and be vulnerable, people are often kinder than we might imagine. It’s when people refuse to admit what they have done that we stay angry. Making amends may not be possible if you do not wish to or feel ready to, or if it is someone from your past who has now passed away. If you can’t do it in person, you could lighten the load you are carrying by writing the whole thing out in a letter to them. If it’s not appropriate to send it you can simply burn it, as a symbol of releasing the issue. This can also be done if it would feel too difficult to face someone and apologise right now. Forgiveness is also about bringing a sense of peace to our minds.
10. Do something positive for someone
Do a kind gesture for another who perhaps could never pay you back, this may not feel necessary to most but it reflects your change of heart, and will help you to sow good and positivity into this wonderful world, of which we are all a part. This will help especially if we are not able to forgive the person in person, for whatever reason. The positive ripples we may make from this may reach a long way.
After all that work you may like to look back and reflect on what you have achieved and then make time to celebrate.
Think of how you would congratulate a good friend. Even if it’s a quiet celebration or a small treat for yourself do it. It will encourage your new positive habits of rewarding the good that you do and being your own best friend.