The importance of Self-Forgiveness


Have you forgiven yourself for your past mistakes? Or are you still holding onto what you wish you’d done differently?

Living in a constant state of guilt is tormenting. Your mind replays what you did wrong and how things could have been different. It leads to self-sabotage and negative self-talk. You can believe that you are not good enough for certain positive experiences because you weren’t able to change what happened. We may overcompensate to fix the issue but the thoughts still linger in our mind about how we messed up.

Guilt takes away our ability to practice self-compassion. You may end up using harsh words towards yourself as a form of punishment. 

At some point in our life, we might do something that causes harm (intentionally or unintentionally) to others. Having to deal with the reality that our actions have contributed to someone else’s pain is a hard pill to swallow. Forgiving oneself is a practice of self-preservation, kindness, compassion, and love. It’s a commitment that despite your mistakes, you will not give up on yourself.

The guilt arises when our actions are out of alignment with our values. If you value being kind, honest and respectful to others, being deceitful and malicious created an internal conflict. We know better but chose not to at that moment. Carrying guilt stops you from practising self-redemption. We all can change, even when our actions are seen as ‘unforgivable’ in society’s standards.

Often the thing that we don’t forgive ourselves for, we would forgive others doing the same thing. Be willing to offer yourself the same level of compassion that you would to a friend.  If you believe you have changed, you don’t need to hold yourself hostage to mistakes that were committed by an old version of you. If you had known what you knew now, you wouldn’t have done what you did- you made choices in the past at the level consciousness you had at the time. You know better now. Be willing to see this situation differently. Your mistakes have given you clarity about the type of person you want to be and the situations you will avoid next time.  Some life lessons are harsh but necessary to become a better version of ourselves. 

How to Forgive Yourself: 

Be honest with yourself

What situation do you hold guilt about? Have an honest conversation with yourself about what you feel guilty/ shame about and how it makes you feel.

Admit your messed up

Self-acceptance is a practice of self-love. You need to accept that you messed up and take full accountability for that situation. 

Practice self-compassion

Check if you are missing something. Did you know everything about a situation at hand or was you not in the mind frame to comprehend the harm you caused? Was fear one of the reasons why you made the decision you did? Offer yourself some compassion for not knowing what you know now.

Apologise to anyone who you hurt

Take a risk and contact the person you hurt and apologise. Tell them exactly what actions you take accountability for and why. However, don’t hold onto the expectation that they will be forgiving. Give the person space to express their feelings and don’t go on the defensive. If you are struggling with forgiving yourself for allowing someone else to inflict pain onto you, maybe write an ‘I’m sorry for’ letter to yourself.

Write yourself an apology

Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself.

Give yourself time

It’s okay to feel guilty for what you did. When a situation happens it’s difficult to move on especially if it’s life-altering. Give yourself the time and space to let go of the past. Start by being more present every day and reminding yourself of why you deserve to self-forgiveness.

Quotes of Self Forgiveness:

“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know until you lived through it. Honour your path. Trust your journey. Learn, grow, evolve, become.” – unknown.

“Forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what now seems so obvious in hindsight”- Judy Belmont

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives”- unknown

You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. – Louise L. Hay

“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” — Maya Angelou

“I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than him.” – C. S. Lewis


31 responses to “The importance of Self-Forgiveness”

  1. Great post, a lot of people spend so much time beating up on themselves.

    1. Totally agree! We need to spend more time affirming and loving ourselves <3

  2. So true 😇 👏👏 self forgiveness is the most important thing as its a ladder towards the success. Nice post 🤗💐

    1. Thank you so much Neha! Self forgiveness is super important. It’s unfair to hold ourselves hostage to our past mistakes. <3 <3

    1. Thank you so much for reading this 💞🙌🏾

  3. Ah very inspiring and helpful, not always the easiest thing to do, thanks for posting 🙂

    Allie of

    1. You’re right! It can be really difficult but eventually if we are consistent, we can learn to forgive ourselves. Thank you for stopping by <3

  4. Very helpful, must work on practicing this often! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad you find this helpful. Have a great day <3

  5. Ash, bravo! This is such an important and wise post. Love it.

    I think it might be for some to apologies to others directly. So I wonder if they do it inside of their mind would that work? I feel for the person on the receiving end of the apology they need to hear it. And if I am the one who has hurt another I should be brave and characterful enough to say sorry. I can only do that if I recognise my fault.

    Great post so many good points

    1. Thank you so much! I feel like if you owe someone an apology, you should give it but don’t hold an expectation that they will forgive or even accept it. Before we do that we need to be honest about our actions and the consequences. Then we can learn from our mistakes and do better next time. Thanks for stopping by, glad it was helpful 💜😊

  6. This was something I had a total cry over the other day – because I spend my entire life feeling guilty. Even over little things. If someone asks me to do something and I say no, I feel guilty. If I say yes, then I feel guilty for not doing something else. It’s constant. And something I really need to work on x

    1. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through that! It’s difficult especially if you are an empath and want to do good by others. It’s interesting because we beat ourselves down over things that others would do (like saying no) effortlessly. You deserve to forgive yourself for your past mistakes. We have to try and make living in our mind a pleasant experience. Thanks for reading 💞🌷

    1. Thank you! 💜

  7. this post is amaizing

    1. Thank you so much! I hope you have a good day 💞🌷

  8. Yes yes yes and yes. Easier said than done, but YES.

    1. EXACTLY! It takes time but we have to forgive ourselves as we know better now 🌷😊

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  10. Ash, this is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read. Seriously. Wow, thank you!! I teach about self-forgiveness regularly, but never heard of writing a forgiveness letter to oneself. I really like that a lot, and am tucking it away in my heart. Also, I especially like that quote from C.S. Lewis. Do you know which of his books it came from?

    1. Aww thank you so much! This comment made my day. I’m glad it resonated with you and that you are able to take something from it! With the CS Lewis quote I’m not sure, I actually found the quote on the internet when I was looking for quotes. Maybe on Good Reads it will show the book. I feel like I need to get acquainted with her work. Thanks Jen have a great week 💜

      1. CS Lewis was an AMAZING author. One of my favorites. You won’t regret it if you do! And I’m so very glad you were blessed by my comment. Much love to you, dear! Keep up the awesome work! <3 🙂

  11. I want to thank myself for reading this! And I want to thank you for posting this! I am currently at this stage in my life where I am forgiving myself. The Lord spoke to me and told me I needed to forgive myself. Glad I ran across this post God bless you ♡❤

  12. I’m dealing with self-forigiveness right now in a situation in my life and this couldn’t have came at a better time. I found your page on Pinterest and it led me to your blog and it’s so amazing! Keep inspiring through your writing people are reading and it’s helping! I anticipate reading more and being inspired.

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad that it’s been a useful read for you and resonates. I appreciate you reading this and I hope you have a lovely week ahead. All the best to you! 💜

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