Learning to Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes

Making mistakes is part of being human. We all do it, and often, our stumbling blocks provide a valuable learning experience. Why, then, is it so challenging to forgive ourselves for errors we’ve made in the past, and how can we move on?

1. Own Your Emotions

Thinking about past mistakes can be painful and unpleasant. It’s tempting to gloss over complex problems or try to assign blame to someone else. However, owning your feelings is crucial to developing emotional maturity. Instead of denying or ignoring how you feel, take time to examine the situation and unpack why it is so difficult. If guilt or shame are threatening to overwhelm you, step back and analyze why you are struggling. Take charge of your response and allow yourself to fully experience and acknowledge your thoughts in the moment.

2. Admit When You’re Wrong

A crucial component of the recovery process is to make amends to people you’ve harmed and do your best to acknowledge your mistakes. A sincere apology demonstrates your intent to turn negativity into positivity and move forward with the goal of changing your behavior for the better.

3. Don’t Live in the Past

Dwelling on your mistakes is like picking at a scab. If you don’t allow old wounds to heal, you’ll never be wholly healthy. Think ahead to the future – what do you envision you will be doing in the next year, five years or decade from now? Forgiving yourself for your mistakes will help you shape the vision of your ideal life and turn those goals into reality.

4. Change Your Inner Monologue

The critic inside your mind can be brutal if you let it. It could lead you to believe you don’t deserve to be happy and successful. Keeping a journal can help you learn to recognize you’re your inner critic is being negative or self-defeating. Then, you can start counteracting those pessimistic thoughts with positive self-talk. You might even want to write yourself affirming notes and post them around your house to reinforce the message that you are worth it.

5. Love Yourself

Loving yourself first is vital to fostering healthy relationships with others. Acceptance of who you are – flaws and all – and honoring your struggles can help you stay true to yourself and allow you to make more profound connections with your partner, family members, friends and colleagues. Be compassionate with yourself and believe you’re worthy of forgiveness.

6. Be Flexible

How do you respond to circumstances beyond your control? Even if you’re making good progress, occasional setbacks will happen. Try not to instinctively blame yourself when things don’t go the way you planned. Don’t fall into the trap of replaying your mistakes on a loop in your head, which is unproductive and self-defeating. Instead, stop what you’re doing, take a few deep breaths and mentally push the reset button.

Commit to Your Sober Lifestyle

Once you’ve decided to quit drinking and using drugs for good, reinforce what you learned in your treatment program with high-accountability sober living at Segue Recovery Support. Living independently can often be too stressful for those who are new to recovery. We help you maintain your focus on your new priorities among a community of like-minded people. Reach out to learn more about our culture and values.