How easily do you forgive yourself?

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My blog’s focus this week is slightly different to my usual content but I felt such a pulling to write it.

Are you quick to forgive yourself when you make an error or bad judgement at work, in your business, with family and friends? Are you quick to forgive others when they perhaps disappoint or even betray you? 

I truly believe that the two are linked. Where you are critical of yourself, you are likely to be critical of others. Where you fail to forgive yourself for past actions, you are likely to hang onto the pain felt from others who failed to live up to your expectations.

It is inevitable that you will “get it wrong” or events will happen beyond your control. Let us say that you wake feeling tired and consider taking the later train which would mean you arrive to work/university/training slightly late. You decide to aim for the earlier train and on arrival at the station find it is cancelled.  In this instance, you are not to blame as you acted with integrity to arrive on time. Do you allow it to affect your person, no as it was out of your control.

I know I struggle in this area as I place a high expectation on myself, unrealistic even. If my plans do not pan out as I had hoped, I reflect on;

1. Where did it go wrong?

2. Could I have prevented it?

3. How can I learn from this? 

Steps to take in order to move forward:

1. Identify why you need to forgive yourself

2. Separate yourself from the mistake – understand that failure does not make you a bad person

3. Get up, shake yourself off and start again

4. Think of strategies which will help you change your mindset to a more positive one

Finally, remember the famous quote;

It is better to have tried and failed, than to have failed to try” Mike Dennison 


Are you quick to forgive yourself? 

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32 thoughts on “How easily do you forgive yourself?”

  1. I am not what you would call a ‘socially graceful’ person and I have precipitated more than a few awkward incidents in my life. I look back on these occasions and think “How could I have done that?” in embarrassment even as the other people involved have by and large shrugged them off as far as I can tell. I sometimes wish that my mind was an Etch A Sketch and I could give it a good hard shake so as to erase those memories.

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    1. Andy – I have had my fair share of “putting my foot in it”. I have sat and thought about scenarios long after the person has forgotten.

      I have developed the skill of thinking long before I speak. I fall occasionally but I am only human.

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog.

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  2. Hi, Phoenicia

    Great post about forgiveness!

    We tend to be easier to forgive others than to ourselves. But until we can forgive ourselves first than we can extend the authentic forgiveness to others. Um-forgiveness is like drinking poison to kill myself.

    As I grow older, I tend to forgive myself easier. Everybody makes mistakes. Just like you said as long as I can learn from my mistakes, mistakes will be lessons instead of being my label of bad person. They are not the end of the world for me.

    Love the quote.

    Thanks for sharing your insight!

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    1. Thank you Stella!

      Yes unforgiveness is like us drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

      We may as well learn to forgive ourselves as we will go on to make more mistakes!

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog.

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  3. Yes, I forgive myself. Like all human beings I’m not perfect and do make mistakes. If I can’t forgive and forget I would ruin my life. Far too many people out there have severe problems because they are perfectionists.

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  4. I tend to be fairly forgiving. The practice became ingrained while I was teaching. There are plenty of failures in the first couple of years, but by incorporating reflection at the end of each day where I would write about certain events using questions similar to what you detailed above, it really does help process feelings and be more forgiving.

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  5. I used to be extremely unforgiving of myself. I constantly felt shame or disappointment in myself during my teen years and my early 20s. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a lot more forgiving. And I try to remind myself that not everyone goes outside of their comfort zone. I do. And that makes me a winner even if I mess up along the way. But I agree, it is essential to constantly work on self-forgiveness.

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    1. Erica – what a great point you have made. Going out of your comfort zone means you are doing more than the average person. This means more challenges and perhaps more failures.

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  6. Hi Phoenicia. Generally, I am very forgiving — of myself and of others. But on occasion, we come to the fork in a road where it is just best to go separate ways than to compromise our values in order to forgive or accept someone for the way they are. Sometimes, that is best for our sanity.

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    1. I believe that whilst you may forgive someone, you do not need to be in their life if it will have a detrimental effect. Forgiveness lies with us – the other person need not be contacted.

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  7. hi phoenixia; great post. one of the things i had to do during my journey was forgive my cousin. i used to blame him for forcing me out of the carnival midway. he put up competing games that prevented me from being able to make a living any more. but he pushed me towards a business of my own that i could have passion in and be a success at. by not traveling so much my health is now so much better. and now i am inspiring others to do more in their lives. wouldn’t have done it if i were still dragging myself up and down the road with the show. thanks max

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  8. A lot of your posts tend to provoke confessions on my part, Phoenicia. This one included. Nope, I am not quick to forgive myself or to get over a screw up. I’m probably a little better about it with others.

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  9. Good topic. I don’t want this to sound martyr-like, but I’m better at forgiving others than I am forgiving myself. Which is ridiculous! If I acted with integrity and it goes wrong, I owe it to myself to confess to what I did and ask forgiveness for it. Put it in it’s place and move on. You’ve provoked me to think yet again, Phoenicia.

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  10. Great topic Phoenicia! I am much better about forgiving myself these days than I used to be, though it took making a couple of whopper errors in judgement to get to this point. But then sometimes it takes things like that to help you put life in perspective. I do agree with your point about the importance of learning from our mistakes, and frankly from the mistakes other people make as well. Thanks for the great tips and inspiration!

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  11. Great post. When I was younger, I was more judgmental about myself making mistakes than others making mistakes. But as am older now, I am more forgiving of myself and others.

    I wonder if with age, people who are hard on themselves when they are younger are more likely to soften over time or if one is nonjudgmental when one was younger is one more judgemental when older. Something to think about.

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    1. You can definitely become bitter and set in your ways in old age. Perhaps the saying “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks” derived from acknowledging elder people struggle to change.

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  12. This is an important topic. I can see why you felt compelled to write about it. As for me, I have mixed responses. I can (and have) forgiven some people for some things they did, but not for other things they did.

    I can’t (although I have tried) forgive myself for one thing that I did 16 years ago with good intentions, but it was misinterpreted by another person who has cut off communication with me because of what I did. I at first forgave the person for cutting me off, but now I’ve gone back on that and have become angry with the person again. It’s a daily struggle.

    Most of the time I forgive people for their mistakes and for the hurtful words or actions they direct at me, because I realize their behavior says more about them than it does about me. At least, that’s what I believe.

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    1. It is so easy to ask another to forgive but a struggle to take your own advice. In the long run, forgiveness releases you from the other person and removes bitterness. I remind myself of this daily.

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    2. I went through a similar situation with my ex-best friend. Part of the reason I haven’t let it go is because I don’t understand why she did what she did? Though we messaged a little better before we completely stop talking, I never really did get closure.

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