Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself

If you are feeling guilt, shame, and remorse, you can apply these ideas to forgive yourself. But forgive yourself responsibly. Don’t just let yourself off the hook. To deal with your self-blame because you feel you did something wrong or didn’t live up to your own standards, follow these three steps.

Step 1: Receive God’s Forgiveness.
First, make things right with what you consider sacred. For many, that will be with God. But others might feel they have offended humanity or offended nature.

Step 2: Repair Relationships.
If you’ve hurt people, try to pick up the pieces. Even if you’ve done what feels like unrepairable damage, you can pay it forward so that perhaps others won’t experience fallout from your acts. When my brother committed suicide after discovering the battered body of our mother, I felt that, as a psychologist, I had let him down. I couldn’t bring him back or undo my failures, but I could help his surviving wife manage their finances. I did, and it made a lot of difference.

Step 3: Rethink Ruminations.
Sometimes regret and remorse dominate us because we are feeling a bit perfectionistic. We can rethink those unrealistic assumptions.

Then, to create more personal peace, follow these three steps.

Step 4: REACH Emotional Self-Forgiveness.
Apply to yourself the steps to REACH Forgiveness.

Step 5: Rebuild Self-Acceptance.
Accept yourself as someone flawed but precious. Often talking with someone is the key.

Step 6: Resolve to Live Virtuously.
Make up your mind not to make the same mistakes again.