Sometimes we say or do something we wish we hadn’t. Maybe we've made a mistake, or we feel as if we haven't measured up to our own standards or someone else's expectations. Many people struggle with finding self-forgiveness for things that happen, even when they aren’t directly their fault. Let's face it. Life isn’t very satisfying when you’re constantly feeling guilty over something you can’t do anything about. This is why it's so important for us each to remember we are only human and to practice self-forgiveness.
We live in a society where criticism and judgment that only add to our own conditioning to be self-critical, mostly based on what we learned as kids. Fortunately, we can choose to break the bonds of self-judgment by coming to terms with our humanness and realizing that everyone on the planet is imperfect. We all have flaws and make mistakes.
How many times have you awakened in the morning and thought, "I'm going to get up and make mistakes, hurt someone's feelings, and do things that I'll regret"? Probably never, right? And this is the case for many of the people in your life.
The truth is that we tend to do the best we can every day, even if there are days when our best efforts fall short of our expectations of ourselves. Some of the people who have hurt us were also doing the best they could given the information they had at the time. If they had known more, it's possible they might have made better choices, as would we.
Marianne Williamson said, “Forgiveness is the key to inner peace because it is the mental technique by which our thoughts are transformed from fear to love.”
One of the keys to self-forgiveness is to own our mistakes and admit them. Harboring guilt and regret keeps you from living your life and keeps you suffering over things far longer than necessary. So if you feel guilt and regret over something you did (including to yourself), feel the feelings as they come up, make amends where needed, and choose to learn from your mistake and try to do better in the future. If you want to be happy and also do a better job of loving others, learning to forgive yourself even as you forgive them, and move on with your life is the first and most important step.