How to Make Amends With Yourself

As difficult as forgiving others is, it is still much more common to let others off the hook than to move on from our own mistakes.

September 14, 2016
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But we all know how easy it is to be nice to others—to possess the ability to shine a light on someone else's crappy situation; to root others on when they are running out of breath at the twenty-fifth mile. But when it comes to our own screwups, misfortunes, bad decisions, whatever, we say we deserve what we get, and that includes not being forgiven. Suffering like this is the way we show others that we take our "crime" seriously, know how bad we are, and don't need to be told how pathetic we are because clearly we know. Our inward self-loathing and self-blame are outward messages that scream we are unlovable, sucky people—and that's the end of the story.

We don't want to treat ourselves like crap, only to make empty gestures to ourselves. Self-forgiveness requires making amends with ourselves but following through with corresponding change, or else you practice nothing more than self-abuse. Self-forgiveness is a promise you make to yourself that you will support yourself while working hard to make a change. It is saying to yourself, I forgive you, thereby freeing up your energy to be spent on making change that is true and permanent.

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1. Take yourself at face value

Accepting yourself and your flaws helps you remember that mistakes and failures exist to facilitate growth and improvement.

More: The Amazing Benefits of Self-Compassion

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2. Terrible is NOT your middle name

Remind yourself of your good intentions and that you are not a bad person.

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3. Tell someone

Talk it out with someone you trust, who will tell you all the reasons why you are loved and worthy of love. 

More: 8 Ways to Build Hope Every Day

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4. Talk to your internal “committee,” and tell it to take a hike

Labeling your flaws as an entity themselves and addressing them are helpful steps in recognizing they are not a true part of your identity and are not in line with your core values. They become easier to dismiss.

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5. Turn the tables

Ask yourself what you would say to someone in need if that person were in your position.

Adapted from WHOLE

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