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How to Forgive Yourself

Learn how to forgive yourself from life coach Stephanie Florman in this Howcast video.

Transcript

When it comes to forgiving ourselves it's really important that we get specific about what needs to be forgiven. If we have done something that we know has hurt another person, even if it was unintentional, the best thing that we could do to start the process of self-forgiveness is to take responsibility for the choice that we made. Sometimes that means reaching out to the person that we've hurt, and sometimes it means accepting that the person that we've hurt has closed the door on us and will not allow us to.

The truth is that forgiveness is a verb. Forgiveness is an action. It's not a statement. You could say, I'm sorry. And you could ask for forgiveness for yourself or from another person. But forgiveness does not happen until the opportunity presents itself again and we make a decision to choose differently. If I did something that hurt you or that hurt me, and the same situation happens and I make the same choice again, then my forgiveness doesn't mean anything. But, if I acknowledge what I did, and I'm clear the next time a similar situation happens, and I choose differently, that's forgiveness in action.

So, forgiveness is a verb. It's an action. And it requires a level of patience, because the same circumstance needs to arise again for you to show yourself and/or the other person that you're in a relationship with that you're willing to do things differently.

The truth of the matter is that we are much harder on ourselves than we are on other people. So it just hurts my heart to think about something that happens where you can't forgive yourself. You know, everybody is doing the very best they can with where they are, with what they have, and it's very easy when you're not in the middle of a trauma or you're not in the middle of a moment decision to say how you think that you would react. But, sometimes we can't control our reactions.

Even though this is easier said than done, I do encourage you to trust that everything does happen for a reason. Even if you don't know what that reason is today. Even if you don't know what that reason is for the rest of your life. It goes back to having a trust that everything is working in your favor.

If you are at a point where you believe that you truly can't forgive yourself, and you're in a place of such self-hatred, it would be my hope that you reach out to a licensed professional who could really help you move through that. Because that is one of the most lonely and scary places to be. And, possibly by sharing your challenges with another person, you'll see that you're not in it alone, and slowly and surely you will be able to begin the process of forgiveness.

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