Six Tips for Forgiving Yourself

Role Mommy guest contributor and motivational coach Libby Gill reveals that sometimes, the hardest person to forgive is ourselves.
iStock_000006568309XSmall.jpgHave you ever noticed that while you’re perfectly willing to forgive other people for their shortcomings, giving yourself the same consideration is nearly impossible? But research has shown that forgiveness, including self-forgiveness, is a benefit to psychological, relationship and physical health. By reducing hurt and helplessness and letting go of anger, you experience greater self-confidence, hope and optimism. So why not cut yourself some slack?
Here are six ways you can do just that:
1. Acknowledge the mistake. If you’ve unintentionally hurt another person, apologize for your mistake, let the other person know that you didn’t mean to hurt them and that you’d like their forgiveness. Then, stop beating yourself up. After all, if they can forgive you, why can’t you forgive you? And if they can’t, what does that tell you about your relationship?
2. Absorb the lesson. Give yourself a debriefing period after every major project or effort you undertake. If you didn’t make any mistakes, you may not be setting the bar high enough. And if you did make mistakes, learn to appreciate them as fabulous teaching tools.
3. Stop the constant judging. If you’re continually looking for approval at the office, or stepping on the bathroom scale, you’re trying too hard. Set your goal, stick to your plan and stop being so judgmental.
4. Be specific about what you’re forgiving. If you have a generalized sense of your flaws, faults and shortcomings, it’s nearly impossible to put that to rest. Drill down, figure out specifically what requires your self-forgiveness, then do that.
5. Change your internal tape. Let go of the mind chatter about how you screwed things up, resist the urge to repeat the story endlessly to your friends or co-workers, and change the tape in your head from negative screw-up to positive opportunity for change.
6. Establish a self-forgiveness ritual. When I had a big project and a broken relationship come crashing down on me simultaneously, I decided to hold a personal forgiveness ritual. I found a letter and a photo that were symbolic of those dashed dreams, put on some somber music, lit a candle, said a prayer and burned the symbols. My life didn’t change overnight, but I was able to regroup, regain my self-compassion and start over.
libby_gill.jpgLibby Gill is a business coach, brand strategist and bestselling author. Her new book, You Unstuck: Mastering the New Rules of Risk-Taking at Work and in Life, is now available on