10 Steps to Forgiving Yourself

10 Steps to Forgiving Yourself + Free Download: 10 Journal Prompts -by theSUNNYshadow.comAre you struggling with forgiving yourself?

Take comfort in knowing that we can start over at any time we choose. Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes don’t make us bad people. They make us human and provide us opportunities for growth and change.

No one is perfect. We’re all just doing the best we can.

For example, the person you were “back then” may not be inline with the person you are today. And that’s okay. You can’t hold that against yourself today. We’ve all made questionable choices and decisions in our past… like even one minute ago maybe? But you know what? We were working with the information available to us at the time. That’s not an excuse, just the truth. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to apologize either. In fact, taking accountability for our actions will make it easier for us to forgive ourselves.

We look back with regret because we’ve acquired new information that paints a fuller picture. Perhaps we didn’t have time to wait on that information or we had no way of knowing it even existed. OR, maybe we simply made a mistake, because you know, we’re human.

Look at forgiving yourself as a beautiful story of change and growth. Like a butterfly! You did the best you could at the time, considering what you were working with. Learn from it, grow from it, be better because of it, & move on.

Ask yourself this. . . 

Have I taken full responsibility and accountability for my behavior?

The ability to answer yes to this question has proven helpful in my own struggles with self-forgiveness.

Forgive Yourself: 10 Journal Prompts >> Available in the Free Download Library| TheSunnyShadow.com

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10 Steps to Forgiving Yourself

  1. Practice Self-Compassion & Empathy: Try to step outside of yourself and see yourself as human. Consider how you’d treat a loved one in a similar situation. You’re worthy of that same love and respect, so treat yourself with that same love and respect. Refer to this step regularly. You may enjoy the blog post Self-Compassion: It’s Okay.
  2. View It as a Self-Growth Opportunity: Chances are, if you’re having a difficult time forgiving yourself, you’ve learned a lesson. You probably will not repeat this mistake again. So rather than sit and dwell in it, grow from it. Be better because of it!
  3. Let Go of Imposed Shame & Guilt: People are going to have an opinion about everything we do. There are those who we just can’t win with. But other people’s opinions of us are none of our business. And they certainly play no role in us forgiving ourselves. Make a conscious decision to set others’ opinions aside {or throw them out a window} and do your own self-work. You may enjoy the blog post Shame. Along with the blog post Letting Go of Toxic Guilt.
  4. Journal: I created Forgive Yourself :: 10 Journal Prompts especially for you! Download it or print it, for free! Be sure to keep your journal in a safe place that only you have access to. You can also read about the Benefits of Journaling. Journaling is my favorite healthy coping tool.
  5. Redirect Your Thoughts: If you’re still replaying the hurtful offense in your head, STOP! Each time it begins, gently refocus your thoughts on something positive. If you struggle to find something in the moment, make a short list ahead of time. You can even include positive affirmations to quietly say to yourself. You may enjoy the blog post Rule Your Thoughts.
  6. Tell a Trusted Someone: As horrendous as this may sound, it brings relief. You’ll likely realize that what you have to say isn’t all that shocking. And that you won’t be judged and you’re still lovable. That person may surprise you by sharing something they’ve been holding in.
  7. Make Necessary Amends: But first investigate your motives. Are you apologizing only to make yourself feel better and will paying these amends harm anyone in any way? If so, then it’s probably best to hold off. Maybe there will come a time in which it’s appropriate and fair to make your apologies, but is doing so for selfish reasons a true apology anyhow? If you’re unable to make the amends for other reasons, you can get creative in finding a comparable solution. Like doing good in some way. If you decide to make your amends, consider the timing, the place, and what you generally plan on saying.
  8. Practice Small Acts of Kindness: This is a way to help you begin to shed any residual shame you may be carrying around. Do nice things for people. Help out friends or volunteer. This will get you out of your head and make you feel good about yourself.
  9. Practice Gratitude: Gratitude is expressing appreciation for what one already has, rather than what one wants. Making gratitude a conscious expression or practice has numerous positive effects on overall well-being, including lowering risks for anxiety and depression. Read about Benefits of Gratitude and 15 Simple Ways to Cultivate Gratitude.
  10. Look Ahead with Positivity: Make a concerted effort to adopt a new and positive outlook. If you have to, physically act like you’re taking off the old, negative suit of guilt and shame, and putting on your new positive, confident suit. Set healthy and positive goals for your future.

» How do you forgive yourself, and others?

By the way, I am not a specialist. Just an enthusiastic therapy-junkie and I like to share what I’ve picked up along my 13 years of recovery work thus far! Weird? Possibly. But I’ve never claimed to be “normal.” In fact, I know I’m not nor do I want to be. From what I hear, it’s terribly boring. But anyhow, thanks for reading! I’m so glad you are here!!!



  1. Hi, Krista. I actually read this yesterday, but as you know through our Twitter convo was too tired/discombobulated to comment.

    Anyway, as someone who is struggling with forgiveness…(forgiving myself primarily) I’m so glad the #weekendblogshare bought you to my blog, and in turn, me to yours.

    I took in enough yesterday evening to know I wanted to share your wisdom with others…and that I would be back to read through your post again after some (much needed) sleep 🙂

    I’ve recently started journaling, a prayer journal, an art journal (I can’t recommend art enough, for when the words won’t come), and a written (as you call it) a brain-dump journal. I’ve booked marked (and pinned) this post to refer back to, and have also saved your journal prompts.

    Thank you for sharing, I’m going to find your thoughts/ideas extremely helpful, I think… I’m sure others will too.

    All the best, Kimmie.
    Kimmie recently posted…Wordless Wednesday 18/11/2015… Christmas Past.My Profile

    1. Thank you Kimmie, for such a kind and thoughtful comment. I’m so glad you found this post useful. I agree with you, art is a wonderful coping tool.

      Hope you got the rest you needed and are feeling much better today! Thanks for stopping back by and commenting. Have a great week!
      – Krista

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