How To Forgive Yourself For Past Mistakes And Move On

how to forgive yourself

Have you done some awful things in your life that you’re not proud of? Do you find it difficult to forgive yourself and let go of the past?

I’ve dealt with guilt and regret before, so I know exactly what you’re going through right now.

It’s nearly impossible to find a human who hasn’t done something they’re ashamed of.

We’ve all done something we deeply regret at one point in our lives and it has made us who we are.

Mistakes are meant to be made because that’s the fastest way we learn and understand ourselves.

But sometimes, it can be difficult to get over something you did in the past and it will haunt you for the rest of your life unless you find a way to break free of the guilt.

If you’re struggling to achieve inner peace, here are 10 tips on how to forgive yourself for past mistakes and move forward:


Mistakes are inevitable in life and we can never avoid them no matter how hard we try.

To become the best version of yourself, you need to be willing to learn from the past, appreciate the present, and actively work towards making your future life better.

Use the following tips as a guide to self-forgiveness, inner healing, and personal growth:

1. Accept that you’re an imperfect human

Just like everyone else on this planet, you’re an imperfect being who is here to learn the meaning of life and how to enjoy it to the fullest.

As you navigate the journey of life, it’s only natural that you’ll stumble and fall from time to time.

However, when you hit the ground, you don’t have to remain there but rather pick yourself up, reflect on what you didn’t do right, and try to make better choices in the future.

When you realize that you are not the only one who has made mistakes in the past, you’ll find it easier to forgive yourself and move on in life.

So accept all your imperfections, don’t beat yourself up when you fall, and be okay with making mistakes because it’s an integral part of life.

how to forgive yourself for past mistakes

2. Know that you are worthy of forgiveness

When people get stuck in a rut and can’t move ahead in life, it’s mostly because they believe that they deserve to be punished for their wrongdoings.

With this type of mindset, it’s easy to attract bad things into your life that will confirm to you that you’re not a good person.

You may not realize this is going on because it is happening on an energetic level and your physical eyes can’t see it.

However, energy flows where attention goes, and like attracts like.

If you want to forgive yourself and move on in life, you need to change your subconscious beliefs.

Start to see yourself as someone worthy of forgiveness and deserving of every good thing life has to offer.

I know it sounds impossible to achieve right now but I promise you that if you keep believing that you’re worthy, your life will begin to turn around positively.

3. Tell yourself “I forgive you”

Many people find it difficult to move on when someone they offended is mad at them, so they apologize and wait for them to say “I forgive you” to be free from guilt.

But sometimes, there is no room for an apology and you have to move forward without it.

In this case, it is necessary that you practice self-forgiveness and not rely on someone else to release you from your emotional prison.

There is no one coming to rescue you from your past mistakes so you have to set yourself free independently and learn how to be a better person.

Look in the mirror and slowly repeat, “I forgive you.” You can add your name for more emphasis and say it until you believe it.

You may feel the need to cry as you say this and that’s okay. Let all the shame and guilt out so you can start on a clean slate.

4. Stop being so hard on yourself

Another step to self-forgiveness is to treat yourself like your best friend because you deserve a second chance in life.

Most individuals don’t have a manual on how to live a good life, so a lot of us do terrible things in our youth that we regret later.

Our mistakes are part of what shapes our personal identity and you can’t keep tormenting yourself over something that happened when you were naive.

Without your shortcomings, mistakes, and failures, you wouldn’t know how to become the best version of yourself.

It is through learning and failing that we gain experience in life.

Try not to be too hard on yourself; you’re doing your best with what you’ve ever known, learned, and experienced.

While it’s easy to blame yourself and dwell on the past, don’t give up on yourself for not knowing better and acting appropriately.

We are constantly evolving as humans and nobody knows the perfect outcome of every decision they take so give yourself a break.

how to forgive yourself

5. Remember that experience is the best teacher

Just like practice makes perfect, experience is also the best way for you to learn.

You wouldn’t have gotten to this point in your life and become the amazing person that you are if you hadn’t made any mistakes.

If you regret your past, it means you also feel sorry for all the valuable lessons you learned, the meaningful connections you made, and the level of your growth.

To help you forgive yourself and move on, remember that experience is the best teacher and it’s because of your past failures that you’ve evolved into the person you are now.

Everything happened for a reason and you’re on the right track so don’t wish for a different past; it’s already gone.

You are the only one keeping your mistakes alive in your mind and your thoughts are holding you back from living your best life now.

So make peace with your past and appreciate all the hard lessons you received instead of regretting your words or actions.

6. Make a decision to live a better life

Another vital step to self-forgiveness and healing is to make a vow to live an exemplary life from now onwards.

Even though you made terrible mistakes and did awful things in the past, you can choose to turn a new leaf and live more intentionally.

By making a firm decision to do better, you’ll be holding yourself accountable and will be compelled to do the right thing in every situation.

This will ensure that you reduce the chance of making life-altering mistakes to the barest minimum.

7. Practice self-compassion and be kind to yourself

As someone who has struggled with feelings of shame and guilt, I know that it can be hard to turn off that voice in your head that keeps saying you don’t deserve to live a good life.

The best way to control that inner voice that torments you with nasty words is to show yourself compassion.

Just as you would sympathize with a friend and try to console them when they’re upset about something they did, learn to be kind to yourself.

Stop calling yourself demeaning names and saying hurtful things to atone for your mistakes.

Let the negative thoughts come but don’t fight them; acknowledge them and replace them with kind, positive words.

For example, if you accuse yourself of being a bad person, you can counteract this by saying, “Yes, I know I have done some terrible things in the past but I’m doing my best to live a better life now”.

With self-compassion and positive thinking, you’ll be able to silence your inner critic and attain peace of mind, so learn to be gentle with yourself.

how to forgive yourself for past mistakes and move on

8. Look towards a brighter future

Dwelling on the past and feeling sorry for yourself leads to anxiety and depression.

Of course, it’s okay to reflect on some things that have already happened and learn what you can from them, but it’s not healthy to relive negative events in your mind.

Bringing up the past and thinking about all the things you should have done or said is not going to yield any positive results.

No matter how hard it seems, it’s best to leave the past alone and focus on building a better future for yourself and your loved ones.

Instead of replaying painful memories in your mind, look towards the future and believe that your life is going to be better than the past.

9. Stop trying to be a perfect person

Striving for perfection in life is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it helps you to plan your life well and do everything right.

On the other hand, it can hinder you from letting things go and moving forward with grace.

Since you want to appear flawless all the time, making mistakes is unacceptable and you punish yourself for not meeting up to your moral standards.

If you want to live a good life, you need to learn to cut yourself some slack and stop trying to be perfect all the time.

When you make mistakes, remember that you’re a fallible human being and it’s okay to be wrong sometimes.

10. Be open to learning from other people

As humans, we learn from other people and our own personal experiences, so it’s necessary to seek advice from individuals who are more knowledgeable than you.

You don’t have to wait until you’re in trouble before asking for help.

If you find something confusing or encounter any challenges in life, try to reach out to trusted friends and family members.

Be open to receiving constructive feedback from the people around you and don’t hesitate to consult a professional if you need help overcoming an obstacle.

By sharing your challenges openly and learning from others, you’ll be able to navigate the complicated parts of life easier.

how to forgive yourself


When you’ve done something really bad, you may think that you’re unforgivable but you are not the only person who makes mistakes.

Almost every human being on earth has messed up in the past and you are the only one who is responsible for setting yourself free.

If you keep yourself trapped in your mind, no one else can rescue you from your mental cage.

When you believe that you deserve to be punished for your wrongdoings, you’ll never be able to forgive yourself and move on to the next phase of your life.

You must accept your human nature and remember that you are worthy of forgiveness just like everyone else.

Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect and living up to your expectations. You’re doing the best you can with what you have at the moment.

So learn to be kind to yourself even when you make poor judgments and treat yourself like your best friend because you deserve a second chance in life.

If you’re still struggling to get over the past after reading this article, consider reading some books on how to forgive yourself.

You’ll be able to get a deeper insight into your challenges and find the right way to move forward in life.


Recommended Reading:

How To Stop Being A People Pleaser

How To Stay Positive During Hard Times

About The Author

Jennifer Dagi
 | Blog

Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life.

As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.

She strongly believes communication and intimacy are the most important ingredients for building a successful relationship.

Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.

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