There are people who are more forgiving than others, both with oneself and with others. If you have low self-esteem, you will have a greater tendency to blame yourself when things go wrong and it will be much more difficult to learn to forgive yourself, but it is not impossible! Starting today, you will realize that forgiveness is necessary not only for your self-esteem, but also for you to move forward in your life.

In order to learn to forgive yourself, you must first have four key actions to take, they are helpful if you follow them. We’ll call them the “4 Rs.”

The “4 Rs” of self-forgiveness


You must accept responsibility for your actions, because it is the first step in forgiving yourself. Taking responsibility and accepting that you have participated in actions that have hurt others will help you avoid negative emotions such as regret or excessive guilt.


Allow yourself to feel remorse. Guilt is not always a bad thing. It allows you to think about the consequences, feel empathy for others, and find ways to improve yourself. The key is to allow yourself to experience remorse without dwelling on unhealthy guilt.

Patch up your mistakes

Make amends for your actions. One way to overcome your guilt is to take steps to rectify your mistakes. Apologize if necessary, and find ways to make up for whoever you’ve hurt.


Find positive actions that help you move forward. How can you leave this experience a better person? What steps can you take to prevent the same behaviors again in the future?  Forgiving yourself often requires finding a way to learn from experience and grow as a person.

Limitations to consider

However, it is important to recognize that people often experience guilt, remorse, and self-recrimination in the absence of any true offense. People who have suffered abuse, trauma, or loss may feel shame and guilt over circumstances over which they had no control.

Forgiveness cannot be applied to each person since each one has their own idiosyncrasies and their own way of feeling . This can be particularly true when people feel that they should have been able to predict a negative outcome and therefore experience guilt for not altering their actions. The victims of crime or trauma, for example, may feel they should have been able to predict what happened, but the truth is they had no way of knowing what would happen.

Encourage self-forgiveness

So what else can people do to encourage self-forgiveness? Do not miss these tips.

Stop rationalizing or justifying what happened

Facing what you have done or what has happened is the first step toward forgiving yourself. If you’ve been making excuses to make your behaviors seem acceptable, it’s time to face and accept what you’ve done. This step allows you to take responsibility and admit that what you have done is wrong, unacceptable or harmful.

Try to understand your motivations

Before I can forgive you , you must understand why you have behaved as you have and why you feel guilty about these actions . For example, maybe you did something that violated your moral convictions. Understanding why you did it can help you decide why forgiving yourself is so important. This step can also help you learn how to avoid such behaviors in the future.

Recognize the difference between guilt and shame

Feeling bad when you do something that is not right is very natural and this can help you to really change. Shame, on the other hand, often involves feelings of worthlessness. Understand that making mistakes that you feel guilty about does not make you a bad person or undermine your intrinsic worth. Experiencing regret is natural and allows you to accept responsibility  and move forward. Shame and self-condemnation, on the other hand, will keep you stuck in the past.

Create empathy for those you may have hurt

One of the potential pitfalls of self-forgiveness is that it sometimes diminishes empathy for those who have been hurt by your actions. Often, self-forgiveness can lead to greater compassion for others. However, at times, this inner focus can make it difficult to identify with others. You can avoid this by consciously empathizing with those who have been affected by your actions.

Consider how forgiving yourself will help you

What will you gain by forgiving yourself? In the same way that forgiving others can convey a number of benefits, offering this same forgiveness can improve your health and well-being. Letting go and offering forgiveness can help increase your feelings of well-being and improve your self-image.

Accept your remedial actions

Making amends is an important part of forgiveness, even when the person you forgive is yourself. What can you do to feel like you’ve earned your own forgiveness? Remedial actions often involve doing something for someone you have offended, or doing something for yourself.

Learn from what has happened

Every person makes mistakes and has things that they feel sorry for. Falling into the trap of rumination, self-hatred, or even compassion can be detrimental and make it difficult to maintain your self-esteem and motivation . When you face a problem with your own actions or feelings, focus on finding something positive in the situation. Yes, you may have made a mistake, but it was a learning experience that can help you make better decisions in the future.

Forgiving people who have hurt you can be challenging, but forgiving yourself can be just as difficult. It is important to remember that learning to forgive yourself is not a one-size-fits-all process. It’s never simple or easy, but working on this form of self-compassion can convey a number of potential health benefits. In addition to reducing stress, the depression and anxiety, self – forgiveness can also have positive effects on your physical health, mental and in your relationships. Remember that forgiveness is not an act of compassion only for others, it is an act of compassion for yourself. By forgiving yourself or others, you free yourself from unnecessary emotional stress and suffering.  

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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