Wednesday, April 24, 2013
How to forgive yourself
I have been there. For me, knowing I was the cause of someone else's pain sometimes hurts more than someone hurting me.
I know that, in life, we will have our hearts broken, and we will break others' hearts as well. But I know that, for the last time I broke someone's heart, I have not yet forgiven myself. And I have, instead, beaten myself up for it, thinking I'm a horrible person.
As humans, we all make mistakes, And, often times through our actions, somebody gets hurt.
If you hate yourself for hurting someone else, don't take your life. For one, even if you think the world would be a better place without you, it's not true. Let me repeat that. It's not true. Your deep guilt has distorted your view from reality. And if you take your life, that will hurt others even more than that thing you feel guilty about.
When someone makes the decision to take his or her life, it destroys more than the life that has been taken. Psychology Today reports that those abandoned in this way may wear the scars for life — some unable to fully bond with another person again and others develop anxiety disorders or fall into depression.
Tony Salvatore, whose oldest son lost his life to suicide, knows firsthand how it affects others. He wrote, "You think nobody cares? Think that they won't give a damn? Listen: It's not what you think of them or what you think that they think of you that matters. It's what they think of you. You may not feel that they care, but you could be, and probably are, very, very wrong."
But forgiving yourself is easier said than done. I know, for me, it's so much easier to forgive others than to forgive myself. After all, I have to live with myself all the time, 24 hours a day.
Here are some steps from the website tinybuddha.com:
1. Accept yourself and your flaws. Once you realize that you are not perfect (and that no one is), this will make a world of a difference.
2. You're not a bad person. There is a big difference between doing a bad thing and being a bad person. Even when you do something that you regret, you most likely had a valid reason for doing it at the time (sometimes that reason makes rational sense and sometimes it doesn't, but, even so, you did have a reason).
3. Talk to someone about it. Get it off your chest. When you are mad at yourself, it can cloud your reasonable judgements. An outside opinion can help. Knowing other people are less critical of you than you are of yourself can be encouraging.
4. Therapy. If your self hatred seems unconquerable, you may need to seek professional help.
5. Separate yourself. If your friend was telling you how much they hate themselves because of a mistake, what would you say? Chances are you wouldn't tell them what you are telling yourself. So, why are you thinking that way about yourself? Give yourself the same advice you would give a friend.