How to Forgive Yourself for a Big Mistake (7 Steps) (2023)

Forgiving yourself after making a big mistake can be hard. Read diligently. In addition to the disappointment and hurt you caused someone else, you also have to deal with the pain and disappointment you caused yourself.

We often find it difficult to move on after making a mistake. This is especially true when we make a big mistake. We continue to beat ourselves up over and over again for the same mistake, making it difficult for us to move forward positively and productively. We need to spend less time dwelling on the past and more time creating the future.

Forgiveness requires intentionality. But knowing how to forgive yourself seems harder than forgiving someone else. Sometimes the things we do seem unforgivable. So let's focus on how to forgive yourself for something terrible.

How to Forgive Yourself for a Big Mistake (7 Steps) (1)

How to forgive yourself and recover from a big mistake in life

It's hard to know what to do when you've made a mistake. Of course, you don't want to pretend the mistake didn't happen, but you also don't want that mistake to prevent you from having healthy relationships with people or from achieving other goals you might have for yourself. It's possible to move on after you've made a big mistake in life, but it's a process that takes time and intention. Here are some suggestions on how to forgive yourself after making a big mistake.

1. Admit the mistake to those involved

Before you can startforgive yourselfWhen you make a big mistake, you need to acknowledge the mistake to yourself and everyone involved. If you have hurt someone or wronged them, you need to go to that person and apologize fully and admit your wrongdoing. In addition, you must ensure that you take full responsibility for your actions. You cannot forgive yourself unless you fully acknowledge what you have done to yourself and everyone else involved in the situation.

(Video) Learning to Forgive Ourselves

2. Focus on your emotions

When it comes to forgiveness, your emotions can be anywhere. Accept the fact that you will experience many different emotions during the forgiveness process. Don't suppress your emotions. It's perfectly normal to experience several different emotions while working to forgive yourself for something unforgivable.

3. Recognize that you are not perfect (and rid yourself of such expectations)

We are human beings. We are not perfect and never will be. You have to forgive yourself for mistakes. You will never live up to the expectations that people have of you. (Some people can be very unreasonable and unrealistic in their expectations.) The moment you accept this truth is the moment you gain freedom. Don't get caught up in your big mistake. Separate yourself from the mistake and understand that the mistake does not define you. You are so much more than a single moment in your life. The faster you believe in it, the faster you can move forward after making a big mistake.

4. Realize that you are your own worst critic

We can be so hard on ourselves, and many times we still fight over a mistake that everyone else has long since forgotten. We're usually the ones who still hold on to negative thoughts when everyone else has moved on with their lives. Practice replacing critical thoughts with positive ones (i.e., recognize when that little voice in your head is being too hard on you, and redirect those thoughts.

It's hard to forgive yourself for something terrible, but once you realize that you are your own worst critic, letting go of that big mistake becomes a lot easier.

5. Examine yourself and make progress in areas that need improvement

As you reflect on your big mistake, ask yourself why you did it and whether your words or actions came from selfishness or something similar, and then work on that area of ​​your life. It's good for you to understand why you did or said something before you can take action to prevent it from happening again.

(Video) How To FORGIVE Yourself For Past Mistakes

You must be very honest about this step. You have to really understand your mistakes before you can start moving forward. The goal is to make progress in the areas where you need improvement and prevent you from making the same mistake in the future.

How to Forgive Yourself for a Big Mistake (7 Steps) (2)

6. If you need to ask for forgiveness or reparation, do so

If your big mistake was hurting someone else, you need to ask that person for forgiveness. After acknowledging and accepting that you did something wrong, do your part to make amends.

The other person may or may not be willing to forgive you the moment you ask for forgiveness, and that's okay. Don't rush or try to force it. Forgiveness is a process and unfortunately you cannot determine the outcome. Keep in mind that there is a high possibility that you have damaged the relationship beyond repair. If that's the case, you must be prepared to deal with those consequences as well.

The most important thing is that you do your part in asking for forgiveness and that you keep working to become a better person. You will be able to move forward knowing that you have done everything you could to restore the relationship. It may be difficult to accept a negative outcome, but again, you must be willing to deal with those consequences.

7. Reflect on what you learned from the mistake

If you look closely at each mistake, you can often find a lesson. Mistakes can be used as learning opportunities. Instead of beating yourself up for the mistake you made, understand that you should forgive yourself, learn something new, and work hard not to make the same mistake again in the future.

(Video) How to Forgive Yourself of the Past | Eckhart Tolle Teachings

8. If necessary, seek professional advice

Sometimes the mistake you made is so big that you can't handle it on your own. Know that you are perfectly fineSearching for helpby a professional when you are out of options and don't know what to do next. Seeking professional help doesn't mean you're weak or taking it easy on yourself. There are people who are trained to give you the guidance you need to achieve healing. If you go through these steps and still aren't making any progress, you may need to contact a professional.

9. Let go and move on

When you dwell in the past, moving forward is a challenge. You gotta let it go I know this is so much easier said than done, but it is possible. If you experience these negative thoughts, try to replace them with positive thoughts. Perhaps you have some pictures to look at that bring happy thoughts? Maybe there's a song or two that brings a smile to your face when you hear it? Maybe there's a friend you can call who's guaranteed to make you laugh every time you talk to her? Find what gets you in a good place and surround yourself with it when you feel negative thoughts entering your head. You cannot allow negative thoughts to dwell in your head if you really want to move forward.

psychology today says: "It's about remembering the good moments instead of letting an unhappy ending mar the whole experience."

How to Forgive Yourself for a Big Mistake (7 Steps) (3)

What if it's a past mistake and you just can't forgive yourself for it?

Some mistakes may seem terrible, but remember to take the lessons you can learn from your mistakes. Learn to see the value (and truly priceless benefit) of learning from your past mistakes.

And if you're wonderinghow to forgive yourself for the unforgivable, be clear: it really isn't unforgivable. No matter how bad it seems, you can recover from your past mistake.

(Video) How To Forgive Yourself & Learn From Your Mistakes

Questions and Answers (if you're still struggling to forgive yourself)

How do I stop punishing myself for past mistakes?

First you have to acknowledge that you did something wrong. Then realize that your mistake does not define you. Finally make a decision to move forward!

How do I let go of regret and guilt?

So often we continue to feel guilty for things that humans have already forgiven us.Repeat positive affirmations to yourself to dismiss any guilt you may feel about your mistake. When negative thoughts come to your mind, try to replace them with positive thoughts. Surround yourself with people and things that make you happy.

Do past mistakes define you?

Your past mistakes do not define you. Don't let your past mistakes keep throwing you in your face. You are not that person. Think of all the great things you've done and keep those things in mind so you can move forward positively!

What happens after an error?

You must make a conscious effort to overcome your mistake. Acknowledge your mistake, try to make amends, dust yourself off and move on.


There's no denying that it's hard to forgive yourself, even after making a big mistake. It will take time. It will take intentional effort. Hopefully this article has provided you with a guide that will help you successfully overcome your big mistake.

(Video) How To Forgive Yourself For Past Mistakes And Guilt


What are the 4 R's of self forgiveness? ›

Responsibility: Accept what has happened and show yourself compassion. Remorse: Use guilt and remorse as a gateway to positive behaviour change. Restoration: Make amends with whomever you're forgiving, even if it's yourself. Renewal: Learn from the experience and grow as a person.

How do I let go of guilt and forgive myself? ›

How to Forgive Yourself and Let go of Regrets
  1. Acceptance. Acknowledge that you are a human, and know that every human makes mistakes. ...
  2. Learn from mistakes. Try to learn from your mistakes. ...
  3. Take risks. Be willing to take risks. ...
  4. Visualize the future. Picture yourself free from guilt, regret, and self-condemnation.

What does God say about forgiving yourself? ›

The basis for forgiving ourselves is the kindness and compassion of God for us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:32)! All who are in Jesus are freed from condemnation (Romans 8:1) and freed to love (Galatians 5:13). We are meant to display the mercies of God as sinners forgiven of their sins (1 Timothy 1:15-16)!

What are the 7 steps of forgiveness? ›

7 Steps to True Forgiveness
  • Step 1: Acknowledge. Acknowledge the hurt. ...
  • Step 2: Consider. Consider how the hurt and pain has affected you. ...
  • Step 3: Accept. Accept that you cannot change the past. ...
  • Step 4: Determine. Determine whether or not you will forgive. ...
  • Step 5: Repair. ...
  • Step 6: Learn. ...
  • Step 7: Forgive.
Dec 10, 2013

How do I get over my biggest mistake in life? ›

6 ways to move past your mistakes
  1. Accept your mistakes. Sometimes just owning your mistake is really hard. ...
  2. Find the lesson in it. ...
  3. Be kind to yourself. ...
  4. Remember that you're thinking about it more than anyone else. ...
  5. Figure out what's next. ...
  6. Let it go.
Apr 9, 2021

Why is self-forgiveness so hard? ›

The major pitfall of self-forgiveness is that it can sometimes reduce empathy for those who have been hurt by your actions. Although self-forgiveness often relieves feelings of guilt, there are times this inward focus may make it more difficult to identify with others.

How do you recover from guilt? ›

10 tips to stop feeling guilty
  1. Acknowledge it exists. ...
  2. Eliminate negative self-talk. ...
  3. Find out if there's a reason to feel guilty. ...
  4. Remind yourself of all that you do. ...
  5. Realize it's OK to have needs. ...
  6. Establish boundaries. ...
  7. Make amends. ...
  8. Understand what you can control.

What are the 4 components of forgiveness? ›

4 Steps to Forgiveness
  • Talk to someone you trust and open up about how hurt, sad or angry you may feel. Let your emotions out, and don't apologize for them.
  • Don't withdraw or isolate yourself. Stay connected and feel the pain, even though it hurts. With someone there to listen, the pain is more bearable.
Sep 9, 2009

What are the four types of forgiveness? ›

The four types of forgiveness are Cheap Forgiveness, Refusing to Forgive, Acceptance, and genuine Forgiveness.

What is four R's in brief? ›

The four R's are used for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover. REDUCE: This means to use the environmental resources in a sustainable way and prevent the wastage. For example, using a bucket full of water instead of a shower while bathing.


1. How Self-Forgiveness Saved My Life | Josh Galarza | TEDxNewburgh
(TEDx Talks)
2. How To Forgive Yourself For Past Mistakes | Step By Step
(The Self Forgiveness Coach )
(Howell Consultations)
4. How to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes and Get Rid of the Guilt // 5 Essential Steps (Christian)
5. How to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes | 6 Simple Steps to Self-forgiveness
6. Jordan Peterson -The Art of Forgiving Yourself
(Better Mindset)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Saturnina Altenwerth DVM

Last Updated: 08/10/2023

Views: 5622

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Saturnina Altenwerth DVM

Birthday: 1992-08-21

Address: Apt. 237 662 Haag Mills, East Verenaport, MO 57071-5493

Phone: +331850833384

Job: District Real-Estate Architect

Hobby: Skateboarding, Taxidermy, Air sports, Painting, Knife making, Letterboxing, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Saturnina Altenwerth DVM, I am a witty, perfect, combative, beautiful, determined, fancy, determined person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.