Self Care + Health

How to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes

January 13, 2024

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I think that older women all have this thing in common… We all have made our share of mistakes. And these range from a little red-faced faux pas all the way to creating life-altering issues for someone we love or loved. We’ve lived long enough to have goofed. Some little. Some big. I know I’ve made mistakes that have affected partners, family, pets, friends… but most heart wrenchingly, mistakes that have affected my children and grandchildren. Those are the ones that tear me up the most. But in order to move forward and be the best we can be at this stage in our lives, you need to learn how to forgive yourself for mistakes. Here is how you start!


Forgive Yourself- You Deserve Nothing Less

We all make mistakes; it’s part of being human. But sometimes, forgiving ourselves for those slip-ups can be a real challenge. If you find yourself stuck in a guilt loop, fret not! Here’s an easy does it guide on how to give yourself a break and move forward.


How to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes

1. Acknowledge the Oops Moment:

Okay, so you messed up. It happens. Instead of sweeping it under the rug, take a moment to acknowledge what went wrong. Reflect on the mistake without judgment. It’s not about playing the blame game but understanding the situation. Apologizing has been something I have done a lot the past few years. Yet remember, apologizing does not mean raking yourself over the coals. If the person you are apologizing to isn’t receptive, you need to move on and continue to forgive yourself.

2. Permission to Be Human:

Guess what? You’re not perfect. Nobody is. Give yourself permission to be human and make mistakes. Remember that everyone has their fair share of blunders; it’s just a part of this wild ride called life. Even big blunders. We do the best we can until we know better, then we do better. Maya knew her stuff… 😉

3. Learn and Grow (Cliché but True):

Mistakes are lessons in disguise. What can you learn from this hiccup? Embrace the opportunity to grow and improve. Whether it’s a personal or professional goof-up, use it as a stepping stone for becoming a better version of yourself. This is what positive growth mindset is all about!

4. Time Travel Isn’t an Option:

Wishing you could go back in time and redo things? Sorry, Marty McFly, it’s not happening. Focus on the present and the future. Learn from the past but don’t dwell on it. The only direction we can move is forward, so let’s make it count.

5. Laugh at Yourself:

Humor can be a powerful antidote to guilt. Find the humor in your mistake, even if it’s a bit self-deprecating. Laughter has a magical way of lightening the load and helping you see things from a different perspective. Of course, it may be a while before you can laugh, depending on the mistake. Or, maybe it’s grave enough that you will never actually laugh about it. That’s ok. You still deserve to forgive yourself.

6. Share Your Story:

Chances are, others have been in a similar situation. Share your experience – it might just be the encouragement someone else needs. Vulnerability can be a strength, and you might find that opening up about your mistake fosters connection and understanding. It’s kinda my superpower here at TMG… My biggest mistakes? Not protecting my children enough from unhealthy situations when they were young. Ouch. But I deserve self-forgiveness too… And I am learning to give it to myself!

How to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes7. Treat Yourself Like a Friend:

Imagine your best friend made the same mistake. Or better yet, your granddaughter. Would you berate them endlessly? I hope not. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend. You deserve compassion too.

8. Create a Game Plan:

If your mistake has left a mess in its wake, create a game plan for damage control. Taking positive actions can help shift your focus from self-blame to problem-solving. It’s all about taking charge and moving forward. Start with a sincere apology. Then ask, “what can I do to help make this right?”

9. Self-Forgiveness Rituals:

Whether it’s writing a letter of forgiveness to yourself, helping others, or doing activities that bring you joy, find rituals that help you release that burden of guilt. Sometimes, a simple act can be a powerful symbol of self-forgiveness. How to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes

10. Embrace the Unpredictability:

Life is messy, unpredictable, and wonderfully chaotic. Embrace the imperfections, knowing that each mistake is a stitch in the rich tapestry of your unique journey. The road to forgiving yourself is paved with bumps – navigate them with a smile.

And if you can’t smile yet, at the very least, show compassion to yourself.

Remember, forgiving yourself is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Cut yourself some slack, keep moving forward, and celebrate the beautiful mess that is your imperfect self. Cheers to embracing the journey! 🌟


Forgive Yourself Quotes

Here are a few quotes about forgiving yourself and self-compassion:

“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” – Maya Angelou

“Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can.” – Unknown

“Forgiving yourself is as important as forgiving others.” – Unknown

“Forgive yourself for the blindness that put you in the path of those who betrayed you. Sometimes a good heart doesn’t see the bad.” Unknown

“Forgiving yourself is a part of healing.” – Deborah Reber

“It’s not about what you’ve done; it’s about what you choose to become.” – Unknown

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” – Corrie ten Boom

“Forgiving yourself is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” – Oprah Winfrey

Remember, everyone makes mistakes, and self-forgiveness is an important part of personal growth.

You might also want to check out my posts on:

Why Mindset is Everything for Women 50+ and Confidence and Self-Esteem for Older Women(And How to Boost Both!)

Return to the Blog for more great articles just for women 50+!

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