9 Ways Self-Compassion Can Help You (Finally) Forgive Yourself

Nobody's perfect.

forgive yourself weheartit

Being human is complicated, misunderstandings arise, no matter what you do.

You are human! You are imperfect! Being imperfect is part of being a person. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

You learn through trial and error. You make mistakes. You learn from your mistakes. They only become a problem if you don’t learn from them. 

Often you mess up when you are tired and frustrated. The closer you are to people, the more likely you are going to release your anger and frustration on them. 


RELATED:3 Ways Practicing Forgiveness Is An Intimacy GAME-CHANGER (And How To Do It)

Sometimes you do something with good intentions, and it doesn’t work out in the way you expected. You still feel you let people down.

Other times you are misunderstood. Being misunderstood is disconcerting when someone you care about gets angry at you for something you never said, creating feelings of guilt and self-loathing.

You say things you later regret. You treat people in a way that goes against your values. When you wake up to what you have done, you can be your own greatest critic.

Here are 9 things you can do when you feel overwhelmed by your mistakes to help you learn how to forgive yourself:


1. Own your "shadow side".

Your shadow side of you is that part of yourself that you that is difficult to acknowledge. It might be that you don’t like the way you look. It might be that you don’t want to admit you have anger issues. It might be how you don’t want to accept the fact that you abuse your body. It might be that you hate your job.

Owning your shadow side is all about fully accepting all of who you are both positive, negative and in-between.

Remember that your imperfections don’t take away your humanity. Instead, they make you the unique individual you are. 

When you love all of yourself, often the issues/situations where you have been less than, can be transformed. The emotions and sensations of well-being become a reality. You can experience prosperity when you experience the vast wisdom of your body, feelings, and mind.


2. Be honest with yourself. 

Shining the light on your shadow side is the first step towards healing.

Accepting your shadow side is your call for radical honesty. Radical honesty is a time when you can celebrate all your weaknesses and strengths. Radical honesty is a time to celebrate your humanity making you the unique and beautiful person you are.

Being honest with yourself is to celebrate all the good you have done and are contributing to the world. It is also the time admit when you have fallen short of your own and other people’s expectations.

It is about allowing yourself to feel the ups and downs of your emotions in your heart and the sensations of your body. The more you can be with these human experiences the more you will be able to forgive yourself.


3. Learn from your mistakes.

A mistake can suddenly become an excellent opportunity for growth. Try calling a mistake an opportunity. See if rephrasing the word changes the way you feel about it.

When you are evaluating a mistake you make, discern what you could have done differently. What difference would this make in how the situation worked out. What would help you to respond differently?

Take a moment to discern the good that came out of your experience. Think of this so-called mistake has added more tools to your life toolbox. When you experience handling a similar situation in the future, give yourself some positive feedback.

4. Apologize to those you have hurt.

There is no way to get around the reality that you are going to hurt someone whether or not intentionally or not.


Forgiveness requires a genuine heartfelt apology. But please only apologize for something you did wrong. Don’t use this tactic as a tool appease others. Just because someone gets upset with you doesn’t automatically mean you are responsible.

Apologies always go more profound when you can demonstrate to those you have impacted in some real concrete way. Usually, it is enough just to show them how you have changed through your interactions with them. They will know if you are taking your apology seriously.

5. Remember all the good you have done.

You are a whole person. You can not just divide yourself into good and bad parts. You are beautiful and sophisticated. You are a vast body of emotions, sensations, thoughts, and spirit.


While I am encouraging you to fully experience your shadow side, you also need to soak up the best you have done for others and the Earth. Notice it! Feel it! Enjoy the energy of your goodness.

Don’t take for granted all the small acts of kindness you share each day. There is nothing too little. They all make a difference in the world.

6. Discover rituals to help you forgive yourself.

In an era where many have no religious affiliation, you may not have a ceremony to help you making meaning out of the ups and downs of life.

Ritual is a great tool to help you to make peace with your humanity. In Christianity, communion helps you to acknowledge your imperfections while reminding you are still loved.


Rituals don’t have to be complicated. It could be as simple of making time every day for a family meal where you take time to hear from each persons day whether good, bad or indifferent.

Having a meal together whether, with a friend, spouse or family helps you to feel that you are part of something more significant and your humanity reflected back to each other in all its glory and messiness.

7. Discover tools to help you to honor and befriend yourself.

There are many tools available to you that can help you to be present grounded in your body, heart, and mind. I invite you to find one that works for you.

I highly recommend the Enneagram personality tool. I love it because it helps you to be in your body, heart, and mind without any judgment. It helps you to be more forgiving of yourself because it points out where you are more likely going to get stuck.


More importantly, the tool shows you and encourages you to get out of your box. It provides you with clues to get healthier and gives you signs when you need to take better care of yourself.

Also, it helps you to understand other people. Learning about their personality helps you to have as much compassion for them as you have yourself.

8. Honor your body with good food and exercise.

Look at your life. Are you eating healthy food? Are you eating enough or too much? Do you exercise your body?

Do you care for your mind by quieting it down? Have you tried to meditate? There are so many ways to meditate. I like Centering Prayer because you don’t have to, entirely, empty your mind. You just need to prevent your busy mind from getting in the way of your inner peace.


Mindfulness is another form of meditation that is similar to Centering Prayer. Mindfulness helps you learn to focus your attention on what is going on in yourself. It is about learning to allow the curious part of yourself to go deeper into what is going on in your psyche.

9. Uplift your spirit remembering that you are part of something much higher.

You might do this through being part of a religious/spiritual community such as a church, synagogue, mosque or temple. The important message here is that you are not alone in this human experience.

If you are among the many without a religious background to ground yourself in ritual, try out simple acts of community building as part of learning how to forgive yourself. Enjoy a meal with someone you care for. Acknowledge what is going in each other’s lives no matter how positive or negative it might seem.


Sharing, simple gifts with those we care about you can help yourself and others to acknowledge the bond you have with each other no matter how easy, or hard life is. It is all about celebrating the messiness and wonder of your humanity.

You are on a journey full of richness, surprises, disappointments, and wonder. If you embrace your human journey, you will find joy, meaning, and purpose.

You will find a deep reservoir of emotional strength and wisdom to get you through the rough times. Not only get through the turbulent times, but you will fall in love with life.

So every time you feel like you are getting hard on yourself, I invite you to be with those sensations, emotions, and thoughts, making peace with them. While you are doing this, I encourage you to breathe deeply and slowly. Being gentle with yourself gives you the room to face your fears and insecurities.


You don’t need to run away from those intense, uncomfortable feelings. When you face them, they will lose their power over you. If you hold on to them, they will get worse.

You can choose to be your best friend. It will take you time to change your habits, attitude, and insecurities, but with time and practice, you can find new life.

So go and fall in love with life! Be your best friend! Be gentle with your imperfections. Remember they are what makes you uniquely yourself.

RELATED: 7 Humble Ways Forgiving Others Makes Your Life WAY Better

Roland Legge offers life coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at (306) 620-7478 or book your appointment online, please click on “Discovery Call.”