Finding closure means finding peace within yourself. Whether that’s from a bad breakup or forgiving yourself of some past mistakes, finding closure is important for your well-being. Forgiving yourself is one of the best ways to find closure, however, it is not always so easy.
While you may be generous in your ability to forgive someone else, you may be much harder on yourself. This is very common for everyone, so you are not alone. Everyone makes mistakes, but learning how to learn from those errors, let go, and move on is important to your mental and physical health. Here is how you can receive closure by forgiving yourself, and steps that may help you achieve internal forgiveness sooner.
Learning How to Forgive Yourself and Let Go
Self-forgiveness is a process used to describe the self-release of personal guilt and shame. Self-forgiveness is not about letting yourself off the hook, or not feeling empathy for your actions. It is simply accepting those actions and choosing to move forward. The act of forgiveness will bring you closure because you are no longer holding onto that guilt and shame. It allows you to close that door and move forward.
To forgive yourself you should do multiple things, including understand your emotions, treat yourself with kindness, and make amends for your wrongdoings. Putting the focus on these efforts, along with a few others, will help you learn from those mistakes to not make them again in the future. Below are some ways to self-forgive and let go.
Understand Your Emotions
Studies have proven that identifying and labeling your emotions can help reduce the intensity of what you are feeling. Becoming aware of your emotions is an important part of forgiving yourself, and can help you better regulate them. This is important for regulating emotions like guilt, shame, and anger so that those don’t become the forefront of your healing process.
Not only is self-forgiveness about putting the past behind you, but it is also about accepting what has happened and showing compassion for yourself. We often rationalize, make excuses, and beat ourselves up over what we did to help us cope. Instead, you need to learn to just accept your behaviors and choose not to do them again.
Treat Yourself with Kindness
Accepting responsibility does not mean getting angry at yourself for making a mistake. Self-forgiveness also involves treating yourself with kindness and compassion, just as you would anyone else. Try to avoid being self-critical and instead, be compassionate while still acknowledging that you made a mistake and want to do better.
Apologize and Make Amends
Apologizing is an important part of self-forgiveness and receiving closure. Make amends and look for ways that you can make it up to whoever you have hurt. Fixing your mistakes and owning them means you will never have to wonder if you could have done more. Overall, you must learn from the experience and try to do better.
Source: Kendra Cherry (2023) How to Forgive Yourself
Source: Jessica Cassity (2022) 6 Ways to Forgive Yourself and Start Moving Forward
Source: Steve Scott (2023) 16 Strategies to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes