Last Updated on August 15, 2023 by Angela Vaz

You messed up.

You made a mistake.

It shouldn’t have happened that way, but it did, and you’re unable to get over it now.

You keep replaying the situation, asking yourself what you could have done differently, and you can’t get past that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach.

You feel bad for what you’ve done, and you wish you could rewind time to make up for what happened.

In my experience, forgiveness is the first step to love.

Why is it so hard to forgive yourself?

Why is it so hard to forgive yourself

It’s considerably easy to forgive someone else rather than yourself because we are often most hard on ourselves.

That little voice in our heads never cuts us any slack.

It perennially replays the mistakes we’ve made and blows up situations that can easily be handled with a simple conversation.

It’s not easy.

And that’s why I’m going to cover how you can forgive yourself after hurting someone you love in this blog post.

Let’s begin.

But before that really quick, get my free guide on how to really reset your life.

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Should you forgive yourself for hurting someone?

Should you forgive yourself for hurting someone

Yes, because if you don’t, you’re going to ruin your peace of mind and mental health.

Life goes on, and we cannot stop or reset the clock.

It’s going to keep going no matter what happens.

We all make mistakes, and it’s pretty natural to feel guilt when we hurt someone we care about or love.

There are healthy ways of coping with the guilt we feel, and after we’re done making amends, it is best to move on and let it go.

How do I get over the guilt of hurting someone?

Understand that it’s okay to feel guilt.

Everyone makes mistakes.

We aren’t perfect.

Sometimes, it’s due to a judgment in error, and other times, we’d have decided in haste – not analyzing the repercussions or consequences to it.

We are all human, and it’s okay to feel guilty for what’s happened.

Guilt and remorse allow us to replay the mistake in our heads and understand where we went wrong and how we can rectify it.

It helps us understand how we could have avoided doing a specific action not to hurt someone.

It contributes to our self-awareness, and we learn to do better next time.

Mistakes help us grow and become better human beings. It helps us become better versions of ourselves.

Forgiving yourself is the first step to loving yourself.

How to forgive yourself after hurting someone you love?

1. Accept responsibility for the mistake you’ve made

Accept responsibility for your mistakes
Ana Fernweh Photography

The first step to actual forgiveness is acknowledging that you did something wrong.

Don’t stay in denial or shift the blame to something or someone else.

It’s only going to make the situation worse and increase your inner guilt.

Like I said before, we all make mistakes. We all screw up. We all have inherent flaws that cause us to behave a certain way.

And it’s okay.

That’s who we are. Every time we make a mistake, we learn to do better.

So, admit what you’ve done and take responsibility for your actions.

Take some time to analyze what has happened and what you could have done differently. Go over the situation once or twice and give yourself some time to process it.

Don’t rush this process.

This process will take some time, and it’s okay. Give yourself that much time.

2. Know that your mistakes don’t define you

You are not a specific deed.

You are not a particular action.

We all make mistakes.

Nobody has the right to judge you based on a certain action. Nobody, including you.

So, accept that you’ve made a mistake. But understand that you are not a bad person or a terrible human being.

It was just a bad judgment call.

You had your reasons for doing what you did at that point in time. Maybe you were angry. Perhaps you were not emotionally stable. Maybe you were not thinking straight. Or perhaps you didn’t have all the facts.

At the time, it felt like the right decision.

It’s okay.

Accept it and move on.

3. Talk to a friend/loved one

Talk to someone you trust.

Sometimes, the best way to rid yourself of negative emotion is to let it all out.

And you can do this by calling someone you trust or love.

Speak to someone who is mature and wise and gives you good advice. If you’d rather talk to someone unbiased, speak to a counselor or a therapist.

Tell them about the incident and how you feel. Ask them for tips to move on and get over the incident.

A therapist will give you coping techniques, and I highly recommend one if you cannot move on from the incident.

If talking to another person makes you uncomfortable, write it out.

Write down your feelings in a journal or a letter to yourself.

The idea is to open up and get it out of your system. It’s not healthy to contain all your feelings and emotions.

It’s just going to bubble up before it explodes in an unhealthy manner.

Apart from getting emotional support and advice that will help you, it’s also a great idea to talk to someone because you’ll get a fresh perspective.

We are often too harsh on ourselves, and sometimes our emotions can cloud our judgment.

Talking to other people will help us see the situation clearly for what it is.

4. Try to make it up to the person

Now that you’ve spent enough time analyzing what went wrong and mulling over what you could have done differently, it’s time to make amends.

Talk to the person you’ve hurt.

It’s best to meet them in person, but if it’s not an option, then a phone call will work.

Offer them a genuine apology. Be honest and open, and call yourself out for what you did.

It doesn’t matter how they react.

What matters is you’re making amends.

If you’re unable to apologize to the other person due to a few complications or they’ve passed away, then write them a letter.

There were many things I wanted to say to my mum before she died and I never got a chance to tell her, so I wrote her letters.

I still do.

And they helped me process my feelings.

If, after apologizing and making amends, the person chooses not to forgive you or continue to hold a grudge – it’s not on you.

It’s their personal battles or struggles that are preventing them from forgiving you.

So, let it go and move on with your life.

You’ve played your part.

You’ve done what you could to make it up to them. You have no control over their feelings and emotions. Learn to forgive yourself and control what you can.

5. Practice self love

Practice self love

You cannot love anyone else if you do not love yourself first.

To have healthy relationships with other people, you need to work on yourself first.

You need to realize that you are enough, that you are worthy of forgiveness, and that you are loved.

If you’re having difficulty forgiving yourself, there is a strong chance that you lack self-love.

I highly recommend learning what self-love is and then starting a journey of falling in love with yourself and your life so that you can work toward becoming a beautiful version of yourself.

Here are some posts you might enjoy:

6. Learn from your mistakes

It is important to learn from your mistakes and not repeat them in the future to avoid hurting the people you love and yourself.

If you feel you’re constantly slipping up and there is a pattern, try to identify what could be causing this.

You may have to trace back your steps to identify what has hurt you in the past that is causing you to harm the people around you.

It could be unresolved anger issues or hurt from the past that hinders you from healing and leads you to react negatively with other people.

If you’re constantly pushing people away, perhaps you were bullied when you were younger or were abandoned by an older role model, causing you to be afraid of forming connections with other people.

7. Stop ruminating

stop ruminating

Learn to quiet your inner voice.

Your inner voice will often be the harshest on you.

Understand that you’ve done everything you could to rectify the mistake. You cannot go back in time to undo what you’ve done, so you’ve taken steps to make it up to the person, yourself, and prevent something from happening like this in the future.

You’ve repented; you’ve made up.

It’s enough.

You do not need to torture yourself for all eternity to make up for what has happened.

Stop beating yourself up and using sentences like, “I’m an awful person” or “I’m the worst sister. She doesn’t deserve to have a sibling like me.”

These thoughts aren’t constructive and won’t help anyone.

Instead, use sentences like, “I’m human. I’ve made a terrible mistake. And I will make it up to her. I will never repeat this mistake, and I will learn to be a better sister to her.”

8. Let go of the past

You have zero control of the past.

But the past can have massive control over us if we don’t attempt to live in the present moment.

Yet, it plagues everyone at some point in time because memories will play in our heads at some point in time, and it can lead us to go down a rabbit hole of thinking and play out several scenarios.

If you do not learn to let of the past, you will find it difficult to forgive yourself and move on from overthinking and overanalyzing.

Your past should remain in the past.

Try to focus on the now so that you can live your life.

Here are a few posts that will help you:

9. Let your loved ones know how much you care

let your loved ones know how much you love them

I keep a note of the people I love, and I make it a point to check on them every once in a while.

Send love notes to your family and friends every once in a while, asking them about their day or appreciating how grateful you are to have them in your life.

If you read a cute quote or joke, send it to them.

Send a photo you took recently that reminds you of them.

Keep in touch.

When people you love know how much you care for them, they’re less likely to be offended by your mistakes.

Takeaway – Getting over hurting someone you love

It’s not an easy journey – to forgive yourself.

It does take time, and it does involve processing a lot of feelings.

The idea is to be gentle with yourself and understand that you are human and make mistakes.

By forgiving yourself and loving yourself, you become a stronger person emotionally.

We all have something that we can contribute to this world, and moving on from the guilt and becoming mentally strong again will allow us to become the best version of ourselves to share our light with others.

Forgiving yourself is not selfish. It’s the best way to show love to ourselves. And when we can love ourselves, we can love other people better.

Suppose you feel depressed and are unable to get over the issue, or the memories keep replaying in your head to an extent where you cannot focus on anything except that. In that case, I highly recommend getting therapy or seeking a counselor to process your feelings.

Here are some posts that you might enjoy:

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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