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  • Writer's pictureMichael Hernacki

Forgive Yourself. It’s Good for You.

"EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES" stenciled on a wall

Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know. When you forgive someone for doing you wrong, you actually make yourself healthier. Dwelling on past wrongs keeps you stuck there. Forgiving helps you deal with the wrong and move past it. That’s healthy. And powerful.

But what if the person you’re hurting is you?

If you’re like me, you find it easier to forgive others than to forgive yourself. So you carry the guilty feeling with you. And not forgiving yourself can be just as harmful to your health as carrying a hurt someone else caused.

When you’ve harmed another or yourself, identify what you did wrong, whether with words or actions. Admit it. Take the blame. Then ask for forgiveness, just as you would of anyone you respect. Actually say the words, “I forgive myself.” Even better, write them down. Say or write those words until you feel yourself believing them.

That’s a powerful little exercise. Notice how you feel afterwards: the release, the relief, the sense that, deep down, you’re OK. You deserve to feel that way all the time.

You can do it. Start by forgiving yourself for your most recent mistakes today!


Phun Phacts    Research has shown that people who routinely forgive themselves have better well-being, more positive attitudes, and healthier relationships.    Forgiveness has physical benefits too. It lowers heart attack risk, improves cholesterol and sleep, reduces pain and blood pressure.

Cartoon of two inmates in jail. One is reading and says, "Just remember, it's O.K. to be guilty, but it's not O.K. to feel guilty.


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