How to Forgive Yourself

Consider the good you can do; rather than the bad you cannot undo.

Most people are not very self forgiving, yet if you cannot forgive yourself what chance have you of forgiving anyone else? If you feel something like, “I need to forgive myself”, then read on…

Forgiving yourself is one of the most generous and unselfish things you can do. Everyone around you benefits when you forgive yourself: you will allow more good to come into your life so you will have more to share with others (especially those closest to you.  When you forgive yourself your whole attitude to life changes and improves, your whole way of seeing other people becomes gentler, kinder, more generous and more loving – especially you will be more forgiving of others.

When you forgive yourself; you become a better husband or wife, you become a better student or teacher, you become a better employer or employee and you become a better parent or child. When you forgive you are more open to success in whatever ways are meaningful to you. As you learn to forgive, what seemed impossible not only becomes possible, but can even become easily achievable.

In order to forgive yourself you may need to think of a suitable way to make amends to the other person. Making amends can be a very good thing to do, but watch out for self punishment disguised as remorse. Making amends, or even thinking about making amends, should normally bring you a feeling of relief. If it does not then it might be that some form self-harm, or self punishment in disguise. Making amends may cost you; but it should not harm you.

If you have no access to the person (they are out of your life for whatever reason) yet you want to make amends, then do it by proxy and be particularly, kind generous or helpful to someone of the same race, group or type of person – or even just someone at random.

Note: Do you believe God has to forgive you before you can forgive yourself? If so, ask yourself how you know that has not already happened. Then try and complete the Four Steps a few times and see if you are any clearer. (See Does God Forgive Me? in free ebook below)

Step 1. Wanting:

Write: I want to forgive myself for __________________

Pick one specific thing.

Example: I want to forgive myself for getting angry and saying hurtful things to my brother.

Step 2. Current Unhappy Feelings: I want to release the feelings of:
List the feelings you currently have around the event. You need to acknowledge those feelings to release them to move forward.

(I feel…)


Examples; fear,  self-reproach, self-hate, guilt, shame, etc.

Step 3A. Benefits to You:

List the benefits which will come to you as you become able to forgive yourself for the situation. The benefits can include being free of the feelings you listed in Step 2, and feeling their opposite. Benefits can also include being able to create better relationships, getting a better job, having more money, etc., depending on what is relevant to what it is you are forgiving yourself for.

(I will have more…)


Examples; peace, freedom, feel happier, more relaxed and so on.

Step 3B. Benefits to Others:

In this step we focus on the ways others will benefit from you forgiving yourself.
Forgiving yourself can benefit others by helping you become a better parent, a more attentive friend, a better listener, and more forgiving person and so on. You might be less self-absorbed and more interested in others.

(I will give others more…)


Examples; Kindness, time, money, good things, pleasant conversations.

Step 4. Forgiveness Affirmation:

I forgive ……….[name] and I accept the [benefits] which forgiveness brings.

Pick two of the most appealing benefits which you wrote in Step 3A and make an affirmation out of them

For example if you were forgiving someone called Janet and the two benefits you choose, from Step 3, were “peace, freedom” you would write:

I forgive Janet and I accept the peace and freedom which forgiveness brings.

Say this affirmation to yourself slowly in the silence of your mind at least three times. Then return to Step 1, keep going through the steps, changing the wording you previously wrote at each step if something else occurs to you. Keep going round the steps till you feel clear.

Making Amends

Of course none of this excludes making amends or apologizing where this is feasible and would be helpful; as long as doing so is not going to cause the others involved more pain. Also it is best to do some Self Forgiveness Work (as above) before trying to make amends, so that it is genuine and not a form of self punishment. If you give it some thought as to what is right you will soon get some ideas as to what to do. If it is not possible to make amends; then live your life as best you can. Consider the good you can do; rather than the bad you cannot undo.

Written by: William Fergus Martin

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Four Steps to Forgiveness

A powerful way to freedom, happiness and success.

William Fergus Martin

ISBN: 978-1-63443-344-0