In this guide, we will discuss “How to forgive yourself for hurting someone” and some tips and things we need to consider when starting the healing process of forgiving yourself and asking for forgiveness.
How to forgive yourself for hurting someone?
If you are thinking about ‘How to forgive yourself for hurting someone?’ is because you feel you may have ‘messed up’ by saying or doing something to someone you feel deeply sorry about or that you deeply regret but don’t even know how to start forgiving yourself in order to be forgiven by others.
It is common to be in a situation where we need others to forgive us but have you noticed how difficult and hard it is to forgive ourselves?
If we feel guilty or ashamed about what happened we need to make sure we are not so hard on ourselves, since most of the time we are our own executioner.
We are so afraid to even ask for forgiveness because we are not even able to forgive ourselves so we think why others should.
As human beings, we need to be reminded that we have flaws and we make mistakes because we are not perfect, not intending to justify hurting other people but being realistic about it to start the process of forgiving yourself.
Everyone messes up at some point, so there is no need to judge yourself to such a high standard where you are not able even to make mistakes.
Moreover, try to understand that you can’t do anything to go back in time and undo what you have done, it is out of your control.
What you can do is try to repair the damage and hurt you have caused, as difficult and hard as it may seem.
It is OK to feel guilty
Feeling guilty means you actually have a conscience that indicates what you did was wrong when we contrast it with our system of values and beliefs.
Here, what we need to do is to be fully aware of the situation or incident and recognize we did something wrong, but in the end, we need to analyze, learn from this mistake, and try to prevent it from happening in the future.
Feeling guilty is extremely normal, think about how you have felt guilty for lying to your parents about how bad you did in your Math’s test or how you ate the last piece of pie and blamed someone else for it.
It is exactly the same feeling of guilt it is just applied to different situations and with a different ‘degree’ of guilt.
Admit you have messed up
Admitting to ourselves we have messed up can be difficult because we tend to blame it on others or make excuses to feel better about the situation, avoiding feeling guilty for our wrongdoing.
What can you do then? Own up to your mistakes, acknowledging you made a mistake won’t make you less human, on the contrary, we are full of flaws and we are allowed to make mistakes (not intended as an excuse to make it a habit).
Moreover, if we decide to ignore the problem, it won’t actually make it go away or make you feel any better.
At some point, you will have to make amends with yourself and even if it comes with negative emotions, you can actually turn it around and learn from it.
Imagine being forgiven
You can do the exercise of visualizing the moment when you are forgiven. How do you feel at that moment?
What are the emotions that arise? And how would you react?
If you are able to comprehend and understand those emotions then you can truly forgive yourself.
Try to close your eyes and focus on your breathing, imagine every sensation and locate yourself in the here and no, not in the past where things happened.
There is nothing you can do now to change it, so it is better to move forward and start your healing process.
Moreover, if you are having a hard time, you can actually write it down.
Be as specific as you’d like and practice how you would ask for an apology to the person you have hurt.
It is a good exercise to go over what you have written down and maybe even read it out loud.
Apologize to the people you may have hurt
After you have forgiven yourself, admitted your fault and how you made a mistake, it is time to approach the person you have hurt and sincerely apologize for hurting them.
It isn’t just about saying sorry but also saying what for.
However, try to wait for a few days until things have cooled down so they can be a bit more receptive to your apology, but be patient and give them time.
Make sure you listen to what they have to say in response to your apology and don’t demand or pressure them to forgive you right away.
Give them time and space to think about your apology and what you have said.
Talk to someone you trust
If you are feeling too overwhelmed with guilt and/or shame, it is very useful if you can share your thoughts with someone you trust.
This is why it is important to surround yourself with people who care about you since they will say things to you to help you and not to complicate things.
Sometimes, what we really need is for someone to listen to us and you may even ask either for advice or another perspective to go around the problem.
This is especially true because when we are angry at ourselves, we have a clouded judgment and we seem to just spend our time feeling a lot of different emotions we are (sometimes) not able to understand or deal with.
Having someone to give us their opinion can make us think more clearly.
You are not your mistake
Whatever you have done should not let you define who you really are and some people keep suffering and torturing themselves when they believe they are defined by it.
This will only bring pain and will make even more difficult the process of forgiving yourself.
We need to understand that a mistake is a mistake and nothing more.
You are not what you do since sometimes we don’t really know what we are doing or are not fully aware of the consequences.
Learn from your mistake
Since you can’t change what you have done, you can actually learn your lesson and prevent it from happening again in the future.
Mistakes and experiences make us who we are and form our personality and character.
If we didn’t have the ability to learn from them, then we would make the same mistake over and over again.
Remember, making mistakes is part of growing as a person and maturing.
However, even if you come up with the perfect solution to amend your mistake, the other person may not be ready to forgive you or may not forgive you at all.
This is something out of your control, but at least you have learned your lesson.
Why is this blog about How to forgive yourself for hurting someone important?
We have discussed how important it is to forgive ourselves when we have hurt someone else.
We also know it seems to be harder to forgive ourselves than someone else and how we tend to feel the guilt, regret and even shame for what we have done.
Remember that we need to forgive ourselves first so we can come up with an honest and sincere apology where we not only recognize our wrongdoing but also how we affected someone else and what we can do to prevent it from happening in the future.
Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to forgive yourself for hurting someone
What do you do when you accidentally hurt someone’s feelings?
If you have accidentally hurt someone’s feelings try to approach the person after a day or two and apologize as you really mean it.
The best thing you can do is recognize it was your fault and tell the person you are sorry for hurting their feelings, that you had no intention to.
How do you forgive yourself for hurting a friend?
To forgive yourself for hurting a friend, try the following:
– Accept that you are not perfect and you are allowed to make mistakes.
– Remember how you are not a bad person and how good people still hurt other people.
– Talk to someone about the incident and ask for advice.
– Talk to your inner self and try to go past the incident.
– Talk to your friend and ask for forgiveness after knowing you have hurt them.
How do you apologize for hurting someone you love?
If you truly want to apologize for hurting someone you love:
– Make a sincere apology from the bottom of your heart, as you really care about what happened and you really mean to say you are sorry.
– Be specific about why you are apologizing for since just saying ‘I am sorry’ won’t be enough.
– Focus on the person and not you. Apologize focusing on what you did and how it affected them instead of saying something like ‘I am so sorry, I was so stupid!’.
– Avoid using ‘but’ when you are apologizing.
How do you make someone feel better after you hurt them?
If you want to make someone feel better after you have hurt them follow these tips:
– Acknowledge it was your fault.
– Give them time to accept your apology so try not to be pushy about it.
– Take things slowly.
– Be empathetic and focus on how you made them feel.
– Be prepared if the relationship with that person may change a little because of what happened.
– When apologizing, be sincere and honest about your feelings.
– Let them speak their minds.
How do you say sorry when you really messed up?
If you have really messed up you can say ‘I am sorry’ but be specific about why you are sorry.
In addition, avoid making excuses or blaming someone else for what you did, own up to your mistakes.
Offer to resolve the incident and how you plan to prevent it in the future, if necessary.
What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues
- If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.
If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.
Abber, C. (2019, Jan.) How to Actually Forgive Yourself. Retrieved from oprahmag.com.
Davidson, M. (n.d.) Learn to Forgive Yourself Even When You’ve Hurt Someone Else. Retrieved from tinybuddha.com.
Nerdycreator.com: “How to Forgive Yourself for Hurting Someone”