How To Stop Hating Yourself For Past Mistakes

Psych2goers, have you ever been wallowing in your own guilt due to past mistakes? 

Perhaps your dying mother…on her deathbed, she requested to see you, but you made excuses and refused to see her…until she finally passed away…

Or maybe your Siamese cat was meowing too much that it disturbed you from your sleep. You decided to let him outside for a while, where unfortunately a car has hit him.

Maybe you are haunted by a particular memory in which you let people trample all over you without standing up for yourself. 

These memories make you feel guilty; you feel bad about yourself. Eventually you wrap those negative feelings around yourself like a blanket, and unconsciously punish yourself by being miserable for the rest of your life and refusing to stop the self-blame. 

You are your own worst enemy. You become your own harsh critic. Introspection and reflecting on yourself are definitely healthy, in which you will become more humane and self-aware, however when it happens in unhealthy doses or done in excess, that is when you will start to beat yourself up, thus affecting your peace of mind. 

So, what can you do to stop hating yourself for your past mistakes? 

  1. Talk back to your inner critic

Psych2goers, do you notice your inner voice?  Is it supportive and uplifting, or is it negative and self-defeating? 

When we make mistakes, oftentimes we ruminate on the mistakes incessantly and we tend to be overly critical. 

Our negative self-talk always deviates from reality. When your inner monologue is overly critical, it can interfere with every aspect of your life. 

It’s definitely crucial to distance yourself from your negative internal chatter in order to stop beating yourself up, once and for all. You can address your inner critic directly, and separate your negative self-talk from your own identity, then introduce a new inner voice that is an ally who is more aware and concentrates on more positive things about yourself. 

2. Practice self-compassion

How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you. 

-Rupi Kaur

Psych2goers, one of the ways to stop hating yourself for past mistakes is by practicing self-compassion. This means looking at what has happened in a new perspective and reframing the situation as a setback instead of a catastrophe. Be kind, gentle, and understanding to yourself. Self-compassion is not selfish. There is no need to punish your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, learn to grow from it, and then let it go. 

3. Redemption arc or make it right 

“Zuko can do it, so can you! 🙂

Another way to forgive yourself for your past mistakes is to look for a way to show kindness to those you have hurt in order to make amends. But what about that friend who no longer wants to talk to you because of a mistake you’ve made? Maybe they blocked you from all social media and want nothing to do with you. How can you still make things right when they’ve been stonewalling you? You can actually channel the kindness to your current friendships or relationships. Learn from your past mistakes to help you become a better friend in your current friendships.

4. Realize that humans make mistakes 

Humans are not infallible beings. We are prone to make mistakes since we are not perfect. Mistakes are part and parcel of life. If you breeze through life without any downfall, you will never be able to grow in meaningful ways. 

To err is human, to forgive is divine. 

So, forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Make a promise with yourself, that now you know better, and will not repeat your mistakes ever again.  

5. Think of mistakes as learning opportunities

Mistakes don’t halt your momentum, they assist you in finding out a better path. 

Maybe you beat yourself up over and over again for not standing up for yourself when a person is crossing over your boundary. You feel so defeated. 

However, you should realize that what has happened to you can actually be your learning opportunities. Now you know better what you should not tolerate. You can try to develop yourself mentally and emotionally, so that the next time similar things happen, you can react better and know how to establish your boundaries. 

Final thoughts 

Yes, it’s hard to forgive yourself, especially if you think you have hurt your loved ones. The guilt weighs down heavy in your heart. However, rather than unconsciously punish yourself for the things that you have done, you should take responsibility for it and try to repair the damage and develop a more healthy way of viewing the past mistakes. Only then you are able to heal and achieve peace. 

REFERENCES 

Cuncic, A. (2021, August 21). ‘I hate myself’: 8 ways to combat self-hatred. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/i-hate-myself-ways-to-combat-self-hatred-5094676.

Markway, B. (2019, April 26). 3 keys to handling mistakes. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shyness-is-nice/201904/3-keys-handling-mistakes.

Sherman, J. E. (2014, September 10). Why we make mistakes. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ambigamy/201409/why-we-make-mistakes.

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