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Why we need to forgive ourselves

Author of new book Create Your Own Kindness, Becky Goddard-Hill writes about forgiveness strategies for children.

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection - Sharon Salzberg (Buddhist meditation teacher)

It is absolutely normal to make mistakes and get things wrong; it is part of being human. But we expect so much of ourselves (and it can feel that other people do too) that when we don’t get things perfectly right we can end up really disappointed in ourselves.

This can lead to feelings of unhappiness and discouragement and we can end up really disliking ourselves. This is not healthy or helpful.

Self-kindness and self-forgiveness are important no matter what age you are and no matter what has happened.

Everyone makes mistakes and has off days.

Absolutely everyone.

I bet your teacher is grumpy sometimes, your grandma a bit cross, your sister bad tempered, your best friend a bit bossy?

And let’s be honest, what about you?

Are you kind and patient and sweet tempered and lovely always?

You might try really hard to be, but sometimes (because you're tired or fed up sad or bored or jealous perhaps) you won't always behave that nicely either.

When this has happened there are some things you need to do to make things better: 

1) Apologise

2) Try and understand why you felt or behaved like that

3) Figure out a plan for how you can behave better in future

And then you have to be really kind to yourself and take the last important step.

You have to forgive yourself.

 

What you must NOT do

Don’t call yourself names or punish yourself in any way. Don’t label yourself as bad, or not eat your tea, or stay up so late worrying you feel terrible the next day.

Nope.

You have to be kind to yourself (just as you would be to your friend if they'd been grumpy) you have to face it, deal with it, then forgive and let it go.

Try this ….

Write a letter to yourself forgiving yourself for what you have done (acknowledge what you did, how you tried to put it right and that you forgive yourself).

It could look something like this...

 

Dear Becky, 

I know you are sorry that you ate your children’s last chocolate Easter egg whilst they were at school. I know you won’t ever do this again and that you are buying them some replacement chocolate. I forgive you for this,

Love and hugs, Becky

 

What might your forgiveness note say?

You can create your own kindness by forgiving yourself when you make mistakes rather than beating yourself up about it.

 

Becky Goddard-Hill is the co-author of Create Your Own Happy, Be Happy Be You and author of Create Your Own Calm and Create Your Own Kindness.

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