Self-Forgiveness and Regret

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Self-Forgiveness is something I honestly suck at. Most of us suck at forgiving ourselves for our mistakes. Even if we learn from our mistakes, regret is a powerful emotion that continues to drain far too many of us far too often.

There’s a reason why regret is so powerful. It exists so we feel compelled not to make the same mistake twice. But, you have to use the power of regret to learn from that mistake and make your new knowledge something that makes you stronger. Hanging onto regret too long can drain your energy away from moving forward.

Some people will say you should always ask God for forgiveness. That’s how I was raised, and I still believe this. It means admitting that we are imperfect, so we need God to forgive our sins before we move on with our lives. In some ways, that’s a really good way to be, answering to the Highest Power for your misdeeds. He will always forgive you.

But, no matter what religion you practice or if you’re against religion altogether, the idea is still the same. We aren’t perfect, and we never will be. All we can do is strive to be our best in the moments that we have. That’s why we must learn to forgive ourselves and use regret as a motivator, not a curse.

Using Confession Properly as an Aid to Self-Forgiveness

Of course, there are those that abuse this “privilege” of confession. They go and keep making similar or even the same mistakes because they know they’ll always be “forgiven.” I hate when people use religious beliefs to cover their indemnities!

(For those that don’t know what indemnities are: “security against or exemption from legal responsibility for one’s actions.”)

Certainly, the most important thing whenever we make a mistake that we regret is to learn self-forgiveness. Yes, we are imperfect. Asking God for forgiveness seems a hell of a lot easier than trying to find the strength within ourselves to forgive our own stupidity.

Most people don’t want to accept their own imperfections. It’s sort of an innate human desire to be perfect. Turns out God wants you to forgive yourself, too, as He’s forgiven you. Never forget that.

But, we have to learn we can only chase perfection, not fully achieve it. There is a bit of humility involved, of course, in order to truly learn self-forgiveness. You can ask God or whomever you believe in for all the forgiveness you want. Still, if you don’t forgive yourself, that regret that builds only weighs you down.

What if you make a mistake and don’t regret it? That’s fine if you’ve learned to already forgive yourself for the error and moved on with the new knowledge. But, I’ve learned people tend to regret more than they like to admit. I sure know that.

I walk around with far more regret in my heart and mind than I really should. These regrets often are about things I simply couldn’t change now. You can’t hold onto past transgressions as a crutch. Heck, I regret ever using past events as excuses for anything. Regret often leads to more regret. You don’t want that everlasting cycle to continue.

Ask Forgiveness For Your Sins, Even if Other People Don’t Forgive You

If regret is weighing you down and there are just certain things you can’t forgive yourself for, you have to learn to get over these feelings. You can’t have regret weighing you down. Trust me, it’s far harder than they like to say.

Living without regret is actually nigh near impossible for a lot of people. I like to say you must live in spite of your regret. The emotion is there for a reason, as a reminder not to make some mistake again. But, you should also express that regret constructively so that others may learn from your mistakes. Perhaps sharing your experience can help others avoid that sort of regret altogether.

Just releasing and expressing that regret does a lot to heal you in ways you can’t now imagine. If you learn to forgive yourself for your imperfections, you will thank yourself for it far sooner than you might think. It will be like great weight has been lifted from your shoulders and you can proceed with life far more normally.

So, the next time you make a mistake, if you want to ask God for forgiveness, sure, go right ahead. Just remember, you also have to forgive yourself and use it as a learning experience. Don’t let regrets form into chains of guilt that weigh you down!

There’s too much to be gained from life to let a few little imperfections weigh you down. Just make sure you learn from your mistakes. A lot of people never do, unfortunately. But, I think if we all just learn a little self-forgiveness, we’ll all be a heck of a lot happier.

~ Amelia <3


Related: If You’re Making Mistakes, Then You’re Doing Something

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.

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