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How to forgive yourself for hurting someone?

303 Answers
Last Updated: 11/17/2020 at 7:33pm
How to forgive yourself for hurting someone?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jessica McDaniel, LPC, LCPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have been practicing cognitive behavioral psychotherapy since 2007 with a diverse group of adult clients with various diagnoses, all races, and socioeconomic classes.

Top Rated Answers
May 5th, 2016 11:00am
Accept yourself and your flaws. You are not perfect. You make mistakes. Your mistakes and failures help you improve. As flawed as you may be, you must accept yourself, flaws and all, if you are to make progress in your life. Remember that you are not a bad person. You can do something wrong while still being a good person. A lot of guilt or shame can make you feel like there is something wrong with you. Talk to someone. Sometimes you just need to get it off your chest. Talking to someone else about what is bothering you can have serious benefits. Forgiving yourself is far more challenging than forgiving someone else because you must live with yourself and your thoughts 24/7. Despite the challenge, emotionally healthy people must have the capacity to forgive themselves when they have made a mistake. When you forgive yourself, you are not pretending as though it never happened. On the contrary, you are acknowledging that your actions have consequences. But the consequences need not include self-inflicted negative feelings. Not forgiving yourself is like picking at an open wound; you are only making a bad situation worse. The wound is already there, but you do have control over your reaction to it, and you can stop it from getting worse. If you forgive yourself when you make a mistake, it’s easier to address the consequences of your action in a productive way.
April 22nd, 2016 6:09pm
Accept yourself and your mistakes. Say to yourself that you accept your mistakes and you have learned from them. No matter how wrong it was, it's already done and the only way I can take control of it is to not repeat it.
October 19th, 2016 3:49am
The best thing is to just give it time. Apologize and accept what happened and accept the fact that moving on from it is going to be a process. From personal experience, it took me a little over a year to fully forgive myself for hurting someone really special to me. I think what helped most was that I knew how the other person felt about it too. After a while, she let me know that she wasn't upset anymore and that she would just like to put the past behind us. That just left the 'forgiving myself' part, which took a long time, but all I did was leave it alone. I just let things be, and I let whatever happen happen. I did my best not to overthink things.
May 25th, 2016 2:48pm
Everyone should have a second chance. Think about how you would react if you wouldnt get a second chance to prove that you can change your behaviour :)
May 2nd, 2016 12:14am
First of all, you need to accept that you've hurt the person, don't think about it too much. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Use this mistake to help you become a better person. Also, if you can, ask the person for forgiveness. It's good to get closure. Over time, your guiltiness will fade away. Just remember that you are an amazing person and that your mistakes DON'T define you.
April 28th, 2016 5:30am
Try to figure out why you did it and what happened that made you do it. Once you figure out why you hurt them and try to work with them to help them forgive you while you forgive yourself.
March 27th, 2016 7:34pm
The only for me to forgive myself for hurting someone to face that 'someone' again and apologize. The only way for me to move on and let go is to correct my wrong doings.
April 2nd, 2016 8:56pm
I think it's important to remember that everybody is human and therefore everybody makes mistakes. I think everybody has hurt someone at one point in their life - whether that be on purpose or accidentally. It's nearly impossible to avoid. What matters more is what you do after the fact. First, acknowledge responsibility for your actions and apologize to the person. Maybe try to make it up to them by doing them a favor, buying them flowers, taking them out to a nice dinner, etc. Actions speak louder than words, after all! While it's important to say that you're sorry, you also have to show them that you're sorry as well. Then try to learn from your mistakes and identify ways that you can avoid doing the same thing in the future. If you keep repeating your mistakes and hurting somebody over and over again, your apologies are going to start to lose their meaning. The best way you can prove to a person that you're sincere in your apology is by changing the problematic behavior! You're not defined by just one mistake. One mistake doesn't make you a bad person. As long as you try your best to learn from your mistakes, grow, and change, that's what matters most!
March 29th, 2016 7:01pm
You should accept your mistake, try to apologize for your actions and fix anything you can. Once you've recognized what you did wrong and done everything you can to right it, guilt is pointless- you've done what you can, and you should give yourself permission to move on and grow.
May 27th, 2016 2:07pm
You have to understand why you hurt the person, understand that you did it, and remember to do better next time. You can't change the past, but you can change who you are and how you treat other people in the future.
July 1st, 2016 10:47am
When a person hurt someone, It not only upsets the person who is hurt but it also affects the former . And if that happens with you too that means you have a realization, which shows a level of generosity. You forgive yourself once you become fully aware of your mistakes.
July 9th, 2017 1:49am
Before you can forgive yourself, you need to take steps to help the person you have hurt. There is nothing you can do to take back what you may have done, but helping the person to move forward and heal can help you learn to forgive yourself. Don't just apologize with words, do it with actions. It may be hard if they don't want to see you, but give yourself and the person time. Once they have forgiven you and moved on, continue to be a supportive presence in their life, and slowly you will start to forgive yourself.
April 1st, 2016 4:02am
The easiest way to forgive yourself is not to. We all make mistakes. We repeat what we forget. We can't forget what we can't forgive. Rather than forgive yourself, strive to be worth the forgiveness of whom you hurt.
June 14th, 2017 6:35pm
Think about the frame of mind you were in at the time, then feel the feelings of guilt and other things that pass through your mind, really feel them, and then let them go.
November 19th, 2017 5:56am
Try reading the book Self Compassion by Kristen Neff, it's really great and changed the way I think about myself and about guilt in general. We're all human and we all deserve compassion, even from ourselves. Making mistakes is all part of being a human being. You are worthy of forgiveness and compassion.
April 4th, 2016 1:13am
Like others have said, I think it is so important that you realize everyone makes mistakes, and you should never forget that. Obviously you feel bad bad about whatever happened because you have come here looking for help. That's great! One thing that I have learned is that it is important to give yourself the chance to process what happened, whether that is by yourself or with someone whom you trust. It is very easy to let mistakes become you, but you must move past it and acknowledge it as something that you aren't proud of but that doesn't make you a bad person.
May 13th, 2016 5:52am
The first step you have to take is to realize what you did wasn't the right thing to do and acknowledge that you regret it. After that, promise yourself you won't do it again, no matter what. Then you can start to forgive yourself
October 25th, 2016 5:20am
When we feel guilty about hurting someone, not only is important to apologise to the person we hurt, but it's also important to apologise to and forgive ourselves. Often we cannot move past something that causes us shame or guilt because we are holding onto it. Why are you holding on to this? For each person and each circumstance it will be different. Some people thing they deserve to feel bad. You deserve to feel good! If you've already apologised to the person, recognize what you did wrong, and are going to be mindful to not be insensitive like that again, that's all you can do. It's time to forgive yourself, assure yourself you did everything you could to rectify things, say something loving to yourself, and move on. Use healthy distractions, self-reflection and mindfulness to help you on your way.
July 15th, 2017 10:04am
By accepting first and foremost that we all hurt someone sometimes, it's unavoidable, it's life itself. Not forgiving yourself for it might prevent you from being able to makes things better for the person you have hurt. So keep that in mind, don't wallow in useless guilt, hurting is ok it is life, by forgiving yourself you can move to the moment where you can make things better for everyone :)
February 28th, 2018 2:58pm
Now this one needs lot of courage but first we need to get heal from the whole sitution and for our own inner peace it's important to forgive them and move on in life now again don't mix forgivness with accepting them back in life you just have to let go all the bitterness you have towards that person for your own sanity and mentle heath
May 24th, 2018 10:51pm
Everything you've ever done has been to maintain your idea of physical and emotional safety. Whatever you may have done in the past, was what you felt the need to do at the time. This doesn't mean it is okay that you hurt someone, but it does mean that you do not need to feel guilty. As long as you are improving and pushing yourself to be better than you were, there is no need for guilt.
May 20th, 2016 11:50am
Well, just remember that you are human, after all. Everyone makes mistakes, including me. Just take it easy, and treat yourself nicely. What's done is done, you can't change the past. The one thing is you can do is remember to not hurt anyone in the future.
May 22nd, 2016 11:47am
The first step to forgiveness is an apology. Apologise to them and ask for their forgiveness, then you can finally forgive yourself.
May 29th, 2016 10:18am
Accept that what you have done is wrong and try and make it up to that person by getting them to forgive you
May 31st, 2016 5:04pm
You have to forgive your self when you have hurt someone or else you will never move on you have to stay postive and think that you are a changed person.
June 2nd, 2016 11:23pm
Forgiveness comes from within. And sometimes we have to forgive ourselves and let ourselves accept our own forgiveness, if that makes sense. If you have hurt someone, depending on the situation, it may be a normal process of the interaction between the two of you. For example, if someone had romantic feelings for you but you did not feel the same way, this is not something that can be controlled. As long as you are honest, but sensitive and caring about their feelings when you explain that you are not interested in them, this should be okay. If you feel you have hurt someone above and beyond something that you consider a normal activity, such as an act of betrayal, ask to speak with them and talk about what happened. Explain to them why you did what you did, and accept that you made a mistake. Honest, open, and truthful communication will go a long way. Ask for forgiveness and work toward making amends with the person; while the memories of what happened may not go away, the feeling of hurt can be repaired over time.
June 23rd, 2016 4:15pm
Remember, no one is perfect and that its ok. Guilt is a heavy burden to carry and it's never worth carrying. This doesn't mean you don't try to make things better. Try talking to the person you hurt, they may appreciate knowing that you upset about what you did, it shows that you care.
February 11th, 2017 6:12am
Separate what you did from who you are. Realize that going back may not make things better. Sometimes you have to look for forgiveness in after coming to terms with yourself.
May 4th, 2017 11:06pm
Just know that everyone makes mistakes and that you were ignorant back then, but now you know and recognize what you did. Know that it's the past, there's nothing you can do now (in most cases), what happened happened, and that you can only learn from your mistakes and continue on with your life.
July 13th, 2017 8:47am
Remember that people make mistakes. You may have made one, but you don't have to let that one mistake define who you are, who you want to be. It's easier said than done, agreed, but there really is no other way to go about this. Forgive yourself, forget the past, move on to live in the present and enjoy the moment. Good luck!