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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
September 3rd, 2016 11:07pm
The first step is to earn forgiveness from them. Apologize, even if that means sitting down and talking to them about it. If you don't do that, then you'll feel bad about it for a very long time. After that's done, you can finally forgive yourself, and it will be a lot easier to do so.
September 6th, 2016 5:48am
I try to make up for what I did. Even if it was with good intentions. Talk to the person you hurt and see what you can do to better the situation.
September 7th, 2016 1:35am
Make sure they know you regret it (even if it's accidentally burning someone's hand with a hot plate!), and think if you would forgive someone who did it to you
September 7th, 2016 6:44am
Think back to the last time somebody apologized to you about something. Did you forgive them? There is a very good chance that you did. Now think back to the last time you harmed someone else. Have you forgiven yourself? Probably not. We all make mistakes. Oftentimes, through our actions, somebody gets hurt.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. Realize, right now, that there is a very big difference between doing a bad thing and being a bad person. Even when you do something that you regret, you most likely had a valid reason for doing it at the time (even if that reason doesn’t make rational sense). You didn’t do something bad because you are a fundamentally bad person; there was an intent, or valid motivation, behind your action. Know that despite your flaws, you are okay as you are. Your flaws, rather than making you “less” of a person, are what make you who you are. What you think of as a defect actually makes you far more interesting to others. You are not perfect. You make mistakes. But you are also on a path of growth. 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.
September 7th, 2016 5:56pm
You can be very upset and this shouldn't affect your life. Everybody hurts others. This is normal and it happens if you want it or not. You should don't give up and try to make this person happy. If you understand that it is normal, you will not be so sad and angry to yourself
September 7th, 2016 8:53pm
I don't think there is any question that forgiving yourself rises from receiving forgiveness from the person you hurt. If they grant that forgiveness, you can move on more easily. If they don't forgive you, at least you did the most you could do - you opened yourself to another and said sorry.
September 8th, 2016 12:40am
Forgiveness is a choice. Don’t wait for it to just wash over you all of a sudden. You have to choose it. The pain of what happened is inevitable, but continuing to suffer is optional. The only person you can control is you. Don’t cling to negative feelings. Anger is nothing more than an outward sign of hurt, fear, guilt, grief or frustration. While the pain may never completely disappear, forgiveness can help you release the anger. There is no right timeline for recovery. For some people, making peace happens suddenly and spontaneously. For others, it takes time and effort. You may have to make a conscious effort every day to forgive. To say, “I’m letting this go. I’m not going to invest hatred, bitterness, anger, resentment in this anymore.” You can find closure in forgiveness. You can’t change the things that happened in your life, but you can decide how you interpret and respond to them. If you didn’t receive support when you needed it, give it to yourself now. Listen to your internal dialogue. What are you saying to yourself? Write them down without censoring them. Is what you’re saying fair and true? If not, generate new ways of thinking. Someone may have said horrible things to you long ago, but it’s possible you took over for them when it stopped. Consider what you need to do to get emotional closure. Maybe you just need a simple apology. Find your Minimal Effective Response — the easiest thing you can do to resolve your pain. Share your experience with others. Finding a lesson in what happened can help put the experience in perspective and your emotions in check. People can thrive and suffer at the same time.
September 10th, 2016 3:13pm
Everybody does mistakes sometimes. It's okay. It is a normal thing, you shouldn't hate yourself for it.
September 11th, 2016 2:44pm
To remember that we are all humans. We all make mistakes. And the best we can do is to ask for forgiveness from that person so we can start forgiving ourselves, too.
September 15th, 2016 7:52am
You need to get their forgiveness first. Apologizing is difficult, especially when you feel like they were in the wrong, and not you. But after you apologize for your part in the struggle, a huge weight will be lifted and you'll be able to feel alot better, even if they decide not to accept it/apologize for what they did.
September 16th, 2016 9:16pm
When I've hurt someone, I always apologize and it makes me feel a little better. But I also try to accept it because whatever has happened is done and can't be reversed, right? Most of all, everything happens for a reason and that's how I forgive myself.
October 7th, 2016 7:46pm
Try to be nicer to others, and try to improve yourself so that you won't hurt others in the future.
October 7th, 2016 9:01pm
If you are speaking to that person again then you have already forgiven yourself by not even knowing it because they have forgiven you.
October 9th, 2016 4:45am
It's hard when you realise that you did something wrong but Its the greatest thing ever , to realise it and that shows how strong you are as a person and how clear you are about your morals . You can forgive yourself by doing just the opposite of what you did before. for eg, If you bullied someone before , you can try and be the protector of those getting bullied . :)
October 9th, 2016 10:20pm
Take experience from what you feel you did wrong, and try to avoid being in the same situation in the future
October 15th, 2016 8:44am
Make sure you've learned the lesson. Fully understood what you did that was wrong and promise yourself you won't do it again... we are our own harshest judges sometimes so use this teaching moment then move on and be better next time :)
October 16th, 2016 9:48am
The best way to forgive yourself is to learn from what you did. Sometimes we hurt others because we are hurting, hanging on to it will only make it worse.
October 16th, 2016 8:47pm
It's hard to forgive yourself, but you cannot heal until you do so. It's a process, but honestly, everyone hurts at least someone, it's unavoidable, but how you work through that and better yourself as a person matters. Learn from the mistake and then it's a lot easier to forgive yourself because you've changed as a person.
October 16th, 2016 9:54pm
We all make mistakes, it's part of being a human. Nothing is set in stone forever, there is still time to go back and apologise for any harm or hurt that you have caused. You owe it to yourself to seek forgiveness for any wrongs that you have done because that's when you can begin to heal yourself.
October 26th, 2016 7:12am
I am very critical of myself, and I often beat myself up over hurting someone else's feelings. The way to forgive yourself is by realizing that no one is perfect. Emotional pain is an unavoidable and natural part of life - and people can handle it. After you've apologized, you have to move on, and forgive yourself as any good friend of yours would. You're not perfect, and it's okay.
October 26th, 2016 11:19pm
I would constantly think to myself, "Everyone has a flaw- nobody is perfect. I made a mistake, which means I'm human. I'm also a grown individual because I am able to see that I made a mistake. I need to apologize (if applicable) to the person I hurt, and, ultimately, forgive myself for making a mistake that I will try my hardest not to make again."
October 28th, 2016 2:07pm
this can be very hard. especially if the other person doesnt forgive you. you can always tell yourself im sorry and that might help. you can also not make the same mistake again.
November 3rd, 2016 4:35pm
Know that you are growing too. Allow yourself to grow. If you didn’t get the message that the Universe is trying to send you, then you haven’t learned and grown from the experience. Making a mistake isn’t as bad as making the same mistake over and over again
November 3rd, 2016 10:31pm
It takes a lot of self reflection and a real will to change. It can be harder if the person you hurt has not forgiven you either but it isnt impossible.
November 4th, 2016 9:12am
People often forgive, but do not forget. Hind sight is always 20/20. It is always easy to beat yourself up over something when you get the benefit of looking back. Unless you intentionally hurt them, then holding on to the guilt of hurting someone will pull you down so you continue hurting someone. However, if it was intentional. You have to come to terms with how you hurt them. Seek their forgiveness if possible and try to set things right if you can. If you cannot, promise yourself you will not willing do it again to someone else.
November 4th, 2016 10:21pm
The first and most important step in forgiving yourself is always to be honest with yourself. To realise what you did and why, without distorting it to either hurt yourself in your guilt or to try and blame someone else. Try to see yourself through a friend's eyes. Try to understand that if you don*t forgive yourself, learning from mistakes is difficult. You can't make amends, if you're still hung up on what you did. And making amends is very important. Don't bury that pain. Use it to grow. Once you've grown, it'll be easy to let go of the guilt and forgive yourself.
November 7th, 2016 12:11am
If you are in a situation where you hurt someone else, it is most important to resolve that problem with them directly. If you ask for forgiveness and apologize in a genuine way, at least you know you have done what is right and it is then easier to forgive yourself knowing that you have made a step in the right direction.
November 13th, 2016 2:12am
Realize that it wasn't you intention... That the person probably doesn't think about it much... And that it was the past
November 14th, 2016 11:58pm
I only forgive myself for hurting someone, if the person I hurt has forgiven me. Which often takes time.
November 16th, 2016 7:21am
We need to understand that we all make mistakes and it's okay to make mistakes because we are human. Let the person you know that you are sorry for hurting them and let them know that you would not do it again. Then move on. Its okay to make mistake. It really is.