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So often we are taught the importance of forgiving others but what about the importance of how to forgive yourself? Did you know that forgiving yourself is an essential step to loving yourself

We have all done things in our lives that we may regret or they may have caused harm to ourselves. We are all human beings which means we all make mistakes. We may have been the cause of our own hurt and pain.

Maybe you had a relationship with someone that you regret, maybe you made some choices that led you down a wrong path, or maybe you have spoken some hateful words to yourself. It could even be not acknowledging the greatness that is inside of you. 

It is time to leave all of that in the past, drop the baggage that you were holding on to, and move forward in love and forgiveness. Choose to have understanding, empathy, kindness, and compassion for yourself.

The process may feel painful and uncomfortable at times, but healing is worth enduring the pain. It is worth it to forgive yourself and move forward.

Please note that while self-forgiveness is a powerful practice, it’s not intended for those of you who unfairly blame yourself for something traumatic that you weren’t responsible for. This includes (but is not limited to) those who have suffered abuse, trauma, or loss.

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the act of ceasing to feel resentment meant towards someone (Dictionary.com). It is absolving a person of their offense(s). 

It is crucial and necessary to forgive others for their actions towards us, but it is equally if not more important, to absolve ourselves of the things we have done to ourselves. Even if you know it’s essential to forgive yourself, do you know how to forgive yourself?

First, we will look at what the word of God says about self-forgiveness. Then we will look at the steps on how to forgive ourselves. At the end of this, I want you to be empowered to take action and truly forgive yourself.

sunset on a beach

Why Should We Forgive Ourselves?

We need to forgive ourselves to free ourselves from the bondage that we have put ourselves into. Oftentimes we become so trapped by the things we have done to ourselves and we live in a state of shame instead of freedom. This causes us to get stuck in the mistakes of our past and prevent us from moving forward.

We may even create an identity formed by our mistakes instead of the person that God created us to be. Remember that we are not the mistakes that we have made. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). 

God’s Word

We can use God’s word to give us a good understanding of the importance of forgiveness. There are so many scriptures about forgiveness, but I have only included a few. Scripture is one of the best tools you have to learn how to forgive yourself. Pull put your favorite Bible and start reading through the scriptures list below.

As you read through them you may be thinking that they are talking about only forgiveness of others. You can apply the scriptures to yourself. You are a child of God and you should be treating yourself in such a way that is pleasing to God. 

Proverbs 17:9 (NLT) “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”

Proverbs 10:12 (AMP) “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers and overwhelms all transgressions [forgiving and overlooking another’s faults].”

Ephesians 1:7-8 (NLT) “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.”

Colossians 3:13 (NLT) “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

Proverbs 28:13 (NLT) “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.”

Ephesians 4:31-31 (NLT) “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

When we learn to forgive ourselves we can move on from things in our past and move forward into the promises of God. 

succulents on top of a stack of journals as a tool for how to forgive yourself

How To Forgive Yourself?

Acknowledge What Happened

The first thing you need to do in forgiving yourself is to acknowledge what happened. Living in a state of denial is not going to fix anything. As painful as the situation probably was, you have to admit that it happened. You must also take responsibility for the part you played.

It also does not matter if it was a big thing or a small thing; if it caused you to hurt then it matters. This is not a time for you to tell yourself that it was no big deal. A lot of small things can cause as much, if not more, pain than big things. 

If it helps, make a list of all of the things that you have done to yourself. Be specific about what you did and if you know why it happened. Sometimes the digging will help you get to the root of the issue. 

How Did It Make You Feel?

When you are done making your list think about how each situation made you feel. Did it bring you joy, happiness, sadness, anger, or frustration? Recognizing how you feel is a necessary step for how to forgive yourself.

There is nothing wrong with you for feeling a certain way about a situation. You are a human being and you have feelings. It helps you when you put a name to your feelings.

Forgive Yourself Out Loud

Now is the time to put in the work. Go through each item in your list one at a time and say out loud, “I forgive myself for …”. I know this may not be easy at first, but God says that there is power in our tongue (Proverbs 18:21) and so it is time to use that power that God has given us. 

If you are anything like me you have probably spoken a million negative things about yourself out loud. Now you need to start speaking life over yourself. There is more power behind saying something out loud versus thinking it in our head. 

If you want to take it to an even deeper level go stand in front of a mirror and speak your words of forgiveness out loud. There is something powerful about physically seeing ourselves when we are verbally speaking to ourselves. 

Write an Apology Letter

Something that I did when I was working on self-forgiveness was I wrote a letter of apology to myself. It helped me to get all of my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I apologized for the negative words I had spoken over myself and for the way I had treated myself. 

If you are someone who enjoys writing this might be a helpful step for you. Grab your favorite journal and writing utensils. Write the letter to yourself and sign it from yourself at the end. Make sure it sounds like you and not something someone else would write. 

Let It Go and Move Forward

Once you are done verbally forgiving yourself we come to the hardest part for how to forgive yourself. This is the part where we have to let things go.

Drop whatever baggage you are holding on to so that you can move forward in peace. The only way to move forward into your next season is by letting go of the things that you have been dragging with you from the past. 

As you continue to take your steps forward do not look back and do not go back and pick something up that you have dropped. You cannot take those negative things with you into your promised land. 

If you need professional support for working through this process, you might consider online therapy.


If you have any questions or would like additional information, please leave a comment below.

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  1. Forgiveness is so important, especially forgiving ourselves! I used to really struggle with this, and then one day I realized that when I held onto the guilt for things that I had done, I was essentially telling Jesus that His sacrifice wasn’t enough. That really convicted me and helped me to accept His grace. Great post!

  2. This is such a self care, loving post and I am here for it! What some people don’t know is that the core principle if self care is to both show love to yourself and also to LOVE yourself. That part was tricky for me at first because I couldn’t recollect a time were a saw myself as a beautiful or worthy person. But I’m slowly but surely getting there. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  3. Forgiveness in general can be so hard, but forgiving yourself…that’s even harder sometimes. But seeking forgiveness for yourself is so important. I love the ideas you provide about different ways you can work through forgiving yourself. Especially the one about writing and apology letter. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I love this post it is so informative we should have her try to free of ourselves if it’s possible like you said it may take some time and it may be painful but it is so worth it in the end.

  5. Wow – I’m so grateful to have read this! Forgiving ourselves can be so tough but I’ve picked up a few tips from this post. I also loved the apology letter idea, such great info!

  6. Wonderful post. It’s hard to forgive ourselves at times. The quote, “ You are a child of God and you should be treating yourself in such a way that is pleasing to God” was helpful. Thank you for sharing!

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