If you grew up being neglected or criticized, you might have the false belief that everything you do is wrong. You might believe that you have to be perfect to be loved. If you have the painful habit of blaming yourself for everything, these pointers might help.
1. Be responsible for your actions, but not overly responsible: An example would be if someone at work or in your relationships asks you to change a behavior and you think that they are not happy with you as a person. Recognize that they want you to change your behavior and not who you are as a person.
2. Use constructive criticism for your benefit and ignore destructive criticism: Constructive criticism is when someone asks you to change something for your benefit in a polite way. Destructive criticism is in the form of sarcasm or insults. It is to be ignored as it has more to do with the person criticizing than with you. Don’t internalize insults.
3. Be aware of how you speak to yourself: Speak to yourself like you would speak to someone you love. “It’s ok, you did your best. I learned my lesson and I won’t make that same mistake again.”
4. Differentiate between guilt and shame: Guilt is my behavior was wrong. I feel bad and I learned that I will not do that again. Shame is I’m a horrible person, I don’t deserve to be loved. Guilt is easier to forgive because it is about the behavior and not who you are as a person. Shame is not helpful.
5. Ask for forgiveness: Ask the person you believe you hurt for forgiveness. If they can’t forgive you, give them some space.
6. Write yourself a letter asking for forgiveness: sometimes it’s more difficult for us to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive others. If you are having a difficult time, write yourself a letter. In the letter write down your emotions, why you are sorry and how you will make up for it. You do not need to punish yourself as you already feel bad about the situation.
7. Stop blaming: Be careful of blaming yourself. Especially for things that are in the past and you can not control.
8. Accept yourself: Accept that you are not perfect. Create some space for yourself to make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and become a better person.
9. Reach out for help: If you are having a difficult time forgiving yourself and you are feeling depressed. Reach out for help from a professional.
Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist Reach out to Dr Borschel: firstname.lastname@example.org