How to forgive yourself:
- You are trying, and that’s what matters. – The path to success is not a straight line. It involves ups and downs, stumbles and falls, and out-right walls cemented directly on your path. No successful person would be anywhere in life if they gave up. Recovery from depression is like any path. Success requires commitment. Commit to recovery. There will be times when you want to give up and call it quits, and that’s okay. Anyone who’s struggled with depression has been there, frustrated with inputting so much effort and seeing such little results mentally. The most important thing is to keep on pushing. Never letting your frustration get the best of you.
- Mistakes are mistakes and failures are lessons. – No one gets anywhere without making mistakes; how would you learn otherwise? The key thing is to recognize a mistake for what it is – unintentional. So accept your mistakes as a learning experience: an experience that helps you change for the better. Yes you can see mistakes as failures, but you can also see them as lessons. No one has gotten anywhere in life by avoiding failure. Just like you can’t except to create a successful business from day one, don’t expect to be able to manage your depression with a snap of a finger.
- Cherish the small victories. – Depression doesn’t go away because you’ve decided that its time to go has come. Depression, especially long term depression, becomes habitual. Its symptoms become engrained into who you are as a person and its difficult to remember who you were before your mental illness. Battling depression requires you to retrain your mind and resist the toxic manners that you’ve lived with for so long. As a result, rewiring your brain takes time and happens slowly. Focus on being better than you were yesterday and eventually you will realize the changes.
- Do not compare yourself to others. – We are all on our own paths to happiness and success. All of us come from different up-bringings and have faced different hardships. Someone suffering with a mental illness knows as well as anyone that what’s on the surface is not representative of what’s inside. Especially with social media, which is highly edited, it’s easy to believe that others live a life of peaches and roses . Focus on your personal victories and being a better than the person you were yesterday.
- Adapt the mindset that you are on a constant path towards self-improvement. – Happiness is a journey, not a destination. If you begin to look at your life as a never-ending journey, it will be easier to accept that you will make mistakes. You cannot get through the journey of life without making mistakes. These mistakes aren’t there to make you stop your journey. They’re meant to make you grow and mold you in to a better person. To not make any mistakes is to not make any progress.
Self-forgiveness is important; with or without depression, self-forgiveness is necessary in order to have a healthy relationship with yourself. I hope these five steps help bring you step closer to self-love!
(Originally posted on March 27, 2017. Updated on April 21, 2020.)