We always hear about how important it is to forgive our spouse. We know our sweetheart makes mistakes and isn't a perfect person. But it's important to remember the same things apply to you.
You aren't perfect, and that's OK. Your marriage will thrive if you learn to forgive yourself.
Remember that misery loves company. "If you keep beating yourself up, then the person who tries to love you is going to get beat up, too," explains psychologist Fred Luskin.
If you tear yourself down, you end up pulling others down so they are at your level. You won't mean to, but it always happens. If you are feeling miserable, it's harder to forgive others (especially your spouse) and let the small things go.
"Forgiveness is a tool with which we face what we've done in the past, acknowledge our mistakes, and move on," Luskin says. "It does not mean that you condone or excuse what happened. It does not mean that you forget."
It means that you move forward with hope and knowledge.
Here are five ways to forgive yourself
1. Recognize the wrong
You might be carrying around a weight of feeling like something is off. You need to recognize and establish what went wrong or if you are just holding onto guilt. Take time to ponder the situation. Think back about what you did and what other person did. Compare the actions to your value system.
2. Understand why
It's important to understand why you are feeling guilty, why you made that decision and how others felt when you did (remember to compare the actions taken to your value system).
Ashley Turner says that on our journey for forgiveness, it's important to remember "we are all doing the best we can with the skills and awareness we have. Beginning to ask different questions and understand 'why' breeds compassion and helps loosen the ties that bind us to blame."
It's important to express your anger, sadness and frustrations. Whether you are writing them down, praying or talking to your spouse, fully express your feelings about what happened and how you want to improve.
This will help you release any pent up feelings so you aren't still holding onto it later.
In this time of remorse, build a plan of what you want to do better in the future. Forgiveness isn't just about letting go or ignoring; it's about moving forward and learning from the past.
You will be able to improve yourself faster if you learn to forgive yourself and plan to move forward.
5. Let go
Intead of focusing on what you could have done better, focus on what you learned and what the future holds.
Turner says, "You may have a phase of feeling better and then realize that you are still grieving or angry. This is natural. The soul does not heal on linear time. Give yourself space. Be patient. True healing happens on the quantum, spiritual plane. Ask for help. Get quiet, mindful and pray to let go. It will happen."
Forgiveness won't happen instantly, but with the help of your spouse and God, you will be able to move past your mistakes and become the best version of you.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.