So many of us are incredibly hard on ourselves. I know I am. Every day I beat myself up for something I didn’t get done, something I wish I hadn’t said or ruminate over something from my past.

Maybe it’s because we are Type A personalities. Maybe it’s because we are perfectionists. Maybe because of the environment in which we grew up, worked or lived. Whatever it is, we need to be kinder to ourselves and show more empathy for ourselves in order to really become the best versions of ourselves. How can we be kind to others when we aren’t kind to ourselves? Self-forgiveness is so important.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned to forgive myself for – maybe you can relate and maybe they’ll help you too:

  1. Staying too long in a job or a relationship. It’s okay to walk away when things no longer work.
  2. Saying the wrong thing. I do this regularly. The best thing you can do is to own it and apologize.
  3. Holding onto the past. This is something I also often do and it keeps us stuck. Ruminating doesn’t change the past and doesn’t help your present or future. Learn from your mistakes and past experiences and move on.
  4. Not allowing yourself to grow. Self-growth is part of life and it happens all of the time. Lean into it instead of resisting it and you will be well on your way to becoming a better (and wiser) version of yourself.
  5. Not knowing all the answers. We only can do our best with the information and experiences we have at the current time. We are learning every day. I wish I had known so many things that I didn’t because I wouldn’t have made certain decisions or stayed in jobs and relationships for as long as I did – but it is what it is and that’s life. I don’t hold a crystal ball and I never would have predicted so many things that happened in my life. All we can do is to learn and not repeat again. Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know.
  6. Letting an opportunity pass. Again, many of us make decisions based on our guts or the information we had at that time. There’s no way to know if you should have done something. Don’t get bogged down by coulda, woulda and shouldas. It is what it is.
  7. Judging yourself. Just stop when you do this. We must be kind to ourselves and believe we deserve the best.
  8. Following old patterns. This is a hard one to break. When we find ourselves falling into old patterns and habits, try and stop yourself. Also don’t ruminate over situations that went wrong – try to learn from them and again, move on. Do not unnecessarily beat yourself up.
  9. Being human and vulnerable. I’ll say this again – it’s okay to not be okay sometimes. You are unique and amazing. Life is messy. It’s imperfect. It’s amazing and then it’s dark. It’s okay to let people know everything isn’t perfect and it’s okay to not pretend it is. When it comes to social media, being your unique self is the best thing you can do to differentiate and help others.
  10. Not being perfect. I’m not perfect – no one is no matter what they portray on social media or in public. Just do the best you can.

Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know, not doing what you couldn’t do and not being more than you were at any given time. As long as you did the best you could, you can find peace. Give yourself more grace as you aren’t perfect. None of us are. It’s time to let go of all of the unrealistic shoulda’s, woulda’s and coulda’s.

Instead focus on what’s good about you. And please share this with someone who needs a reminder of this!