How to Forgive Yourself & How to Stop Feeling Guilty
I believe in you. I believe that you’ve got some insane potential inside you that I want to see burst out into the world to have a big impact for you, your family, your community, and everybody around you. So, to help you on your journey, today I’m going to look at seven ways to forgive yourself and stop feeling guilty.
One of the things that holds a lot of entrepreneurs back is they feel guilty that they made a mistake and let somebody down. They feel guilty, they can’t forgive themselves, and that prevents them from moving forward and doing other great things with their life.
So in this article, I’m going to share with you my seven tips on how to forgive yourself and to keep yourself from feeling guilty .
How to Forgive Yourself & How to Stop Feeling Guilty TIP#1
Having Honest Conversation
Tip number one is having honest conversation. Chances are that whatever mistake you made, there’s somebody else involved. You’re feeling guilty because you didn’t just let yourself down, you’re letting somebody else down. Maybe it was a customer, maybe it was a family member, maybe it was your spouse, or maybe it was a friend. There’s somebody else involved here and you feel guilty that you let them down, that you failed them, or you weren’t able to accomplish a thing that, you set out to accomplish.
Have an honest conversation with them, just to let them know how much it’s impacting you, how much is preventing you from moving forward with your life, how much you still think about it, and how bad you feel about it.
One of two things is going to happen. Number one, they’re going to accept it. They’re going to say, “Don’t worry so much about that, I understand it was a risk, or it didn’t work out. You tried your best, don’t worry so much about it.” They may feel bad that it’s still weighing on you.
It can be really helpful having honest conversation because a lot of times, you don’t realize how much it’s actually weighing on you until you go up and actually have that conversation.
The other scenario is it doesn’t work out. They’re still upset at you. They’re still pissed that you did something wrong and they can’t forgive you for it. That’s difficult, especially when it’s somebody close to you like your family or friend. My own mindset around that kind of stuff is like, you did your best, you had the honest conversation. You apologized. You let them know that you really tried to make the situation right.
You’ve done everything in your control. At that point, if people can’t forgive, it becomes their problem. It’s on them, you released it. You feel bad what happened, but you can’t keep living in that past moment. You can’t let that prevent you from moving forward. You must live in the present.
At some point, it’s not your problem anymore. It’s on them, as long as you feel that you did everything you could in the moment to solve the problem.
You cannot continue to judge yourself based on how somebody else perceives you. I know that it can weigh really negatively on you to know that somebody hates you or has these really negative feelings towards you, but you get to choose how to react to that.
For me, as long as I feel that I’ve really done my best, I can’t please everybody. So, having honest conversations will help open all of that up for you.
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Recognize that You’re Not Alone
Tip number two is recognize that you’re not alone. One of the things that really helped me and my first business was realizing that I’m not the first to try to go through this before. I thought entrepreneurship was easy. I thought I had to have a great idea. I worked hard and things didn’t work out. I’m putting in the effort, it’s not for lack of effort. I grind every single day and I’m not getting results.
I was too afraid to tell people about what was going on, too afraid to ask for help. I felt weak. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed that it wasn’t working out.
Realize that this is a lot of people’s stories. By modeling success, if you look at whoever you look up to, whichever famous entrepreneur or celebrity, look at their story. You’ll see lots of these failures along the way and the key thing that all these people did was they forgave themselves for those mistakes.
They were allowed to move forward. As long as they’re staying in the past with this thing that happened, that will not work out. It prevents you from moving forward. Everybody fails. Everybody makes mistakes. Get back up and try again. Most successful people try again and the people who don’t make it are the ones that continue to live in the past and get weighed down by this huge boat anchor. Reading their stories really made a big difference for me.
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Create an Opposite Environment
Tip number three is create an opposite environment. You are what you repeatedly do. You are the result of the people that you hang out with and the environment that’s around you. If you are around people who always make you feel guilty, then guess what? You’re always going to feel guilty. If you’re around people who make you feel self-conscious, you’re always going to feel self-conscious.
You may need to eliminate some people from your life or at least limit your exposure to them. Change your environment. Create an environment that is positive and uplifting for you. As an example, if you want to build confidence, it’s not just about reading articles on how to be more confident, it’s being around confident people. Watching Illinois’s interview, Steve Job’s interview, or Snoop Dog’s interview makes me more confident, not because of what they’re saying. You’ll never see a five step tip more confident by Elon Musk. Confidence is how one responds to the questions, how one carry themselves, and how one acts.
If you want to be more confident, be around confident people you know. Either in life who you actually face and say hi to, shake hands with, hang out with, or interact with online, consume the content that is the opposite of what you’re currently feeling. If you’re feeling guilt, feeling shame, and feeling really low on self value, then consume content on a consistent basis in your environment from whoever resonates the most with you.
If it’s on a spiritual side, it could be Dalai Lama. If it’s more on the academic side, it could be Bernie Brown. If you need somebody to yell at you and tell you to snap out of it, you can listen to Joe Rogan or Eric Thomas?
Everybody’s pointing at the same message. They just have different ways of doing it. Choose choices that resonate the most with you.
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Get Started Again
Tip number four is to get started again. It’s so incredible what momentum does to a human being. When you feel like a little bit of momentum, you can start getting excited about something again. You take one step and then another step, then another step. It’s not these giant steps forward. Just the fact that you’re doing something again can mean so much.
I see all the time here at TBS, where salsa students attend. Many people come in not trying to become the world’s greatest salsa dancer. They come in because they’re lacking a human connection, they broke up from a relationship, or they hate their job and they want something fun to do.
It’s amazing how much a little bit of momentum can do for you, for your self-esteem, for your mood, for your ability to move forward, and do things.
If you’re feeling guilt and shame, you’re just always living in that moment. You have to let go of that moment. I want to live now in the present moment and I want to move forward. I want to stop living in the past.
So, do something that is exciting for you, whether it’s starting a business, going out and hanging it with friends, joining a dance class, or starting your YouTube channel. Whatever it is that can get a little bit of fire back into you, you will start to see if it has a ripple effect on the rest of your life.
People who joined these salsa classes, who are stuck then and now have a little bit more confidence and a little bit more jump, a little bit more vibe that ripples effect out, they’re suddenly in a new relationship with somebody. They’re getting promoted at their job, now things are happy.
A little bit of momentum can spark such a big change across your entire life. Now we’re living in the present. We are moving forward instead of staying stuck in the past. This can make a huge difference to you and take away the guilt.
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Do the Best You Can
Tip number five is do the best you can. You want to make sure that you’ve done the best that you could. If you do your best and it doesn’t work out, you can deal with the failure.
It’ll hurt that you didn’t reach your goal, which sucks, but you can move forward. You can stop living in the past but in the present moment and go off to the next thing. If you feel like you didn’t give it your best, if you feel you should have said a little bit more, you should have worked a little bit harder, or you should have put in that extra day you, it’s really hard to forgive yourself.
These thoughts will eat you alive for the rest of your life. When I was 18 years old, I regretted not doing something. I’ve used that as my filter for all future decisions where I can deal with something not working out, but I can’t deal with not knowing.
If you keep waiting for something else to happen then you never do anything. So, take the approach that whatever mistakes you made in the past, ask yourself if you did you do your best. Answer yourself honestly, right back to the point number one of honest conversation? Did you do your best to try to fix it? Did you try to do your best to solve the problems?
So, at some point when you say, “Yes, I’ve done my best,”you have to let it go and move on. If you tried a project and it didn’t work and you spent your life savings working on it, what can you do right now that is your absolute best? The failure is okay, it’s not great, but it’s okay.
The next thing that you do back to the last point will build a momentum. The next thing you try, commit yourself to it and do your best. The next time you’re thinking about quitting something, but you really want to continue, then keep going. If you’re thinking about quitting and you feel like you haven’t done your best, you feel like there’s still a little bit more gas in the tank, you can still go a couple more days, you can still push yourself to keep going.
Exhaust all opportunities to know that if it doesn’t work out, at least you gave it your best, because if you don’t give it your best, you’re never going to forgive yourself.
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Project Life to 100
Tip number six is project to 100. What I try to do in these kinds of situations is project my life out to a hundred and think about if I continue to think this way, what’s that collective experience going to be for me?
Imagine the next five decades of just still being here. Do you want to be stuck for the rest of your life just because you made one mistake? What I try to do is, make the future plan so painful that whatever immediate pain I have to solve the problem feels tiny.
It’s like your fingers are hurting and somebody punches you in the arm, you don’t feel the finger anymore because your arm hurts so much. I’ll do that to myself to get me over whatever short term pain or fear that I have and it will allow me to have that honest conversation.
So, predict your life out to 100, like the rest of your life you’re going to be feeling like this. Do you want that to happen? No! So, fix it.
This hopefully gives you enough of a drag. The more painful an experience is for you, the more you’ll motivate yourself to actually make a change right now, which is what’s important.
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Be a Model for Your Kids
Tip number seven is be a model for your kids. What is the example you want to set for the next generation? Whatever you did, whatever big mistake that you made that you can’t forgive yourself for, imagine if your kid did it? What message would you give them? Would you want them to live the rest of their life in this guilt and in the shame, unable to forgive themselves?
What do you think they’re going to do if this is what you do, if this is how you react to making those mistakes, if you live in guilt and shame and can’t forgive yourself?
No matter what you tell your kids, they’re going to model your behavior. They’re going to do the same thing that you did. So, until you can forgive yourself and get over that, your kids won’t be able to do it either.
So, tell them, “It’s okay, don’t worry about it, forgive yourself.” If they see that you are not able to forgive yourself, then they won’t have the courage to do it too. This one hits home particularly me. I have an eight-year-old son and I want to be a model for him, and you know parents make mistakes. There’s a ton of guilt that brew and you’re always worried if you’re doing the right thing or not.
However, any of the major things that I’m going through I try to think about what kind of model I want to be for my son and what’s the model I want to be for my grandkids. No matter what I say, they’re going to pay attention to what I do and how I act.
If they see me being bold and courageous, then they will want to be bold and courageous. If they see me shrinking down on being afraid and worrying about judgments, fears and guilt, then they’re going to do the same thing. They’re going to feel like that’s what they should be doing.
We are a product of our environment. Think about how you can be a presence in somebody else’s environment. You want to be a model of success, you want to be a model of how to do things the right way.
Those are my seven suggestions on how to forgive yourself and overcome the feeling of guilt.