How to Forgive Yourself: Eliminating the Unnecessary Pressure We Put On Ourselves

As the end of the year approaches, you may wonder how to forgive yourself for everything you said you would do this year but didn’t follow through with. Everyone puts pressure on themselves at one time or another, and letting go of stress can be difficult. The vital point is, it starts with forgiving yourself. 

Pressure to be a better person, healthier, do more work, be a better wife, husband, parent, and the list goes on. But how much pressure is healthy, and how much of it just results in more stress and anxiety?

The pressure stacks up.

This is generally the time of year when we start putting extra pressure on ourselves. We look back to the beginning of the year and the list of goals and things we said we would accomplish. And then, we look at the list of the things we have or have yet to accomplish. We start questioning ourselves and why we didn’t accomplish certain things, putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves that ultimately doesn’t serve us and only harms us. 

Or, we look at the people around us, see where they’re at, and start thinking, “I should be doing this,” or, “I should have done that.” We put added pressure on ourselves by trying to compete in an environment where we are our only competition. 

How to forgive yourself and release some of that pent-up pressure. 

This is where we need to hit pause and ask: “How am I pushing myself a little bit too much?” That pressure to push for more and more leads to unnecessary anxiety, resulting in stress. The answer to how to forgive yourself is letting go of stress. Remove what is no longer serving you. To “remove” it, you must forgive yourself for your failures and broken promises. 

Identify areas you put unnecessary pressure on yourself:

Here is a practice you can use to help identify areas where you put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Once you recognize it, you can start letting go of stress by forgiving yourself.

Grab a notebook and create 3 columns: 

  • Column 1 is where you write down everything you said you would do that you didn’t do this year. Brain dump all of it so that those negative things can get out of the way, and you can free up your mind to shift in a different direction.
  • Column 2 is where you write down all of the things you did that you didn’t have on your initial list or vision board at the beginning of the year. Look at where you were and where you are now and see how far you’ve come. It’s a result of you just showing up. It wasn’t about you pushing for more; it was about what was already inside of you. 
  • Column 3 is where you write down the things from column 1 that you are taking into 2023. You’ll see more clearly that most, if not all, of those things you won’t carry over to next year. While you may not have done those specific things, you now see all the other things you did naturally. 

The Takeaway: Forgiving yourself to eliminate unnecessary pressure.

Celebrate your small wins. The pressure from comparison will never drive you to a good outcome. Ask yourself: Am I pushing myself to my “more” by competing with myself to a level that is only putting additional pressure on me? If the answer is yes, forgive yourself. Letting go of stress and accepting yourself for your accomplishments can only happen after forgiveness. 

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