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Self-Forgiveness: The Greatest Form of Self-Care

Self-Forgiveness: the greatest tool you can ever develop.

There is a lot of health advice out there. Eat this, don’t eat that, take these supplements, do these exercises, the lists go on and on. But what is the ONE thing that you can do to improve your wellbeing? Just one thing. Beyond all the dietary and supplemental advice, there is one piece of advice, one tool for you to cultivate, that will improve your health and wellbeing, no matter what diet you follow, what medications you take, and where you are on the health and wellness spectrum…


Practice self-compassion and self-forgiveness.

That piece of pizza may not be good for you, but you know what’s worse? Thinking negatively about yourself for eating it.


We all do the best that we can to stay healthy. Some people may not be ready to take the plunge into eating healthily all of the time, or to start a daily movement practice, or make any lifestyle changes, but one thing that everyone can start to do is to start practicing self-forgiveness.

Anytime that you make a positive change in your life, you may “slip up” or “regress” and fall back into habits that are no longer serving you. We always want to try to avoid this and to stay on the healthy track the best we can, but sometimes unavoidable life events or situations or even feelings come up that make your new positive changes slip away for a day or two. When that happens you have a choice: You can beat yourself up for making a mistake, or a negative health choice, or whatever it may be that you were trying to move past, OR, you can forgive yourself and move on.


Forgive yourself.


No good comes from negative self talk. Positive change happens from a place of motivation and hope, not from embarrassment and self-disgust.

That being said, self-compassion and self-forgiveness is not always the easiest of feats.

Often, we are quick to support others and encourage others to be easy on themselves, but find it difficult to do the same for ourselves. We often see ourselves with a negativity bias, and a culture based in modesty can amplify low feelings of self worth by teaching us that celebrating our accomplishments is bragging, or not polite.


I’m here to tell you this: celebrating your wins does not make you narcissistic. Celebrating a good day on a diet or self care regimen is ok, even if you didn’t meet your goals yesterday. Acknowledging how great you are does not make you conceded, it just means that you value yourself. Which you should.


How Do You Practice Self-Compassion

By just that… PRACTICE!

If you are not naturally compassionate with yourself, it takes some practice. The first step to practicing self compassion is:

  1. Recognize negative self-talk.

Recognizing when you are being self-defeating with your words or thoughts, or when you are not taking a compliment or are downplaying your achievements, is the first place to start.

2. Step two is to reframe the negative thought.

Once you identify the negative thought, rephrase it or reshape it so that you are treating yourself like your own best friend. Would you downplay your best friend’s achievements? Likely not. So celebrate your own. Would you speak ill of your best friend for eating that cookie? No. So, don’t speak ill of yourself.

3. Step three is to practice self-gratitude.

What are you thankful for about yourself? Every time you have a self-defeating thought or recognize negative self-talk, find something about yourself that you are grateful for. Then find another, and another. Keep doing this until it is second nature to stop those negative thoughts in their tracks and appreciate yourself.


Finding compassion for others comes naturally to us, so why is finding compassion for ourselves so hard? With practice, self-compassion will come naturally too, lessening anxiety, depression, and increasing your sense of self-worth.


So, I challenge you to take the three steps above, next time that you have a negative thought about yourself. And I challenge you to continue to do so until you can look at yourself in the mirror on your worst day, and say, “I love you, and I accept you.” Because that’s what you say to your best friend.


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