Most times we find a way to forgive even the worst offenses caused by friends, family, and coworkers; yet the hardest thing of all is to forgive ourselves. Why is that? Is it because we live in our own skin? Is it because we replay our own mistakes—even the most minor—in our heads minute-by-minute?

We can’t escape ourselves. We can’t simply walk away from what we’ve done and pretend it didn’t happen. We can’t turn a blind eye to the idea that we messed up our kids or our relationships, or walked away from an opportunity—for all the wrong reasons—that would have significantly improved our lives.

But we can do something—we can forgive.

We can throw in the towel and say, “Enough is enough.” No need to continually beat ourselves up for what we did wrong in the past. We can move forward and learn from our mistakes. Mistakes make you human. That’s how we learn and grow. Some mistakes are worse than others—yes. You may be at a point where asking for forgiveness seems an impossible task. If so, start with yourself. Little by little, chip away the layers of hurt you’ve thrown upon yourself. Once you’ve forgiven yourself, you can understand a different perspective and you’ll be able to ask others for forgiveness.

At that point, you may realize that your mistake may not have been as bad as you’ve made it out to be. Maybe the years have added weight, worry, fear, and confusion that made the issue seem larger and scarier than it actually was.

Get yourself to the point where you can look in the mirror and smile. Be proud of who you are and of where you came from. After all, your experiences shape you—all of them, even the difficult ones. Through trials and tribulations, we, as humans, learn who we are and what we’re made of. It’s the journey through the troubling times that prepares us for the sweet rewards in life. So let it go and learn to forgive yourself. That issue or worry you’re holding onto is just one tiny piece of yourself. Once you let it go, the chains will fall away, and you can work at becoming whole again.

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