“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” –Gandhi

Grudges and bitterness are like poison: if you let them, they will fester and hold you back until you don’t even recognize yourself anymore.

Humans are prideful beings, which is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to let go of wrongdoings, rejection, and hurt. However, the moment you allow a hurt to fester, you give the circumstance greater control over you than you have over yourself.

Hence, we should always choose forgiveness. Here are 11 things you should always forgive yourself for.

1. Forgive yourself for your past.

It is very easy to let past mistakes fester and clog the present moment; however, this is the fastest road to depression and unease. It is important to remember that everyone makes mistakes, it’s all about how gracefully you can learn from them and brace yourself for future experiences.

2. Forgive yourself for your failed relationships.

Matters of the heart are no easy matter. If you let them, they will hold you back from future love opportunities and living life to your potential. The trick is to focus on the present – not the past mistakes you have made – so that you can build yourself an even better future.

3. Forgive yourself for your weaknesses.

Day could not exist without night; nor light without dark. In the same way, we would not know our strengths without our weaknesses. We should embrace our imperfections, and learn to accept ourselves for all that we are. Acceptance is key.

4. Forgive yourself for your insignificant mistakes.

Did you accidentally cut someone off today on your commute to work? Snap at your significant other? Trip over your shoelace? Relax. There are worse things that could happen – find the humor!

5. Forgive yourself for the people you have judged.

People are so different, from introverts to extroverts, to hippie art freaks to conventional Joes. These differences make it ever so easy to misunderstand and judge another person for a trait that may just be different from behaviors that fall within your norm. Everyone does it, so don’t sweat it.

6. Forgive yourself for your lost hopes or dreams.

There is always time to invest in dreams even if you have not invested in them a whole lot yet. Let go of the regret on what you could have or should have been doing and take those first steps towards your goal.  No matter how tiny your steps are, as long as you’re putting in a little work, your hopes and dreams never die.

7. Forgive yourself for your self-criticism.

At times we can be our own worst critics, but fear not, we all do it. Instead of dwelling on this fact, learn to recognize negative self-talk and stop it in its tracks.

8. Forgive yourself for burned bridges.

As people change, relationships often change. Sometimes burned bridges are necessary for mental health.  But even when they are not, there is almost always a way to mend teetering relationships.

9. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings at work.

No one can be good at everything; it’s high time that we recognize this, not only in our personal lives, but also at work. Instead of focusing on what you are bad at, put your focus on your work strengths instead.

10. Forgive yourself for times of selfishness.

Everyone needs to be selfish sometimes, whether this is in the process of pursuing dreams, self-development, or career change; this is nothing to feel ashamed about.

11. Forgive yourself for moments of laziness.

No one can be productive all the time.  If there are times (like say, on a Sunday afternoon) that you can’t help but lounge around in your PJ’s watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother, let go of your guilt and relax with no shame.

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