Break Free with Self-Forgiveness: A New Beginning

I beat myself up for the choices that landed me in prison. 

I verbally thrashed myself with the cruel viciousness that only comes when you know your target so well. 

I knew the mental buttons to push and what would inflict the most pain. 

I even punched myself and whipped myself with a belt. 

Because I deserved it for what I had done. 

One practice is overlooked (especially among men) when it comes to changing our lives, and it may very well be one of the most crucial steps you’ll ever take.  

Because without it, you carry a burden that will rest on your shoulders and won’t allow you to create what you want to create. 

It was one of the most challenging steps I took after prison, and it led me to: 

  • Peace
  • Purpose
  • Meaning
  • Freedom
  • Creativity
  • Fulfillment

The practice is:


I had multiple clients in one week express regret.

Within that regret lay a cycle of rumination, beating themselves up and chipping away at their confidence.

They beat themselves over:

  • Not betting on themselves.
  • Letting their dreams wither.
  • Making the “wrong” decision back then and not trusting themselves now. 

I asked if they had forgiven themselves.

I might as well have asked what the square root of the distance from the earth to the moon is.

Self-forgiveness isn’t at the forefront of our minds, but self-flagellation is.

I did something “wrong” or “stupid,” so I need to abuse myself for it verbally (and sometimes physically).

We believe this will “fix” us and make us a good person. Because we were raised to believe,

“You did something wrong, and you deserve to get punished.” 

How many times is what we did wrong only in our heads? We said something we regret, and it lingers; we flubbed a line or made innocent mistakes.

In this instance, no one else knows you did something wrong (it all lives in your head—think about that for a moment), so it’s up to you to handle the situation.

So, you lash out at yourself and give yourself what you “deserve.”

What a crock of shit. 

Here’s why:

Let’s reframe the situation and say that your best friend, your child, or your spouse did what you’re currently kicking the crap out of yourself for.

Now, imagine verbally beating the shit out of them the same you’re doing to yourself.

How does that feel? 

You would never in a million years speak to a loved one the way you’re talking to yourself now, so why are you accepting it from yourself?

Has beating yourself up made it possible for you to move forward?

Has beating yourself up ever worked? 

Has it improved your life?

Louise Hay said,

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

When we beat ourselves up for something that has already happened, we expect to revise the past.

When we beat ourselves up enough, it will change.

“It’s gotta work.”

 How’s that working out for you? Has the past changed itself?

The toothpaste is already out of the tube. Beating ourselves won’t change that, but it will:

  • Destroy our self-trust
  • Destroy our self-worth
  • Destroy our confidence
  • Destroy our decision-making capabilities
  • Destroys our ability to create the future we desire because we’re locked in the past. 

Self-forgiveness is the key to this mental prison. Forgiving ourselves is one of the most loving and compassionate acts we can extend to ourselves.  And if we want to craft the lives we desire, it’s not a “one-day”; it’s a “NOW.”

Here are some common obstacles to self-forgiveness (from my personal experience and conversations with friends and clients).

  • I don’t deserve forgiveness/I’m not worthy of forgiveness. 

This is shame in its purest form. Shame is insidious and will eat us alive from the inside out unless we address it. 

  • Fear

If I forgive myself, I lose the identity of being the person who beats myself up – and it feels good. 

I’m no longer the victim of my past choices; I can’t hide in the pity party anymore, and I’ll be responsible for my life.

I’ll be able to move forward, but I’m scared of what that looks like. 

  • I don’t know how.

If you’ve never done it, this is fair, but if you’ve never done it, does it mean it’s impossible?

It’s really easy – I forgive myself for…(Insert examples)

  • This is stupid.

This voice is purposefully trying to keep you stuck and does not have your best interest at heart.  

  • I’m letting myself off the hook and must beat myself up to be a good person. 

Again, does beating a loved one up make you a good person?

  • I’m condoning my bad behavior.

Ah, this is a sneaky one. The answer lies in the words already read: the toothpaste is out of the tube. 

You cannot change it, but you must accept it. 

You’re not condoning the behavior; you’re forgiving the version of yourself that exhibited the behavior. 

Because you know this, you were doing the absolute best you could at that moment. How do you know this? If there was a better way available to you, would you have taken it? 

Of course, you would have, but it wasn’t available to you then. You may not buy that because, in hindsight, you see that the “better” option was sitting right there.

Don’t allow your knowledge and wisdom now to implant itself where it wasn’t. 

Even if you saw the better option then, it still wasn’t available to you because you lacked the ability to pursue it—whether it be a lack of courage or self-worth – you did the best you could. 

When we don’t forgive ourselves for something from our past, we carry each version of ourselves on our shoulders.

We’re carrying the 7, 15, 23, 31, 39, and 46-year-old versions of ourselves squarely on our shoulders.

When we forgive, we take that burden off our shoulders.

Crafting a remarkable second act is already a monumental task; it’s a mountain we choose to climb.

We can make the climb easier the less we carry. 

📣 If you’re ready to stand in your power, and unleash your potential the Midlife Mastery Program is for you. Schedule your free call here.