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How to Forgive Yourself

That guilt you’re carrying around is blocking you from being your best self. As the Tibetan Buddhist leader Lama Yeshe said, “Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others.”

Meditation and therapy are among the varied ways to deal with self-forgiveness, and physician and author Deepak Chopra’s suggestions include using a mantra such as “My attention belongs in the present” or “I am not here to suffer anymore.”

Writing is another approach. Twelve-step programs include making a list of those you have harmed, sharing it with someone and then making amends, when possible. Chopra recommends writing a detailed confession and then ritualistically destroying it while repeating, “I put my guilt behind me. Now it belongs to God (or the universe).” A variation: Shift the guilt to another, writing out the deserved punishment and reasons for mercy. You’ll probably be tougher on yourself than on others, which tends to put things in perspective, doesn’t it?

To encourage you to get past a misstep, use this as a place (print it off!) to start brainstorming and scribbling toward self-forgiveness. Try it!

I forgive myself for… __________________________________________________________

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