Looking for ways how to forgive yourself for being toxic?
Whatever the reason was for your toxic behavior, you deserve to forgive yourself and let go of the guilt.
I want to help you because carrying guilt around with you will only cause you to make poor decisions and repeat previous toxic behaviors.
Here are 9 ways how to forgive yourself for being toxic in the past:
9 Ways How to Forgive Yourself for Being Toxic (9 Ways to Self Forgiveness)
1. Take Ownership of How You Behaved
The first step is to own up to how you behaved and the part you played in any toxic situation.
You might not have been solely responsible for what happened, but it’s important to acknowledge your role.
This will help you move forward and avoid making the same mistakes in future relationships.
Even if you were not the only one being toxic, you have to own it if you’re going to move on.
2. Apologize to Those You Hurt
Something else that is important to your overall healing process is to apologize to those you hurt.
This includes family, friends, co-workers, and anyone else who was affected by your toxic behavior.
It’s important to apologize in person if possible, but a written apology can also be effective.
Toxic behavior and actions can have a devastating impact on people. No matter how you think they’ll respond, apologizing can go a long way.
Related – A look at the damage toxic relationships can cause.
3. Turn Your Mistakes Into Learning Exercises
One way to ease the pain of your past toxic behavior is to view it as a learning experience.
Think about what led up to the situation and what you could have done differently.
Use this knowledge to make better choices in future relationships. We all make mistakes, but we can learn from them and do better next time.
If you’re not learning from your mistakes and avoiding making them in the future, you’ll just end up in the same situation eventually.
4. Give Yourself Permission to Put It Behind You
It’s important to give yourself permission to move on from your toxic behavior.
Forgiving yourself is a process, and it might take some time.
But eventually, you will be able to put it behind you and focus on the present.
Trying to hold onto the past will only prevent you from living a happy and fulfilling life in the present.
Give yourself permission to move on and be happy. This doesn’t mean you have to forget, and you’ll feel bad from time to time, but you have to let go.
5. Stop Beating Yourself up Over It
I’m one for being hard on myself and continually beating myself up over mistakes, so I know how destructive this behavior can be.
You have to stop beating yourself up and reliving the pain of your past toxic behavior though.
Otherwise, you will find it hard to truly move on. Instead, focus on the present and the future.
What matters is what you do from this day forward. Trying to change the past won’t help anything, so focus on today and forgive yourself.
6. Identify Why You Were Being Toxic
Part of forgiving yourself is understanding why you behaved in a toxic way.
There might be some underlying issues that need to be addressed such as low self-esteem or anxiety.
If you can identify the root cause of your toxic behavior, you can start to work on resolving it.
You may also be able to identify triggers, and avoid putting yourself in positions where you’re going to get triggered in the future.
Related – Tips to help you forgive yourself for cheating and not owning up.
7. Acknowledge You Need to Improve in Certain Areas
In order to forgive yourself, you also need to accept that there are areas of your life that need to be worked on.
This might mean making some changes in the way you think or behave.
It’s important to be honest with yourself about where you need to improve.
If you’re not willing to change, then you’ll just end up in the same situation again.
Trying to improve yourself takes a lot of courage and strength, so give yourself credit for even considering it!
8. Stop/Don’t Blame Anyone Else for Your Mistakes
One thing that will prevent you from forgiving yourself is if you keep blaming others for your mistakes.
It’s important to take responsibility for your own actions and not try to shift the blame onto someone else.
Remember, you are in control of your own life and choices.
By taking responsibility for your own actions, you’re also showing that you’re willing to change.
9. Promise Yourself You Won’t Make the Same Mistakes
As part of forgiving yourself, you need to make a promise that you won’t make the same mistakes in the future.
This might mean changing the way you think or behave around certain people or situations.
Only you are truly in control of your future actions, so this promise needs to come from you and it needs to be heartfelt.
During the process and the journey of finding forgiveness, you should come out the other side a changed person.
Related – How to help a partner who is always negative and angry.
What Causes Toxic Behavior?
There are many different causes of toxic behavior. It can be the result of low self-esteem, anxiety, stress, or simply not knowing any better.
Toxic behavior can also be caused by being in a toxic environment.
If you’re constantly around people who are negative or who put you down, it’s only natural that you would start to behave in a similar way.
Toxic behavior can also be caused by unresolved trauma or pain from the past.
If you’ve never dealt with something that’s happened to you, it can come out in your behavior towards others.
Whatever the cause, it’s important to understand why you’re behaving in a toxic way before you can start to change it.
Toxic People Can Change – You Can Change
If you’re willing to put in the work, you can change your toxic behavior and start living a healthier, happier life.
You deserve forgiveness, and you can find it within yourself to move on from your mistakes.
No matter what you did previously, you don’t have to keep repeating the cycle if you don’t want to.
I hope that by following the steps in this article you’re able to truly free yourself of any burden and guilt you’re carrying.
By doing so, and identifying what caused you to behave the way you did, you will be able to change going forward.
Image credits – Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.