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Forgiving yourself

It could be that a series of events led to you being HIV positive or you did something that you regret or dislike about yourself.

A natural response people have is to beat yourself up about not being perfect or not making perfect decisions all the time.

Beating yourself up is not going to resolve things. People are not robots we are human beings and therefore not perfect.

Why you should forgive yourself

There are two reasons why you should stop beating yourself up.

  • It will affect other people around you and make it worse when they start reflecting your mood or misery back at you
  • Tension and bad moods affect your body physically. It increases your heart rate, raises your blood pressure, disrupts your digestion, tenses your muscles and dumps cholesterol into your bloodstream.

These responses are not going to miraculously make you feel good or help you with the ability to make clear decisions.

Guide to forgiving yourself

Forgiving yourself means that you need to face what is done in the past, acknowledge mistakes, and move on. Try this step by step guide.

  • State what you have done as objectively as you can. 
  • Articulate what you have done and you might feel as though you want to share this with a few people you trust. Sharing reminds us that everyone makes mistakes. This will help you gain perspectives.
  • Understand what you want. You don't always want to be exactly the same as before e.g. relationships with others, you just want to get rid of the negative feeling, move on, and feel calm.
  • Acknowledge what is not going to happen and have realistic expectations, for example, you finding a time machine and fixing it. It is done.
  • Refocus your attention on something more positive.
  • Apologise to others if necessary. Draw a line under the experience. Don’t expect the person/s to be accepting of your apology but you will have tried
  • Do a good deed. This doesn’t have to be the person affected. The simple act no matter how small will give you a sense of closure.
  • Put things in perspective. Think about what is good in your life and about you. You are not a bad person.
  • Forgive yourself.

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