Forgiving yourself can feel impossible. But here's a proven way to do it.

Most of us are our own worst critics. We bully ourselves when we fall short of perfection, carry around past regrets, and refuse to let ourselves off the hook for any transgressions.

Unless this cycle is stopped, it can lead to persistent self-inflicted suffering. Studies show that those who have a hard time forgiving themselves are more likely to experience heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression, and addiction.

Fred Luskin, PhD, director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, told Prevention there are four things that are hardest for people to forgive themselves for:


  • You fail at some major life task such as making your marriage work.
  • Your actions have hurt someone else.
  • You've hurt yourself by the way you've led your life: drinking or doing something else that's self-destructive.
  • You didn't do something you thought you should, such as intervene in a family dispute or put money away so your kid can go to college.

Some of us take those bad feelings and wrap them around ourselves like a blanket of pain, instead of taking responsibility and making things right.

"Forgiveness is a tool with which we face what we've done in the past, acknowledge our mistakes, and move on. It does not mean that you condone or excuse what happened. It does not mean that you forget," says Luskin.

"There's a season for our suffering and regret. We have to have that. But the season ends; the world moves on. And we need to move on with it," Luskin adds.

Luskin has a process that can help people go from feeling wounded to grateful.

via Pixabay


1. Understand the offense and your feelings

Take another look at the four things that are hardest to forgive ourselves for and see where your behavior falls on the list. "Categorizing the offense begins the forgiveness process," he says. "It allows you to break down what you did, look at it, get a little distance, and begin healing."

Once you are able to articulate the offense and the damage it caused others, share it with a few trusted friends. Confiding in others can be a positive reminder that we all make mistakes. It also prevents you from slipping into denial.

You should also reconsider if what you did was really that bad in the first place. Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations for our own behavior which can lead to feelings of guilt when, in reality, our behavior was appropriate given the circumstances.

2. How do you want to feel?

How do you want to feel after you've found forgiveness? Luskin says you should want to get rid of the "shame, release the blame, and feel calm and whole at your center."

3. Hit stop on your thoughts and emotions

Realize that the feelings you are carrying around are what's making you feel terrible, not what you did all those days, months, or years ago. When you start ruminating on the event that brings you guilt, pause and refocus your attention on something positive.

A great way to do that is to focus on a good deed you may have done recently or how you've changed since the event took place.

Luskin also recommends trying PERT (Positive Emotion Refocusing Technique). Close your eyes, draw in a long breath, then slowly exhale as you relax your belly. Take a deep breath two more times and on the third one, create a mental image of a beautiful place in nature.

Breathe deeply as your mind explores the beauty around you, whether it's a beach, mountain top, or the calming waters of a stream. Allow the positive feelings you create to center around your heart.

For more on what science says about the benefits of forgiveness, click here.

via Pixabay


4. Apologize and make amends

Being forgiven by someone else can help us forgive ourselves. Making a sincere apology to someone affected by your actions can go a long way towards helping you heal yourself.

Next, you can try to right the wrong by making amends to the person you hurt. "Do good rather than feel bad," Luskin says.

5. Reframe your behavior

Instead of thinking about the event and casting yourself as the bad guy, look at the entirety of the situation and recast yourself as the hero. When you tell yourself the story of what happened, be sure to consider how you've overcome a failure and turned it into something good. Focus on what you've learned from going through the ordeal and give yourself credit for how you've changed.

6. Replace guilt with gratitude

Finally, replace your negative feelings of guilt with positive feelings of gratitude. Look around and appreciate all that you have, whether it's the breath in your lungs, the shoes on your feet, or the people you love in your life.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can extinguish any lingering feelings of guilt and shame and put you back on the path of loving yourself again.

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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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