How to Forgive Yourself After the Affair
By Kajay Williams
Forgiving other people can often be easier than forgiving yourself. We are all harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else, which can leave us feeling depressed and down in the dumps – and if you don’t forgive yourself, you’ll never be able to get rid of those negative emotions. Getting caught up in an affair is the last thing that many people think they’ll do. And once you get out of the affair, it can be very difficult to forgive yourself for your actions.
Numerous emotions swirl around in your head, such as shame, guilt, anxiety and even depression. These negative emotions can make it really difficult to move on from the affair and start to rebuild your confidence. But you can forgive yourself after the affair – here’s how.
Remember that Everyone Makes Mistakes
The first step in forgiving yourself after the affair is to remember that everyone makes mistakes – and that’s exactly what your affair was. It wasn’t the end of the world – it was a mistake, and even though it was a big one, everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are actually necessary for growth as a person – and if you think about it, no-one can be perfect all the time. Mistakes help you to learn about yourself as a person, and they also help you to become a stronger individual. Feel the appropriate remorse for your mistake, learn from it so that you don’t repeat the pattern and move on.
Calm Your Inner Critic
We all have an inner critic. That voice inside our head that constantly tells us what we’re doing wrong and how we should be improving ourselves. Your inner critic constantly looks for something to find fault with. When you make a mistake that’s as big as an affair, it can be difficult to switch your inner critic off.
You might constantly put yourself down, and this can make it really difficult to forgive yourself for the affair. Calm your inner critic by reminding yourself about all of your good points. For every bad point that you come up with about yourself, come up with a good point and remind yourself that actually, at heart, you’re a good person.
Wake Up Your Inner Protector
We all have an inner critic – but we all have an inner protector. Our inner protector is that innate sense that we all have to avoid certain situations or people to prevent ourselves from getting hurt. To forgive yourself, you need to wake up that inner protector to put your affair into perspective and to stop blowing it out of proportion. You do need to feel the appropriate guilt, but you don’t need to carry that guilt around with you forever.
Wake up your inner protector to stop putting yourself down and to stop feeling so negative about yourself. If you’re finding it difficult to start protecting yourself, think back to a time when someone else was protecting you – be it your parents, a friend or your spouse. Remember how content you felt at that time. Remembering those feelings and those emotions will help you to understand how good it feels to be protected – and it will help you to protect yourself, and ultimately, forgive yourself.
You can’t forgive yourself for an affair straight away. To begin with, you need to be accountable for what you’ve done. You need to accept that you did have an affair and that you’ve potentially had your part in breaking down two relationships – yours and your spouse’s, and your lover’s and their spouse’s relationship. Be accountable for what you did and accept what you did wrong. Let yourself feel all of those emotions. But only feel those emotions for a little while. You don’t need to carry them around with you forever.
Once you’ve felt those feelings and you’ve accepted responsibility for the affair, you should also think about what you’re not responsible for. For example, if it was your lover that did all of the chasing, if the affair only lasted a couple of weeks or if it was a one-time thing, let yourself feel relief for what you didn’t do rather than what you did do. Those feelings of relief will help put what you did into perspective and will help to stop you feeling overwhelmingly guilty for the affair.
Often, to truly forgive yourself, you need to get closure. Although you may already have done everything that you can to forgive yourself for the affair, there may be a feeling of needing to get closure before you can truly move on. Do what you need to do to get closure. This might mean getting rid of any mementoes from the affair, or it might involve deleting your lover’s phone number. You might want to tell your spouse that you had an affair, or you might want to apologise – either to yourself or to your lover for the hurt you’ve caused.
Getting closure serves two purposes – one, it helps you to come to terms with the situation and put an end to it, and two, it can make you feel better about yourself in that you’ve done what you needed to do to move on. Feel relief that you’ve gotten closure and appreciate those feelings of relief, versus those negative feelings of guilt and depression.
Actively Forgive Yourself
It can be hard to actually move on after an affair, even if you think you’re completely able to forgive yourself. In some cases, it may be helpful to actually write it down – “I forgive myself for X. I am no longer going to carry these feelings around with me”. Writing it down can help massively – just seeing the words written down, rather than in your mind, will help to make things clearer.
Once you’ve forgiven yourself, you might need to actively keep reminding yourself of your good points, and to tap into those memories of what you’re actually accountable for and what you’re not accountable for. You might need to repeat the steps above, and that’s okay. You’ll get there eventually and you’ll be a stronger person for it.
What To Do If Your Partner Is Having An Affair?
Time To Act: There is hope.
An affair may be the best thing to happen to a marriage or relationship.
Contrary to popular belief, experts say that many couples survive infidelity and are able to rebuild a stronger, better and more fulfilling marriage after the betrayal.
Whether you suspect your partner or spouse is cheating on you or whether you have just discovered your spouse’s affair or whether you are wondering if you want to save your marriage or opt for separation after an affair or whether you want to redefine the boundaries of your relationship or marriage to make sure you and your partner are on the same page, I can help you.
CLICK on the banner below to learn more.