Self-Talk: Learning to Forgive Yourself

Blog Self-Talk How do I forgive myself

It’s International Women’s Day. Dr. Thema Bryant* said, “Forgive yourself for the things you did when you didn’t know better …”

As women, we are usually extremely hard on ourselves, and we tend to forgive others before extending the same compassion to ourselves. Forgiveness is a process that begins with our self-talk.

This process looks like this:

  • First, acknowledge the situation. Acknowledging the situation allows us to process it so it doesn’t keep weighing us down and spinning around our heads.
  • Bring in some presence—meaning stop, pause, notice our thoughts, sensations in our bodies, images, and memories in a non-judgmental way (Peter Levine). There is a difference between naming our emotions and what we do about them. For instance, it is okay to acknowledge when we get angry. Whatever action we take can be appropriate or inappropriate.
  • We can choose to embrace all feelings related to the incident – feelings are not good or bad. Our feelings are just information that can alert us to danger or the conditions that we need to feel safe and happy.
  • Lastly, we can decide what action to take and what we want to do about the situation.

Will you change your self-talk and learn to forgive yourself?


*2023 president of the American Psychological Association

by Jacqueline Samuda

I'm a multilingual psychotherapist who specializes in providing culturally-sensitive treatment to a diverse clientele. With 20 years at agencies such as the Montgomery County Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program, the DC Commission on Mental Health and the National Center for Children and Families, I have experience in helping clients with depression, anxiety and victimization. I am particularly interested in working with clients to heal from physical and sexual trauma as well as addressing issues of disempowerment, cultural adjustment and life transitions. I am a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and EMDR Therapist. My interactive approach also involves providing support and practical feedback.