It's Hard to Forgive Yourself When You Have Depression

August 7, 2018 Jenny Capper

It's imperative to forgive yourself when you have depression. If you don't forgive yourself, there are negative consequences. Learn more on HealthyPlace.

It's hard to forgive yourself when you have depression. Depression often causes you to be harsh and mean to yourself. When you make a mistake or don't follow through on something, the automatic response is negative self-talk. You begin to tell yourself that no one else would have made that mistake or that you're stupid for not having completed that task sooner. Why is it so hard to forgive yourself when you have depression?

Forgiving others is often so much easier than forgiving ourselves.

Why It's So Hard to Forgive Yourself

I have struggled to forgive myself for as long as I can remember. 

I dwell on the times that I've messed up. If I make a mistake, I'll come back to it multiple times and tell myself how I should have done it differently. Instead of letting it go, I get angry with myself. I develop a grudge. Even if I'm able to move on from the situation, it's still in the back of my mind.

Holding a grudge affects the way I interact with myself. My self-talk becomes more negative because there is anger beneath the surface. I have lost respect for myself because, in my eyes, I'm a failure. I can't view myself in a positive light, because I'm letting that one mistake dictate how I see myself.

Even if it's only a little thing, I let my feelings about it affect the rest of my life.

Negative Consequences When You Don't Forgive Yourself

I'm responsible for writing for several blogs and I also try and stay on top of responding to my readers. When a deadline for an article I haven't started is approaching and my email inbox is filling up with messages, I start to get angry with myself. I tell myself that I shouldn't have waited so long or that I should have answered the messages immediately rather than letting them pile up.

Instead of logically looking at the reason these things happened, I blow up and tell myself how irresponsible I am. Because I'm so frustrated, my motivation for self-care vanishes. I start to neglect my wellbeing. Subconsciously, I deny myself things that are good for me. I don't exercise, I start eating poorly, I sleep too much, and I start to put off other responsibilities.

Since I have lost all respect for myself, I have also lost faith that I can follow through on anything. My entire life is negatively affected, all because I couldn't forgive myself for one thing. 

Forgive Yourself: It Will Result in Better Self-Care

You can't truly love and care for someone that you don't respect. By learning to forgive yourself, you can practice better self-care. When you view yourself in a positive way, you will be more motivated to do what's right for you. 

I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes, it's easy to forgive myself. Other times, I struggle to give myself grace. I've definitely noticed that the times I do find a way to quickly forgive, I accomplish more and feel fulfilled. Even though I initially made a mistake or didn't follow through, rather than getting further behind, I rise above it all and move on.

Do you make it a point to forgive yourself or do you struggle with it like I do? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

APA Reference
Capper, J. (2018, August 7). It's Hard to Forgive Yourself When You Have Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Jenny Capper

You can find Jenny on Twitter, FacebookYouTube, Instagram, and her blog.

July, 25 2020 at 11:39 am

I’ve stumbled on several of your articles as I’ve been recognizing the need but difficulty to forgive and love and respect and care for myself through a severe depression.
Reading this article after a couple other, I had an epiphany:
Without our struggles and failures and mistakes, there is no opportunity or ability to practice accepting, forgiving, or loving ourself. Without the first, the second can not exist in a deep, real, unconditional way.
And strangely, in that way, our moments of struggle and failure and mistakes are something we can genuinely and honestly be thankful for.
Would love to know or get a shoutout if you are able to use this in your writing.
Thanks and best!

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