How do I Forgive Myself?

The email below was submitted for a Conversation with Byron Katie webcast from S. in Rhode Island.


Hi Katie,

I cannot thank you enough for sharing your wisdom from Loving What Is with me: A 40-year-old mom who FINALLY removed the painful thoughts haunting me my whole life, going as far back as 30 years ago!


Using your Method, inquiry, 4 questions and turnaround, I have detached myself from so many negative thoughts and forgiven people for any wrongdoing. But, when I judge myself with a truth like: “I want to forgive myself for my mistakes,“ “I want to not be so hard on myself,” or “I wish I could love everyone in my life effortlessly,” or “I wish I had more self-confidence,” and the list goes on and on. How do I find this peace in myself? I just don’t know.



Dearest S.,

I suggest that you close your eyes with that in mind as you begin to clearly locate one of those apparent mistakes in your life. Locate a situation where later you were hard on yourself. Or you can begin to recall a situation where you were not effortlessly loving someone, a moment when you were not loving toward a friend, stranger, family member, a situation where you weren’t self-confident, and fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on any of those situations, writing from that moment in time.

Let me know how you do, angel. There is no moment in time that you cannot recall as vividly as possible, collect your thoughts, write them down, question them, and set yourself free.

Loving you,

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  1. This is my greatest source of suffering, the way I judge myself. I can be brutal with myself. I am way harder on myself than I am with others. When I turn things around I just get confused and beat myself up more. Is there a passage I can read that may help me with this?
    With gratitude,

    1. just turn the situation around…
      would you be so hard on someone who made the same mistakes as you did?
      no… you would be most willing to understand… to forgive…

      then please… do so…
      do forgive………

  2. Hi Beth, I am 61 years old and found The Work about a year ago. I’ve had quite a bit of resistance to it, feeling tired, not wanting to bother, negative self talk but continued on with a 3 day retreat and then a weekend booked with working with Valli and Gramya (cetified facilitators) in New Zealand. I felt such a benefit after the original 3 day course and wanted to really ‘get it”, hence the private weekend. My ego has been working pretty strongly throughout my life and I wanted/needed the assistance of working with facilitators to get myself established as it was hard to do the worksheets by myself. I have learnt that I do need to fill out the Worksheets, work through them even if my ego is chattering away in the background telling me not to etc..That inner peace is the most important quality in my life, from that everything else flows. I have so many issues to work through and they are no different to yours and yours are no different to mine. We are all together in this and that is great! I so encourage you to find your way and keep doing the Work Sheets. With love Heather

  3. Choose something that you can’t forgive yourself for – your appearance, your habits, your past addictions or compulsions – anything. One thing. Now, think back and find WHO IT WAS that told you that thing that you are being unforgiving about was wrong. Who told you it was unforgiveable? Who told you it was “bad”? Whose voice is it?

    Now, you have a focus for your resentment that is outside of yourself. Someone put that belief in your head and you’ve been carrying it around for most of your life. It was not a belief that originated with you. Do a worksheet on THAT person. Feel how angry you are that they implanted that belief in your mind. Feel your deep resentment at having to carry the burden of that belief all of your life. Get really PISSED OFF.

    And then do the worksheet, and the turnarounds.

    May you find peace … and forgiveness … afterwards.

    1. Sounds good, I will try it as well…
      I was also wondering after reading the story of S.
      She states it all in the form of “I want / I wish”.
      Personally I find it hard to disagree with what I want or wish for…
      I change it to the “I should” version…
      That makes it easier, plus…
      it partly brings out the ones that put that thought into my head.
      (well… I let them… I put it there… I believed…)

      1. I started working on myself and it didn’t work. I read Katie’s directions about working on self and I read what you guys wrote here. So, I tried again. And I found my enemy – it’s my ego that is causing all my negative thoughts about myself, not real me. So, now my first statements sounds like this,”I hate my ego for telling me that I’m (put all your negative beliefs about yourself here)”. This is huge!.. Now, I can do REAL WORK on myself. I’m so excited because I have SO MANY negative beliefs about myself! :). And it’s not me who believes all this crap, it’s my ego!

  4. Dear Katie,
    I am sitting in deep gratitude to have the opportunity to meet you on the live webinar last week. How can I ever repay you for guiding me back to my true self? My reality has shifted course. I am no longer fighting this reality, rather embracing it with full surrender. Your words from the webinar and The Work have given me indescribable results both physically and mentally. Its like waking up to a new life again. Please accept this poem I wrote as a small but sincere token for all that your wisdom has allowed me to do.
    (By the way, this is the first time I’ve written a poem after 25 years, when I used to write as a child). It may sound a bit silly;please forgive me. With all my love, Shumaila

    Anchored in my mind,
    Pain I can’t leave behind.

    “Pain, how do I let go of you?”
    Its NOTHING I’ve learned to do.

    Pulling me in the quicksand of beliefs,
    Taking away the real me, OH! I wish I could find relief.

    “Do The Work, do The Work”, I keep reciting,
    It is the only thing that will end this fighting.

    Katie, I feel your hand reaching for me,
    I want to reach back, but something keeps holding me.

    Ego, I must not let you win,
    For that will be my biggest sin.

    “Sweetheart, Do The Work”..Katie, you say,
    How much longer will I stage this play.

    Goodbye! Anger, resentment and judgement…

    Don’t let go! is your only plea,
    “NO!”, I say. Today I open my eyes to the real me.
    -By Shumaila Khan

  5. Such a beautiful and open-hearted poem – thank you so much for sharing it here, Shumaila! And such supportive words and thoughts you all shared. We are all going through the same things! And we can all find the same love, joy, and peace. Best wishes to all…xoxox

  6. Dear S.
    I found out that when you point with one finger to another person…three fingers point to yourself (just try it out)…yet when I show with my finger to me, three fingers show to the outside. I was also one of these people who always hate themselves, try to make everything right for others and by doing the work on judging a neighbor my shoulds which were already endless just multiplied like the head of a dragon…when you cut one off, many more just grow out of nowhere.
    Last night I finally wrote a long letter to my creator telling everything from my heart…my confusion, my rage, my shame, my fear…asking for support and healing, then I went under my bedcover and took this helpless hand of my panicked inner child, this hand which was pointing to herself and thought herself to be the cause of the worlds misery….I took this hand and told my child: “I am here now for you, I listen to you, I hold you with all the feelings arising in your heart and I stay with you until everything is spoken, everything is felt and comforted, I am here for you and I can bear whatever there is.
    After one and a half hours the nightmare was gone. I got up, the panic had left and the sun was out.
    With love

  7. My statement is “I am deeply disappointed in myself because I continue to abuse my body with food. ” Do I ask the 4 questions with this statement or Judge your neighbor worksheet? I am unsure how to proceed. Than you

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