TIME Mental Health/Psychology

The Secret to Forgiving Yourself

482143483
Jamie Grill—Getty Images/Blend Images

The surest way out of a guilt trip is to fess up and make amends. Then you can really 'Let It Go'

A new study suggests that in order to forgive yourself, first you need to be forgiven by others.

Researchers at Baylor University surveyed 269 guilt-wracked subjects to recall past offenses. They told stories of gossiping, cheating and inflicting physical harm, among other guilt trips.

They were then asked how much they had forgiven themselves. A striking difference emerged between the participants. Those who had confessed to doing wrong and begged forgiveness from the wronged party were more likely to feel a “moral right” to forgive themselves.

Those who had kept their turmoil pent up in their heads reported feeling less of a moral right to forgive themselves, a state of mind which in the long run can contribute to depression and a weakened immune system.

“Our study found that making amends gives us permission to let go,” said researcher Thomas Carpenter.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46,226 other followers