I Did Something SO Horrible—How Can I Forgive Myself?

By Boni Lonnsburry

I received this message from a fellow creator:

Dear Boni,

I am in desperate need of help and some comforting words. I did something horrible and I’m wondering if I can get some advice from you so I can accept this, forgive myself and move forward.  

I slept with my sister’s husband! I can’t even begin to express the regret and horrible anguish I feel. I don’t deserve anything. I don’t deserve to be happy. Nothing. I just want to let go of this negativity and forgive myself for the horrible thing I did.

Sick with Regret


Dear Sick with Regret,

My heart goes out to you…I can feel the pain you are in and the sorrow you feel over what you have done.

There will be many who read this, who want to judge you for your actions (as you are undoubtedly judging yourself) as “bad and wrong” for having done such a thing.

And I say to all of you, for your own good, stop looking at the action, and start looking at the cause of the action.

Sick with Regret, you must have been in deep pain, or loneliness or despair, to have done what you have done. It is obvious that you did not intend to betray your sister. And yet you have. There is a reason for that. And it is the deep-seated reason that you did what you did, that you need to forgive.

Of course I also advise that you heal the reason. Heal “why” you did what you did.

Do you need to forgive the action itself? No, not really. You may never forgive the action. But you if forgive the reason for the action, you can be free. Read more on how to do that below.

With love and hope,

We ALL Have Things to Forgive

We ALL have things we have done which we regret. If you say you don’t, I say you haven’t reflected deeply enough on your life (or you are not yet an adult). We need to forgive ourselves for those things—and yes, we need to forgive those who have wronged us, too.

We also need to stop judging others for things they have done. We may think we know what we would and wouldn’t do in their shoes, but we really don’t know.  We are not in the same emotional state, with the same knowledge, the same wounds, the same background and/or the same mental state as those we might judge.

Case in point

A number of years ago, I was a young mother who fiercely loved her children. I would judge other parents who would give up custody of their children or send them away to boarding schools. I couldn’t imagine a life without my boys, and could not fathom any possible circumstance that would cause a parent to willingly walk away from their child.

Three guesses what happened? Yup, that’s right. I found myself that very mother I so mercilessly judged.  I couldn’t have imagined giving up my children because I had never imagined the circumstances that would cause me to do so. And yet, I did.

Forgiveness is Essential to Creating Successes of Every Kind

Everyone deserves a life of his or her dreams. But if you don’t believe you deserve it, you won’t allow it to manifest. Therefore it is critical to learn how to forgive. What do you forgive?

You forgive yourself for creating lousy realities.

You forgive yourself for being less than loving to others.

You forgive others for their hurtful impact on you.

Does forgiving someone mean you must allow him or her back into your life if you haven’t had contact recently? No— it doesn’t. You can forgive someone without them even knowing you have forgiven them.

Ultimately forgiveness isn’t really about the other person. Forgiveness is about you. Forgiving frees you to be happier (without the baggage of regrets) and it frees you to create what you desire (without sabotaging your creations by feeling less than deserving).

How Do You Forgive?

There is no one right way or wrong way to forgive. But if you would like some direction, here is a Forgiveness Process:

  1. Sometimes we aren’t quite ready to forgive. We are too angry, too judgmental, too self righteous, too ashamed or too hurt to forgive right away. Intending to forgive moves the process along, and very miraculously gets us where we need to be to do the forgiving.Begin the forgiveness process by holding the intention to forgive. Simply say, “I intend to forgive ­­­­­­­­­___________ for ____________.”  Say this mentally every time you think of the situation that calls for forgiveness.
  2. If you still hold anger, hurt, shame, feelings of betrayal or deep sorrow, release those feelings. You can accomplish this by writing about how your feel, or by visualizing yourself talking (and crying, screaming and shouting) with the other person. Either way…be sure to really feel your feelings.
  3. Look deeply the reasons for the action that begs forgiveness. I learned this from my spiritual teacher, Lazaris, who says, “Forgive the ‘why’, if not the ‘what’.”We, as humans, lash out and hurt ourselves and others because we are hurting. We hurt others because of our fears, our betrayals, our abandonments, our shame, our unhealed pasts and our feelings of being “less than” other human beings. It is a pattern that is handed down, generation to generation, year after year…until someonestops it.How does it stop? With forgiveness. And with healing.  And my friends, you won’t allow the healing, until you have forgiven yourself.
  4. Write it out. “I forgive ­­­­­___________ for ________________________. I now understand the reason I did this, was because I was (or they were) ____________________________. I have compassion for _________________ and love for my/their Soul. I understand why I/they did it. And I, therefore, forgive them/myself.”
  5. Sit and imagine the Higher Self of the person you seek forgiveness from in front of you.  Maybe it’s your Higher Self, or the Higher Self of another. Imagine yourself in a place in nature, with this other person, and you are both sitting on opposite sides of a fire.Talk to them. Ask for their forgiveness. They will grant it. And then forgive yourself. You are doing the best you can at any given time, my friend, with the burdens you have on your shoulders. You are human—and you make (and will make) mistakes. And you are divine. Both are true.
  6. Physically take the paper you have written out the forgiveness on, and (safely) burn it. This releases the energy and announces the forgiveness to the multi-verse.
  7. Ask for help. Ask your Higher Self, your Soul, God, the Goddess, whomever you feel closest to…to assist you in allowing this forgiveness to be complete.

Do You Ask the Actual Person for Forgiveness?

If it feels right to ask forgiveness from the actual person, by all means do so. And do the above steps as well, ideally. You may need to repeat this process several times for the forgiveness you seek. But every time you do it you should feel a shift—you’ll become lighter and freer.

Forgiveness is a gift—a gift you give yourself. Oh you may think it is about others…but it’s not. It’s about you. And once you have forgiven, you are free to create wonderful realities in your world.

In joyous creation,


20 Responses to “I Did Something SO Horrible—How Can I Forgive Myself?”

  1. Amy

    But what if you can’t understand or figure out the “why” they did this terrible thing?how can you forgive that which you can’t understand?

    • Boni


      You don’t have to know specifically why. You only need to know that the true reason “why” was something in them that needs healing. That they did what they did because they felt inadequate themselves. And remember, you do not need to let them back into your life. You may never forget, and choose to forever remain distant.

      But forgiving them frees YOU–to create a life you love unencumbered by grudges or hatred.

      I hope this helps.


      • Amy

        Thank You Boni. I do understand. I Sometimes think it would be easier to forgive if he wasn’t still in my life, but he is, so I live with the why every single day…. For a long time now

        • Boni

          Dearest Amy,

          I say this without knowing the facts…but you CAN make a different choice.


  2. JerriK

    Thank you for having this information for people to read, for a very, very long time, I’ve been in the dark of my shame, saying that I would never forgive myself for what I’ve done. Now I see, that in order to heal and forgive myself, I have to, uh, how should I say this, is to forgive that I’ve made a mistake to hurt another person, especially those we are really close to. I thank you Boni for opening my eyes and lighting my pity hole of sorrow.

    • Boni

      Hi Jerri,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Actually, the most loving thing you could do for the person you hurt is to forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness lifts your vibration, allowing you to be more loving and compassionate with others.

      I am really happy for you Jerri. Sending you lots of love and light to make the process easy, elegant and filled with love.


  3. dave

    I did a very bad and extremely hurtful thing to someone I love several years ago, I thought i must have been forgiven, but now it seems my criminal act has come back to haunt me, a lot has changed with my life and since that bad time in my life i have changed and tried to be a much better person, how do I now try to make amends to the person I love when I’m sure now she hates me, won’t answer my txts or communicate with me, if I could just die I would, nobody can hate me as much as I hate myself.

    • Boni


      The door to forgiveness from others is by forgiving yourself. There is no other way. Please follow the steps in this post, and know that NOTHING is unforgivable and NOTHING is unhealable.


  4. Lucy

    Dear Boni

    I did something terrible to people who considered me trustworthy and like family. From as long as I remember,I’ve been messing up every good thing in my life since I was young and now at 24,I wonder if there is anything worth saving in me. I have so many dreams,but they are so good and I can’t help feeling like I don’t deserve any of it. How do I just feel and act happy without feeling guilty for it? When will I be free and just find myself full of life again? I read a lot and sort of know what I’m supposed to do,but I just can’t do it because I feel what I’ve done is the worst thing

    • Boni

      Dear Lucy,

      Is there anything worth saving in me? In anyone? If there is something worth saving in any one being there is something worth saving in all…because ultimately WE ARE ALL ONE.

      That said, onto your next questions: “How do I just feel and act happy without feeling guilty for it? When will I be free and just find myself full of life again?”

      That, dear Lucy, is what this post is about. Begin with “intending” to forgive yourself. Ask for help. And keep trying to do that. It is the only way to the freedom you seek. And it CAN happen, if you are serious about making it happen.

      Re-read the post. Implement the suggestions. And let me know how you do…you would not be here reading this particular post if your Higher Self were not by your side leading you to the answers. Think about that.

      much love to you,

  5. Doug

    Dear Boni,
    I did something horrible, I slept with my best friends girl and I feel just absolutely horrible about it. None of my friends will talk to me and I feel so alone. I don’t even have a reason for doing it I just didn’t even think about the consequences of my actions. How can I ever forgive myself and how can I ask for forgiveness? I don’t want to lose my best friend that I’ve known for years now and if we do get over it will it ever be the same again? I just want it to go back to the way it was before I did this horrible thing. That night my best friend went off on how much he loves me and appreciates everything I’ve done for him in his life and vis-versa. Why would I do something so terrible?

    • Boni

      Hi Doug,

      There is always a reason for everything…whether we are conscious of that reason, or not, is another matter.

      As I’ve written before, Lazaris has a saying, “Forgive the why if not the what.”

      Why do you think you did it? Only you can answer that, and you’ll likely have to do some real soul searching to discover the answer.

      But if I might make a suggestion: Perhaps you did it to prove to your friend you really aren’t worthy of your friend’s love? It’s pretty coincidental that the night he really lets you know how much he loves you that you betray him. I don’t think it’s because you lack character (or you wouldn’t feel so badly now)…I think it’s because you feel unworthy, deep down, and uncomfortable owning his praise. Just a thought.

      You CAN forgive yourself Doug. Whether or not you can “go back to the way it was” is unanswerable at this time. But you can create friendships from here on out that you honor and respect.

      Begin, one step at a time. And know ANYTHING is possible.

      Sending you love and light for exactly that purpose,

    • Chris

      I did something incredbily similar and it’s strangely comforting to know there are people who have messed up as badly as I did. I fell for one of my best friends but before I told her she ended getting a boyfriend, but I kept wanting her. I eventually told her and kissed her but after a few days of thinking she said no, I thought I was fine with it but I kept losing and regaining my feelings her, she told me she did like me just not as much as her boyfriend, even so I kept trying and I ended up sleeping with her, she seemed perfectly fine with it and we talked as if we were in an actual relationship and I thought she had actually chosen me, but a few hours later she called me and said I used her, I felt horrible knowing this is how she felt, I tried apologizing in everyway I could but she never responded to me. I felt like I needed to somehow atone for it, so I told a mutually close friend of ours who was already aware, and he said so many hurtful things, but I didn’t fight back and felt I deserved it. He ended the rant by saying I’ll never find forgiveness in either of them and now I feel alone, terrified, and horrible for possibly destroying 2 great friendships of mine.

  6. Kat

    Thank you for your beautiful article. I wish I could forgive myself. But I can’t. What I have done is so horrible I think about it everyday. I was sexually assaulted when I was 8 yrs old by a neighbour and everyone who I talk to trys to explain that this is why I did what I did, but I feel I should have known better. I sexually assaulted (touched) two of my three brothers on 2-3 separate occasions. I feel guilt every single day and honestly have really contemplated taking my life. I don’t think I can ever forgive myself for this. I feel as though even though I was sexually abused and was 8 I should have known better it is not like I was 4yrs old or even 6yrs old. I feel like a monster.

    • Boni


      Sometimes we can’t forgive what we did. That’s okay. You don’t have to. But you can (and you will sooner or later) forgive “why” you did what you did. You were scarred and shamed and scarred and shame people can’t help but scar and shame others. Get some professional help Kat…this may not be something you can heal alone.

      Because we are all one, unless we forgive all we forgive none. Please, find someone to help you work through this, heal and ultimately forgive.

      Sending you love and light,

      • Joel

        Almost made similar mistake years ago. Appx 40 years ago. Good lord stopped me before I did the terrible deed

  7. John

    Hey, I read what you wrote and thank you. But I cannot bring me to forgive myself over what I did. I betrayed my best friend friend in an almost criminal level and now we’re no longer friends and I have caused him to be so hurt emotionally from what I did he’s got issues now with trusting anyone. I still love my friend, and so I cannot accept what I did, even if while I was doing it I did think it was wrong. Now I’m afraid I’ll forever harm those whom I love, and since I’ve hurt my best friend, I don’t have my greatest emotional support. All I wanted was to undo what I did, but since I cannot, I hoped I could at least make things up; but he has distanced himself from me and cut all relations, and though I understand he’s got every right, I still feel even more guilty and terribly sorry. How is it that, unintentionally, we commit such wrecking mistakes? I try to focus on the why, but the why was I did not realize I was doing wrong. Anyway, thank you, even if just a little, your words have helped me.

  8. Sherry

    What I did was 10 years ago and I still can’t forgive myself. I cheated on my husband and left him, I had two boys one grown and gone the other one 17. the day after his 17th birthday I left. We were so close I love my son more than anything. I can’t believe that I did that to him. I don’t know what was wrong with me. Three months later my husband and son moved across the country. My son asked if you could come and live with me but of course he couldn’t because I was secretly living with my boyfriend. I broke his heart and I never forgive myself for that. The day I drove away I got down the road a little bit pulled my car over and scream and cry I sounded like an animal that was wounded and dying. I Felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest but I did it anyway. To this day I will never understand how I did what I did I was a loving caring devoted mother. I just couldn’t stay there but I should of taken my son but I couldn’t I was living with another man. I know what I did was wrong I know that I cant go back and change it and I just feel that I will live with what I did for the rest of my life, the pain the guilt the sorrow of missing out on his life, the birthdays, the Christmas etc. finishing my job as his mother. I’ve asked my son to forgive me and he said he has. I just can’t forgive myself. And asked God to help me so many times it’s just hasn’t happened. Whenever I think about it I still cry I still feel sick to my stomach with disgust for myself. I don’t think you can help me I don’t think anyone’s can. But I’m sitting here reading what you’ve written and hoping that it would shed some light on how to forgive myself but I’m sitting here and still crying and my heart aches.
    Thank you for your post and I’ll keep on trying what other choice do I have!


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