Step 7 of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us:
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Meaning to ask God (our own conception of our higher power) to remove our shortcomings. But that only works if we forgive ourselves too. Asking God to forgive you without forgiving yourself keeps you in a state of resentment and regret.
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.1
In this quote, Maya Angelou is saying that it’s okay to forgive yourself for things you’ve done wrong in the past. Were you dumb, inconsiderate, insensitive, cruel? Give it to God and let it go. But learn from the experience and try not to do it again.
As we grow, we learn new things. We begin to see issues differently than we did before. It’s okay to change our minds and do better.
But forgive yourself for the past. Or you’re going to be stuck there.