20 Songs About Forgiving Yourself

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

We all make mistakes. And while it may seem that it’s easy to forgive ourselves after making these mistakes, oftentimes the opposite is true. It can feel so difficult to forgive yourself — which is why we’ve listed these 20 songs below.

If you’re struggling with your own self-doubts and mistakes, give this playlist a listen. You’ll be able to see that you’re not alone in these feelings!

1. “Sometimes” by No Doubt

“Sometimes” by No Doubt, released in 1992, explores the feelings that can arise when one makes a lot of mistakes — and then must deal with these consequences. The band sings that they need to learn to deal with this and move on.

So, they sing, “But I must forgive myself and let the past lay / Down to rest / And I’ll be prepared to face myself in another / Day.”

2. “Long Live Love” by LeAnn Rimes

In “Long Live Love”, LeAnn Rimes sings about a terrible romantic relationship that has come to an end. Her ex treated her horribly — and she’s more than ready to move on from him. However, she’s not going to continue to blame herself for everything that went wrong! Instead, she’s just going to learn from this mistake.

She sings, “Hey, I forgive myself / For all the time I wasted on you / If I learned anything, baby I learned / What a man ain’t to do.”

3. “Dangerous Place” by Molly Burch

Molly Burch’s song “Dangerous Place” follows the singer as she realizes that she should’ve protected herself. This song could be seen as finding yourself in an uncomfortable situation, or in a relationship that you know is just going to hurt you.

Burch sings that she should’ve known better — and she hopes she learns how to forgive herself in the future. She sings, “How did I miss it? / This is a dangerous space / I hope I learn from my mistakes / I hope I forgive myself one day.”

4. “Forgive Myself” by Sam Smith

“Forgive Myself” by Sam Smith explores the after-effects of a breakup. Smith sings about losing a partner and how they’re trying to move on from the end of this relationship. However, that’s easier said than done.

Even though they both made mistakes in this romance, Smith still misses their partner. But they’re willing to move on… eventually. To this, Smith sings, “And I can’t love anyone else / ‘Til I forgive myself.”

5. “Forgive My Heart” by Nat King Cole

In the classic song “Forgive My Heart”, Nat King Cole sings about how he’s attempting to get over a breakup. However, his ex haunts him — and he is still in love with her! He asks her to forgive him for this existing love, but he’s also, in a way, asking himself to forgive his own heart for refusing to move on.

The song opens with the lyrics, “Forgive my heart / My foolish heart, it won’t believe we’re through / Forgive my heart / You’re still a part of everything I do.”

6. “The Daughters” by Little Big Town

Little Big Town’s “The Daughters” explores how hard it is for women in society to play the role they were given upon birth. The band sings about how mothers and daughters struggle to always be seen as perfect. They also sing about how they’re struggling to forgive themselves for this role they’ve found themselves in.

The band sings, “I wash the dishes, feed the kids, and clean up all this mess / Do my best, forgive myself, and look good in this dress.”

7. “Shell Games” by Bright Eyes

“Shell Games” by Bright Eyes follows the singer as he deals with his own personal problems. We get a look into his state of mind, as well as his thoughts about his life and those he loves. The singer wishes he could be a better person and learn to forgive himself — but it remains to be seen if he can actually do this.

So, he sings, “If I could change my mind, change the paradigm / Prepare myself for another life / Forgive myself for the many times / I was cruel to something helpless and weak.”

8. “God Made Me” by The Sundays

1992’s “God Made Me” by The Sundays, which appears on their album Blind, begins with the lyrics, “Looking for an insult there’s a trickle in my head / Seeing it’s worth the effort I forgive myself.” The band continues to sing about how they struggle with the realization that God made them… even though they make mistakes.

9. “Revenge” by XXXTENTACION

“Revenge” by XXXTENTACION opens with the lyrics, “I think I, I think I finally / Found a way to forgive myself / From mistakes I made in my past / I think that’s the first step, right?” As the song progresses, the rapper explains that he will have revenge upon the world now that his friend has passed.

10. “Changed” by Rascal Flatts

In “Changed”, Rascal Flatts sings about finally waking up and changing yourself, thanks to your faith. The band knows that they’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past and hurt people. However, they’ve changed now — and they’re going to prove it. They’re also ready to forgive themselves for these mistakes!

So, the band sings, “I’m changed for the better / More smiles, less bitter / I’m even starting to forgive myself.”

11. “You Had Your Soul With You” by The National & Gail Ann Dorsey

“You Had Your Soul With You” by The National, featuring Gail Ann Dorsey, explores a struggling relationship. The band explains that they are at fault for their partner leaving them. They sing, “I got it worse than anyone else / And I just can’t find a way to forgive myself / I had only one thing left and I couldn’t see it yet.”

12. “Start Again” by OneRepublic

In “Start Again”, OneRepublic struggles with the past misdeeds they’ve done. The singer explains that he knows he’s made a lot of mistakes. He wants to start all over again, as a result, and do things right this time. He also wants to learn how to forgive himself.

So, she sings, “Can’t I just turn back the clock? / Forgive my sins / I just wanna roll my sleeves up / And start again.”

13. “If I Could Change Your Mind” by HAIM

“If I Could Change Your Mind” by HAIM describes a romantic relationship. The singer explains that she’s finally realized that she wants her ex back. She was wrong to let him go! So, she asks him — and herself — to forgive what she’s done.

The band sings, “Forgive my lying eyes / Gonna give you all or nothing / If I could change your mind / I could make you mine, make you mine.”

14. “One More Time” by Pretenders

In “One More Time”, Pretenders sing about worrying that they’ll lose the one who is always there for them. The singer explains that she knows that this person has always been there for her… but she asks them to stay and have her back for at least “One More Time”.

She also explains how much this person means to her, as he’s always thought highly of her. Meanwhile, she’s thought poorly about herself. She sings, “I couldn’t forgive myself / But you could.”

15. “Diplomat’s Son” by Vampire Weekend

“Diplomat’s Son” by Vampire Weekend explores a platonic relationship or a romantic relationship. The song opens with the lyrics, “It’s not right, but it’s now or never / And if I wait, could I ever forgive myself?”

Instead of struggling to forgive himself, the singer instead decides to not have any regrets — and seeks out the “Diplomat’s Son”.

16. “Hold On Tightly” by John Denver

1983’s “Hold On Tightly” by John Denver explores some of the main meanings, and questions, of life. Denver first begins by questioning just about everything. He wants to experience love, peace, and happiness… but he struggles to truly find this.

But then he sings that if you believe in life and yourself, you’ll find this peace. He sings the lyrics, “If you just hold on tightly, let go lightly, there’s always forgiveness and no one to blame.”

17. “Alcohol” by Barenaked Ladies

“Alcohol” by Barenaked Ladies is all about alcohol — and the band’s reliance on it. The singer explains that he loves someone more than he loves alcohol. However, the rest of the song confutes this initial saying, as he goes on to explain that alcohol has always been there for him.

He also talks about how hard it is to forgive himself for his past mistakes, mistakes that may have occurred because of alcohol. The band sings, “Oh alcohol, would you please forgive me? / For while I cannot love myself / I’ll use something else.”

18. “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong United

“Mighty to Save” by Hillsong United is one of the best Christian songs about forgiving yourself. In this track, the group sings about having faith in God and how wonderful this can be. They also discuss forgiveness, singing, “Well, everyone needs forgiveness / The kindness of a Saviour / The hope of nations.”

19. “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion

Celine Dion’s 1996 song “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” describes a romantic relationship that ended, only for it to begin to reignite once again. Dion sings that she was over her ex… but once he walked back into her life, she began to remember all the good times they had together.

Dion also sings that they’ll need to forgive each other and themselves if they really want to make their relationship work this time around. She sings the lyrics, “If you forgive me all this / If I forgive you all that / We forgive and forget / And it’s all coming back to me.”

20. “Twice” by Christina Aguilera

“Twice” by Christina Aguilera follows the singer as she reflects on her life and her love. She knows that she’s made mistakes. However, she refuses to have regrets — and she refuses to let these mistakes keep her from loving again.

Instead, she sings, “Well, sometimes I wonder what is the meaning of my life / I found the price of love and lost my mind / I will forgive them all of my wrongs and my rights / I’d do it all again and won’t think twice.”

Listen to the full playlist on Youtube here.