A very special thanks to Carter Crossett for providing the beautiful photography featured in this series.
Question: Do you find it harder to forgive others or to forgive yourself?
Forgive myself. I go back to that a lot, like I said you can’t go backwards but I do. As much as I say “okay” my clients or students might say “ok you live in the now, you have to live in the now” I’ve gotta follow what I you know, practice what I preach but sometimes it’s really hard especially when you’re going through you know, my son got so messed up on drugs that he’s, I go visit him every Thursday at South Bay, you know where that is right? It’s the prison. Because he got so messed up on drugs. This is a biology major straight A BC student, athlete and it can happen to anyone so you know you really grasp life and you look at it and you go “ok what’s going on” and so there’s a lot of forgiveness I have to have with myself saying “okay I didn’t do this, he’s a grown man I didn’t do this, I can just support him and hopefully when he gets out he’s gonna find a path”
Question: What does the process of self forgiveness look like to you?
So I would say that probably to me that process really looked like a lot of self-blame, self-hatred, really like wanting to punish myself in thinking I was not deserving of happiness so there was really like this dark period, even when I tried to not think about it I went back to it and then I came across this text, it’s funny I don’t remember if I was searching for something but I came across it like, I can tell you the text…. Yeah so it was like a stupid text that I came across on Pinterest but this is what it said, and I can send this to you if you want, but it was “You need to forgive yourself. You need to give yourself grace. You need to give yourself time. And you might need to do that a thousand times before you believe it’s true.” So I think this last part specifically really stuck with me that like, I just had to very actively spoon-feed myself those restorative messages and feelings and that like, there was nothing, I mean like I was wrong, I’m still not sure like if I could have done things differently. But then I think like a lot of feeding myself those things and slowly thinking like “Well I guess what’s done is done and I had no bad intentions even though it was really tragic and caused her a lot of pain.”
Question: Do you think it’s harder to forgive others or to forgive yourself?
"Definitely forgive others for me at least, I’m definitely a dweller so I dwell and harp on things so I think it’s definitely easier to forgive other people than forgive myself"
Why would you say it’s harder?
"I think it goes a lot with the anxiety like I think I just, my brain just kind of harps and focuses on one thing and it’s hard for me to let it go, whereas other people it’s like “oh well you don’t know what they have going on, they might’ve had a bad day or whatever” but I don’t necessarily justify myself, I don’t give myself the same breaks that I give other people."
Question: Do you think that it’s easier to forgive others or to forgive yourself?
Oh it’s very easy to forgive yourself. Well maybe not something really serious, I was just thinking “Oh I should’ve called someone” so frivolous things. A serious thing like if you betrayed your wife or something like that, hard to forgive yourself if you were at all a forgiving person, but no, I see what you mean. I hadn’t thought of it, but maybe it is easier to forgive others than to forgive yourself, but again I say depending on the gravity of it, we forgive ourselves of things all day long “Oh I should’ve studied harder, oh well I’ll do alright” that type of thing
Question: Do you think it’s easier to forgive yourself for an offense that you’ve done or is it easier to forgive someone else?
Interesting...easier to forgive myself, no. No I have a hard time forgiving myself, I think I’m really harsh on myself and like I think I would be angry with myself for something that maybe somebody else wouldn’t really hold in such high regard, or at least at the same caliber, whereas someone were to do maybe even the same action to me I’d be more like “Don’t worry about it, it happens.” Yeah
Do you think it’s easier to forgive yourself once you’ve been forgiven by someone else?
Definitely, yeah, it definitely validates the emotion of “Okay well it’s okay what I did, they say it’s alright, so then I should be alright with it.” It might, there might be kind of a grace period in between that but I find that in a lot of emotions it helps if you’re validated by someone else telling you that that emotion is okay.
Question: Do you that it’s easier to forgive others or to forgive yourself?
As I’ve gotten older it’s gotten easier to forgive myself, but that is also a really learnt way of thinking. I think it’s easier to forgive yourself because if you’re forgiving someone else it’s usually because they hurt you. If you’re forgiving yourself, well there’s self-guilt, yeah I think it’s easier to forgive yourself I guess. That’s tough, maybe they’re the same. You know, I’ve done both, maybe it’s easier to forgive yourself. Depends on what it is though. I mean I’ve had stuff that I’ve done that, I mean I still think about it but, yeah I don’t know that’s hard!