The Hardest Person To Forgive Is Ourselves


A few days ago I attended Trapeze School with TD Bank. If you read the post, you know that I couldn’t go through with it. When one of the instructors was trying to convince me to go he told me the event wasn’t really about the act – it was more about trust. He said I had to trust that the instructors wouldn’t let me fall and I had to control the fear I had around them letting me go. It kind of struck a nerve with me. I couldn’t for the LIFE of me trust that they had me. We even did it on the floor first to try it all out and I was FREAKING out that he would drop me – ON THE FLOOR. If I fell, I fell. I would have been just fine, but I couldn’t put all my faith into him and that has been sitting me with for the past few days.

We’ve all been burned before right? We’ve all made bad choices in our lives and aligned ourselves with people who perhaps we shouldn’t have. We’ve all been lied to, ignored, dismissed and mistreated… but life goes on and we have to (at one point) let go of it all.

This may sound really strange – but I kind of view myself as two different people – post and pre Bill. Meeting and marrying Bill was really a changing point in my life. Prior to him I was in a TERRIBLE relationship – someone who cheated on me with almost all of my “friends”, took me for granted, mentally abused me, could really care less about me as a person – and I stayed with him for 4 years. 4 YEARS of all of that drama. When I would drive with him in a car, I would scan the street FOR HIM walking with another girl. It was so bizarre but even though I KNEW he couldn’t be cheating on me at that moment, my mind couldn’t stop being paranoid. The day we broke up he was screaming at me calling me all types of names and accusing me of sleeping with his friend. It was at that moment that a light turned on in my brain and I just let him go. I wasn’t sad or angry. I was done.

Then I didn’t date for 2 years – not one person. Not one kiss. Most of my college years was spent hanging out with my friends and not even THINKING about men. I needed to find myself again because I was so lost for so long. Eventually, I met Bill and I had NEVER dated anyone like him. He… loved me – as in the true sense of the word. We’ve been together for 12 years now and he has truly made me a better person.

But all this time later I still feel guilty that I put myself through such an ordeal. It’s like my new self is punishing me for what I allowed to happen to my old self. I have a wonderful man who loves me unconditionally and two very beautiful and healthy children, but when things get quiet – I start to remember and the guilt begins to consume me. Still after all this time, I guess I’m not ready to unconditionally trust because the closest people in my life had all been so untrustworthy.{Editor’s note: I’m leaving out a lot of details – but just know there were multiple people in my life who mistreated me. Pinning this all on one relationship would be unfair. There are parts of my life that will never be spoken of out loud – those are also included in this realization.}

Well last night I thought about what benefit I was receiving from holding onto all this guilt and sadness. And obviously… there is no benefit. It’s toxic and unnecessary. It’s harmful and too heavy to carry around any more. I think it’s time to let go of it all. Today is a new day and whatever happened yesterday is just a thing of the past.I know it won’t be that easy to do, but at least I understand that it has to be done. If I catch myself going to that dark place, I now know enough to smack myself in the head and snap out of it. Life is good.

How do you deal with forgiveness? Are you easily able to let stuff go?

About Me

Check out Vera Sweeney's media kit here.

Subscribe to Lady and the Blog

Looking for weekly updates? Want to receive every recipe, free printable, and contest notification? I would love to have you part of my newsletter community.



  1. Allie wrote:

    Oh! I very much understand this. I feel like my life started when I met J, the same way you said you feel about BIll. I think you’re right though – there’s no benefit to clinging to these things. It is so hard to let go of the past, but the now is so much more important. And maybe the things that happened in the past allow us to fully appreciate what we have now.

    Posted 5.28.10
  2. BoN wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing Vera. After reading your post I see taht others have gone through difficult time similar to mine. Yes I know ppl go through difficulty everyday but sometimes you don’t really find anyone who has gone through what you went through. I was in a similar situation. It took me quiet some time to forgive because I was extremely hurt by my breakup. I spent five years of my life with someone (in hindsight) who really just didn’t care for me the way I deserved to be cared for. I find it very difficult to trust anyone fully.

    Posted 5.28.10
  3. Nadia wrote:

    Oh Vera, I can relate to so much in this post! My husband has and continues to change me for the better. He is truly my “better” half.

    Unfortunately there are a ton of people in the world that embody ignorance and stupidity and I for one will never for the life of me understand it. They are the ones with the problem!

    It’s so hard. I keep thinking that perhaps I can “fix” people or relationships and unfortunately I can’t and it just ends up making things worse. I can forgive, but trusting and putting faith in others is something that is extremely hard for me to do.

    What I know for sure is that I am totally blessed to have an amazing husband and two beautiful children who are the light of our lives. Life is too short to hold on to all the garbage! 🙂

    Posted 5.28.10
  4. Elizabeh wrote:

    Vera, you and such a superb, strong and beautiful person and you never deserved to be treated in such a way. I can relate to a lot in this post and really want to thank you for sharing your story. I would really like to be able to let go of a lot of things, its just learning the right ways to do it and move on. I read INO and LATB pretty much every day and you have so much going on and so much to look forward to without letting the best get in the way of that.

    Keep strong. You are wonderful.

    Posted 5.28.10
  5. Sally wrote:

    Hi Vera, thanks so much for this post. You are absolutely right that the hardest person to forgive is yourself. And, as you say in a different way, that the hardest thing to do is to learn how to completely trust people again. Something happened in my family a while ago and those two issues, forgiveness and trust, still rule our relationships. While I think I have forgiven, I don’t trust people unconditionally and my brother has not forgiven and as a consequence cannot trust. We have both moved on, well and truly, and have families and adult lives, but while I have a relationship again with the people who most hurt us, he doesn’t, nothing at all. It hurts him, of course, but it really hurts his kids and also hurts our relationship as he is always careful of letting me in as I speak to the people he hasn’t yet forgiven. Anyway, my point is that trust is a difficult thing and I have only recently realised that that experience and following that a few bad and failed friendships and relationships have made it really hard for me to completely trust anyone. I’ll get there, and I know I make it hard for my husband at times, but these things take time and healing. Anyway, thank you so much for these posts. I find they really help me.

    Posted 5.28.10
  6. Marie wrote:

    Thank you for being so honest and sharing. It takes a strong person to admit as you did.

    Posted 5.28.10
  7. Wheatly wrote:

    Like you, I have a lot of guilt about things I did or that I allowed to happen to me when I was around the same age you’re talking about. Just recently, I realized: I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I was young and dumb. I didn’t have the life experience and wisdom to be able to handle the situations I was in. I just pray each night that I can feel forgiveness towards myself and that I can let go of the negatives of the past. Forgiving yourself if much harder than forgiving others.

    If you hadn’t gone through what you went through, you might not appreciate all you have today; maybe that was your lesson. When the bad thoughts come into your head, tell yourself: I’m done with that now. I’m moving forward!

    Posted 5.28.10
  8. Leslie wrote:

    The timing of this post is crazy Vera! For the past day I’ve been thinking about how I hold on to all this stuff that hurt me when I was a child…and how holding on to it is killing me. I can’t seem to figure out how to let it go. It’s really difficult, but I would like to say goodbye to all of it.

    Posted 5.28.10
  9. Helen wrote:

    I learned to forgive other people when my father died, but forgiving myself is a process I’m still learning. My beautiful husband has showed me the way to being easier on myself, but I still gotta walk that path alone. It’s scary.

    Posted 5.29.10
  10. Bailey wrote:

    Vera, thank you for the post, honestly. I’ve loved you and your blog (INO) for the longest time and hearing this from you breaks my heart. You’ve always been such a kind, sweet woman and to hear of this tragedy breaks my heart. Thank you for being an example of strength.

    Posted 5.31.10

Comments are closed.