The both/and philosophy in self forgiveness

One of my beliefs I go back to, over and over, is this: it is inherently unfair to judge the past versions of yourself based on what you know now. 

  1. How is that fair to past you, if you genuinely didn’t know what you know now and were doing the best you could?
  2. This does NOT mean you also have to be proud of the things past versions of you did.

I think about this a lot, especially when the self-doubting voices in my head get loud.  For a long time, younger versions of me were often having a hard time. They showed up in a way I struggled to hold space for – they were reactive, angry, and in pain.


As I’ve been growing and changing, I’ve had to forgive those past versions of myself for showing up however they did. 

Even when it was ugly or embarrassing. Which it was, a lot of the time!! But I had to learn some big lessons. A lot of the most cringe-worthy stuff held the richest nuggets of wisdom on the other side.

And you see, if I couldn’t forgive myself, how could I ever expect anyone else to?

At the end of the day, what is more important – other peoples’ forgiveness, or mine? 

Whose voice will I listen to every day of my life? 

Mine, right? 

So you see, forgiving myself was really the root of it all. 

Self-forgiveness is the first step of…everything, really. 

We can both acknowledge that our past selves may have been misguided, WHILE simultaneously forgiving these past selves for doing the best they could with the knowledge they had. 

We can be both realistic on our reflections of past selves, and self-forgiving.

We can be both, and. 

And we can take this “both/and” philosophy and project it outward. 

So much of our resiliency is our ability to hold conflicting ideas at once, together. 

Holding both an understanding that things need to change, and a gentleness around what needs to happen next. 

Holding space for both sides of an argument. 

Holding space for all of the positive and negative emotions within a single experience. 

Keats calls this the “Negative Capability” – the ability to hold conflicting ideas, together, in tandem. And holding space for all of our emotions – for both sides of an argument – for all ideas – is one of the most important skills we can cultivate.

In holistic health coaching, we work to see the “both/and” in our self-development, and grow through tough times with support and grace. If this sounds up your alley, reach out here, via IG (@charlottesuzanne_), or via email ( I’d love to connect with you!


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