Why you should forgive yourself

 November 16, 2015

By  Casey Berman


I began law school in the Fall of 1996 here in San Francisco.

Around that same time here in the San Francisco Bay Area, Netscape went public (1995), Yahoo was founded and began hiring (1995), and Google was founded and began hiring (1998).

I can’t tell you how many times I have thought to myself why in the heck did I go to law school when I could have gotten a job, any job, any entry level job (and stock options) in one of these companies and made my riches by the time I was 27.

Like many of us lawyers who strive for perfection I was very hard on myself for not excelling in this thing called life. I would rip my insides up, compare myself to others who did “make it” and wish I had taken another path in life that didn’t involve going to law school.

But I don’t think this way any longer.
I forgave myself

I don’t think this way any longer because I forgave myself.

More specifically, I let go of feelings of resentment I had towards myself for things I had done, or wish I had done.

I forgave myself for all of the things for which I had previously been hard on myself.

I forgave myself for not thinking critically about whether I should have gone to law school.

  • I forgave myself for not looking for opportunities elsewhere before applying to law school.
  • I forgave myself for not taking some time off before law school.
  • I forgave myself for taking on student debt.
  • I forgave myself for being in the middle of my law school class.
  • I forgave myself for the confusion, lack of confidence, and anxiety I experienced in law school.
  • I forgave myself for not being as entrepreneurial as I felt I should be.

Because once we forgive ourselves we can then begin to appreciate ourselves

  • I began to appreciate myself for the marketable skills I actually do have.
  • I began to appreciate how I can work in a non law job and really help people.
  • I began to appreciate myself for the respect I garner when people see what I can do and accomplish.
  • I began to appreciate the network and connections of like-minded people I have made in my career since law school.
  • I began to appreciate how my mind works.
  • I began to appreciate the hard, smart work I have accomplished.
  • I began to appreciate all of what I have done right.

When we forgive ourselves, we release the weight of resentment and anger and guilt and we can appreciate ourselves.

And when we appreciate ourselves, we empower ourselves to move forward and do great things and be our true self.

And our true self is not to be an unhappy lawyer held back by anger at ourselves. Our true self is to be happy and full of self worth using our skills and strengths to add value to others.

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  1. Likewise, many of us made the decision to attend law school when the interwebs didn’t exist. From a very practical perspective, we had different information and we were admitted to a much different profession. Your posting is nice, but it doesn’t pay Sallie Mae, Ally, BP, Bank America, Costco, Walmart or the vet bill.

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