Forgive to Trust

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

21 January 2021

This year I made a promise to learn how to trust myself. But how do you learn to trust yourself when you’ve been conditioned to believe you make poor choices, you’re inherently dishonest, and your presence is disposable? I’m learning the people I’ve once trusted may not have been so trustworthy. And if that’s the case, the old conditioning returns. The negative self-talk cycle continues … I constantly make poor choices.

But to make good on my promise, I have to do some work. This promise isn’t one I can accomplish mindlessly. The first step in my journey is to forgive myself. I’m allowed to make poor choices. I’m allowed to have been dishonest in my past. And other people are allowed to dispose of me if they chose. I must learn from these mistakes, but they don’t define me. There may even be some unhealthy (and unconscious) coping mechanisms at work. In my mind, I go back to times where I felt less than, when I continued the spiral of poor choices to cover up those feelings. But I don’t have to do that anymore.

A Tiny Teacher

One of the biggest lessons my children have taught me is unconditional love. And with unconditional love comes unrestricted forgiveness. Throughout our time together I’ve gotten frustrated and overwhelmed.  I’ve raised my voice to them or said things that weren’t kind. They’ve gotten aggravated and thrown things at me (or at one another.) And they’ve also said some harsh things in the heat of the moment – to me or one another. But at the end of each day, when they are laying in their beds and the day – as well as their eyes – are coming to a close, I remind them that I love them no matter what. Forgiveness goes hand in hand with unconditional love.

And if we can extend that courtesy to each other, I can certainly learn to extend it to myself. If I want to trust myself, I first must unconditionally love and forgive myself.


As Carl Jung is known for saying, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

I used to believe in fate. Things happened because the universe deemed them to be. But I’m done giving away my power in that capacity. And that’s what I’m going to learn this year. I’ll make mistakes. I might unintentionally hurt some people. And I’ll likely be disposed of. And I’m okay with all of that because, to trust myself, I must also trust that breaking my unconscious patterns will repel the wrong people and attract the right people.

I’m slowly letting go of the idea of fate and moving towards the freedom of trust.