Why do people have a hard time forgiving themselves? What does it mean when people are unwilling to forgive themselves?

At the highest level, it means they’re more committed to being right about their story than they are to being happy and living in the present. As humans, we like to punish ourselves. We’re great at it. The more a person punishes him or herself and suffering becomes the new normal, the easier it is to suffer and continuing suffering. It becomes someone’s identity and a constant presence in their life. …

As December begins, I feel winter’s grasp arriving too. Snow is falling in New York City and my food coma from Thanksgiving is just beginning to subside. In this wintery mix, I’ve found myself thinking more than a couple times that “nothing happens in December.” It’s an interesting thought — a limiting belief, to be sure. Many things can happen in December.

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Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

If January is when all that is new begins, December is the time to set the stage for what is to come.

That’s why I’m reminded of this quote from November 2013: “I must seize the present instead of languishing in a seemingly paused state.” At the time, I was stuck post-college with no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. An internship I’d had in the fall was complete, I’d just finished a two-week-long trek across California with none of the epiphanies I’d hoped for, and 2014 was drawing closer with no hope for change on the horizon. …

I’m a millennial, and, in many ways, my generation can be called the “Authenticity Generation.” This isn’t because we’re any more authentic than any other generation. It’s because we’ve heard all our lives, “be yourself.” At least, I’ve heard that my whole life. Even so, I can say with certainty that I haven’t always acted or been myself and I’m still not always myself.

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Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve heard other people say I should be or how much I know that being authentic, vulnerable, and honest produce results I can be proud of. Being authentic can be hard! Especially when you’re like me: someone who wants to be liked. I’ve bent my way this way and that to be liked by others. For years, I lied about having seen Pulp Fiction in order to avoid the embarrassment of admitting I’d never seen it. And that’s on the low end of the inauthenticity I’ve embodied in my life. On the high end, many of my relationships in high school and college — particularly with young women — were founded in inauthenticity. I wanted so badly to be liked and accepted that I hid whenever I was interested in a friend in more than friendly ways. I thought that if I was honest about how I felt that those friendships would end and I’d lose someone who I cared about. I framed my inauthenticity as generous, but it was incredibly selfish. Those friendships were built on houses of cards and, inevitably, blew up when something revealed my inauthenticity — be it alcohol or the pent up energy of suppressing feelings and thoughts for months on end. …


Jake Fishbein

Writer. Coach. Dude of Disruption. All about discovery, seeking greater understanding, and making it to Ithaca…wherever Ithaca may be. www.jakefishbein.com

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