The past few days I was fortunate enough to have one of my life-long friends come to DC, not just for a visit, but to look at places to live. After all these years apart, she is moving to DC for a new job, and I will finally get to see her more than once every couple of years! So while catching up on life over the last few days, I was very excited to tell my friend about my upcoming webinar for Georgetown University– in June I will be speaking about forgiveness as a key to success, both in your personal and professional life. Obviously, she has over the last 18 years seen how this skill (which was NOT acquired easily) helped me overcome some major challenges in life, and yet she made this one salient point: how is it you have been able to forgive so many around you while you remain so hard on yourself?

Indeed, it has been said by many that I am my harshest critic, but I know that I am not alone. Many of us that are passionate and driven, with a clear goal in mind, have a very hard time dealing with setbacks. We rarely fail, but when we suffer our blows, we do not take them in stride. It is no secret– as publicized in the Washington Post– that my divorce was a humbling experience. It was the biggest public admission of failure, on something so major. So often I have been asked how it is possible that over six years later I still have not remarried– really, the answer is so simple: because I have only recently finally learned to forgive myself.

We all make mistakes, and some will have devastating consequences. Broken hearts take a long time to mend– and it is not easy to let go of the past and expose yourself to further pain. But what is the alternative? To never risk being hurt would mean to wall yourself all from all humanity. We are social beings by nature, and a life of solitude is not a viable option. Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained. To find a second chance at love, you need to let the past go– and find a way to forgive yourself.