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Let Go or Forgive -It's Not the same Thing?

How often do you look at things from your partner's perspective when you're upset with them? How about when you upset them? Can this exercise help forgiveness come easy to you?

This week we discuss forgiveness following The Lover's Journal prompts for Week 6:

1. Look at the last week, or the last time, when your lover upset you and write about it from their perspective

2. Look at the last week, or the last time, when you upset your lover and write about it from their perspective

3. Take a deep breath. Forgive the other. Forgive yourself. How do you feel?

Forgiveness Does Not Change The Past...

Matthew Temple: Why don't we start with the quote?

Cera: ‘Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.’ This is by Paul Boese.

Matthew Temple: So it does not change the past. But it does enlarge the future. How's that working out for you? Is it true?

Cera: It is true. But I also think that forgiveness takes some time to happen. It can. And you know, as I was journaling, I was like, is letting go similar to forgiveness? What do you think?

Matthew Temple: Well, I think that probably depends on what the issue is. Because sometimes the issue is me, in which case letting go is important. And I say that, meaning that there are times there's a struggle, and there's something that needs to be forgiven. If I have to forgive you, that's one thing. Letting go feels like what happens when the thing that you did that hurt me, was tied in with a part of me that was not strong enough to handle that.

Cera: Yeah, and as I was reading that I was thinking like, forgiveness sounds huge, you know? Like, it's like a process that I have to go through. And sure it is. In some of the things I feel like the doer needs forgiveness. You know, like, as I was writing about the reasons that I was upset with you last week, I didn't feel like I needed to forgive you. I felt like I just needed to let go.

Matthew Temple: Of a certain expectation of the way things should have been?

Can You Forgive Everything?

Cera: Yeah, I just didn't feel like there was anything to forgive. Like, I was just like, there are things in my life where I've felt like, I really need to forgive this because it's heavy, it's taking a lot of energy. But with my fight or my argument with you was just like, I don't necessarily feel like I need to forgive. I just feel like I need to let it go.

Matthew Temple: You're right, because it can take on this big connotation that someone has to do something really bad also for forgiveness to be necessary. So anything that's not really bad, I should just, I can let that go.

Cera: Correct. 

Matthew Temple: So it's almost too big of a word for day to day stuff.

Cera: I just never thought about it that way. But as I was writing, I was like, wait, what am I forgetting? Because I know what forgiveness is, like, I know shit in my life that I've had to forgive and let go. So it's like, forgiving and letting go. But with this argument that we had last week that we're gonna talk about, it feels like I just need to let it go.

Matthew Temple: Yeah. So that's interesting. I actually think that's a topic that I want to open up and explore a little bit more as we go. Because I also have that now the other kind of what you said that forgiveness seems really big. That's why I brought it up. 

Does a small thing also need forgiveness? And is the language around that actually important just to say, you know what, it's okay to say, Hey, I need to forgive, but also even to ask for forgiveness, right?

Because in a relationship, if one person causes the other pain, either intentionally or by mistake; you can go, hey, will you forgive me? Can you forgive me so that we can move on. And sometimes you might want to forgive, and just let it go. I know. But those two things actually have a relationship. It's semantics, but semantics are important. You know, the language that we use is really important.

So you did allude to an argument that we had. And I think it's one of the things that actually makes for you and I am both doing the journal and doing this podcast of which we're now 6 episodes in, where when we sit down, and we come to share, we're also sharing our truths, our challenges. It's almost like there's a therapeutic element to it. And that also means that stuff comes up.

Processing Our Unforgiving Realities

Cera: Yeah. So on Tuesday, which is the day we usually record the podcast, I had a really difficult day. I had a phone call with this woman, who just was really honest with my business and made me evaluate everything that I've been doing wrong for a year and a half. I was hoping that she was gonna be like, you know, what, if we tweak this and do this, it's gonna work. But it turned out I had wasted my time and money. And I have to start all over. And I was really sad.

So I came to you. And I said, Can we process this? And you in your own words said you had your own things to deal with, and you just wanted to do the podcast and move on with the day. And I couldn't do it.

I just needed to process that news. Even though I also didn't know how to process it.

Matthew Temple: In fact, the way you can speak about it now with this clarity came from our argument or our challenge. And then what we discussed on our walk when I was sharing with you my journaling about it?

Cera: Correct. And so I even tried to journal, but I couldn't do it. I was just like, I need a minute. 

And as we ended up doing it today, it just seems like it's so much easier sometimes to journal after the fact.

Matthew Temple: Oh for sure.

Cera: Sometimes I think journaling is where you pour your emotions in the moment, but I really couldn't articulate or even put in words what I was feeling. Anyway. So we have talked about all this without even reading the prompts?

Matthew Temple: I actually did two parts of journaling on this. One was right after that argument. And then for the second was later that evening, I was in my men's group, and sharing what happened. And that's when I realized your challenge at that moment was not even the podcast, it was that that was a heavy loss. It's sort of two years of developing this business, and realizing that one of the main areas where you've been spending your time and your money was just not working. And you know, you've been struggling with this. ‘If I abandon it, am I quitting? Or am I just throwing good money and good time after bad?’

And understanding the answer to that question is really hard, right? And you've been because it's come up for you before. And so it wasn't until that night, as I'm sharing. I was like, Oh, my God. I got up that morning, we actually both had a good morning, you had a meeting and we had a friend come over. And then right afterwards, I'm kind of like, Oh, yeah, we planned out our day. And this is going to be great. And we agreed that we were going to do this thing. And you know, and I had my day really laid out all the ways so that I could go have time to go work out and then get back in time for my men's group.

But all of a sudden, I'm like, all these things that I planned that I was going to do, I have to strip them away. If we take a little bit more time, then I won't be able to do anything. But I can still go work out for example. But then at a certain point. I was like, well, you taking the time that you need is going to mean that I don't get to go work out.

Yeah. And so for me the beginning of the day was great. And then I'm letting things go that I had planned on doing because - as far as I was concerned, you were not living up to your agreement.

But the other side of that story is that you have just gotten a serious emotional beatdown from a consulting call that from the outside, it wouldn't seem like an emotional beat down until you're like, wait, that's 1000s of dollars and hundreds of hours, that I might as well that I've thrown down in the trash, and it's done. I can never get that back.

Cera: Yeah, and I think I also didn't come to that conclusion, because I'd been waiting for that call for an entire week, because I thought she was going to give me very different advice. Like, I thought she was gonna be like, I'm gonna help you, we're gonna do this, we can tweak this. And she was advising me to pull out, stop doing what I was doing. And I was just in shock. I just was like, Wait, what? This is not what I was expecting, or hoping for. And so I was taken aback.

And then we had a friend come over, and I felt I needed to show up for the friend. So I did that. And then after she left, that’s when it really hit me that I've wasted all this money and all this time. And I just couldn't move to the next thing.

Matthew Temple: Yeah. And so for me, what I wrote right after we had that argument was that you were feeling rushed...

Cera: You didn't read the prompt?

Forgiveness Requires Compassion

Matthew Temple: I'm sorry, the first prompt is:

look back to last week or the last time when your lover upset you and write about it from their point of view, no matter how large or small.

In a week or two, this is going to feel like it was fairly small. Right now it's big as we're still dealing with the residual of it. Because it unlocked a lot of other challenges too. You know, it brought up some of our own differences and how we operate, and so there's a rawness in it right now. But I think in a couple weeks, this will feel small. And that's why we even put that in there -no matter how large or small.

Cera: Exactly, on Tuesday I couldn't even write. I couldn't even talk to you for about 48 hours. I couldn't talk to anyone at all. I was in shock.

Matthew Temple: Right. And so of course, me being me, I'm taking it all personally. I'm like, what's wrong? Why is she doing this to me? Why are you giving me the cold shoulder? Tell me what I did wrong, or why you're mad at me. And then you'll say, it's not always about you!

Cera: You're not that important. Haha!

Matthew Temple: Sure I’m not that important. But in this case, you were like, it's all about you. And then a few days later, you're like, wait, you had nothing to do it. So that was it

And so what I thought in the moment was that

you were feeling rushed, that your prep time and your own process wasn't being honored. 

So when I said, Hey, I'm starting to feel stressed about time, which I was -and I actually was really careful to phrase it right, because I know that you can feel rushed by me. But in that moment, you snapped as you were feeling this pressure. So that was what I wrote.

But of course, the big aha didn't come until later as I was processing it. And I think this is one of the beautiful things too about journaling. This exercise made me realise that maybe my behaviour was just a match that lit the fuse on a bomb that had nothing to do with me.

Cera: Correct. So I wrote some of it on Tuesday. And I was like, it's not the last time. It's just happened. So my feeling on Tuesday was that you wanted me to just show up for the sake of it. I had said I was gonna do something only to change my mind. So from your point of view I was not being my word. 

And as your partner I've been striving to be my word. And so you had to be like, Why is she not doing this? That's how I saw that you were seeing the situation? Like, show up and do what you said you were gonna do. Because I have other things to do. And the other thing is I was not honoring your time. Your time is important, you have other things to do. And I was not honoring that.

Matthew Temple; You know, I'm really moved to hear you read that. I had been wondering, do you see where I'm coming from? Do you understand? And this is really a beautiful feeling to be like, even though you couldn't show up in that way. I feel seen and heard and honored.

Cera: Oh, that's good. Because I do respect your time. And I do want to be my word. But also know if something happens, I do need time to process it while striving to be my wife at the same time, you know?

Matthew Temple: Yeah. Nice. And so is there more for you on that one or do we move to the second prompt?

Cera: We should move to the second.

Matthew Temple: So:

looking back to last week, or the last time when you upset your lover, write about it from their point of view.

And this one is so similar to the previous prompt. It was really hard, because it was the same situation I was writing about. To clarify the difference between when I upset you writing about it from your point of view, and when you upset me, writing that from your point of view, I found a challenge that I had to keep thinking hard. And you even said, you felt like your English wasn't good enough.

Cera: True, I can't comprehend the difference at first. I was just confused about the prompt.

Well, I felt unseen by you. I just felt like sometimes you just want me to function and just move on from one thing to the next. And just deal with shit as they come and just move on. Yet on that day, I just needed time to like process what I was going through.

And I actually didn't know what I was going through. I just knew that I needed to take some time and I knew that I couldn't show up. I needed time to cry or sleep off or talk to my friends. Or drink tea. Or go on a hike. But for some reason, you just didn't seem to get it.

Matthew Temple: Interestingly though that's actually your point of view.

Cera: Hmm... I guess I did not fully understand this prompt. Well, I felt like your experience was that I wasn’t respecting your time. That I wasn't honoring your time. I’d said I was going to do something and there I was, not doing it. And therefore you got upset because of that.

Matthew Temple: Interesting... that both of us did this backwards actually I just realized I put a note and said I did it backwards. So this was so the first prompt was when your lover upset you but I wrote it the other way around. So this is how I imagined you thinking: Don't want to deal with his time pressure. And when I don't, it makes me wonder if part of my challenge with my relationship is time. I see his as unhealthy and stressed. I also get stressed because of the way he's being stressed. I don't know how much of this is my failure, or my taking on his time tension -because it's something that you brought up like, you feel like you're being pressured. Right. So was it I as I imagined it? Your place would have been like: Why is he pressuring me? I need some time, this is all on his time schedule.

Cera: I didn't even go there. Like, in that moment it didn't occur to me that. Where I went was, Why can he understand that I am not in a position to do this right now? Even though I get that you have other things to do…

I don't feel like you upset me. I just feel like you didn't have time to listen to me. So that's a little bit different. Like when I say, Can you help me process this? I wanted to tell you what the consultant had said to me. You were like, I don't have time for this.

Matthew Temple: I didn't say that.

Cera: You did. Like in so many words, you said, Can we talk about it later. And I said, I just need to talk to you and process this before we show up and speak on a podcast. And you were like, Can we just do this later. And I was like, I can’t do it later. Like I need to do it now.

And so from the moment even that I started sharing with you, I just felt pressured to talk about it. And so in that moment, I was also feeling a little bit of guilt, like, for feeling the way that I was feeling and awful for showing up and just doing it like I wished. So I gathered my courage and came to the studio to do the journaling and podcast. But when I sat down to write I was like, I can do this, you know.

Matthew Temple: But then we hit record, and you're like, I can't do this either.

Cera: So I think what has come from that, for me, is that I really need to learn how to speak what I'm feeling. Because I just didn't have the words-

Matthew Temple: I would say you can't be that hard on yourself. And I'm also saying this really for our listeners too, which is that: often you don't know how you're feeling right away, particularly when there's so many layers, you know. 

Because you can go out in the world like we were doing a Tiktok live the other day. And in general, our Tiktok lives are wonderful when people show up and they're like, Oh, you're so you're such a great couple. They ask us questions, and we answer. We get really in depth.

But then last time we were doing it, some dude shows up and starts making super racist comments. And I just kind of brushed him off and basically started throwing out underhanded disses. I was like, I'm not gonna let this guy mess with me. You know, in fact, I'm gonna kind of go and throw shade. And I felt pretty good about it. And I hate to admit this later -but I didn't forget it.

Cera: Oh, my God, thank you for saying that. Because we didn't talk about it after we finished the Tiktok. Because my face went blank. I was just like, Why was he so mean? Like, I read the comments. And even afterwards I couldn't say anything. I just couldn't speak afterwards. And you were like. Don't let this affect you. And I was just like, it already did. Right?

Like, my spirit was already down. It was 11am but my day was gone. And I was just like, how could that be so easy for you to just say, I am not going to let that ruin my day. But I was like…

Matthew Temple: It had an impact.

Cera: It had total impact, even though I was like, it doesn't. Like, I was leaning on you.

Matthew Temple: Yeah. And I was like, dude, I feel bad for you. You know? How unhappy are you to be that hateful that someone else's happiness? That's crazy. But the reason why I brought that up is that that impacted the rest of our day and we didn't talk about it.

And there was a part of me that says, You know what, I just want to let it go. And there's also like, I don't want to give that person any space in my life, but that person took space. And Sometimes that's to be acknowledged. And so I say that because there are times where those things come up. Like that troll was living with us unacknowledged.

Therefore, I want to say sometimes these things come out of places that are triggering things that we don't know. And that's part of life. And quite frankly, it's part of being in a good relationship.

I think, what happened in this particular argument that we're discussing, is that we brought things up for each other that yeah, it looks like I hurt you, and you hurt me. But those are the things that are unearthing unconscious patterns that we can now bring awareness to and deal with it in healthier ways the next time.

Cera: Yeah.

An Exercise in Letting Go of Grief

Matthew Temple: And so, you know, the third prompt is:

 take a deep breath, forgive the other, forgive yourself, how do you feel?

And when I did that, when I started writing, we had had an argument. So I was angry. I was like, I don't feel that my time was being honored. I also don't feel that what was important to me was being honored. So basically, you're saying, we made this agreement, and your thing is more important than my thing? Yeah. And that was why you made me angry.

But when I stopped to be like, you know what, I'm gonna forgive you. I played a part in this, I want to forgive myself.

And I wrote, I feel sad, that we clashed here, you know? And that was an honest feeling that I was able to get past the anger and get to just be sad, you know? And then there was a bit of acceptance. And then it was like, I wanted to cry when we were arguing. And now I'm actually able to articulate as I'm thinking a little bit more. Looking back, I was just silent for a little while because I was so sad.

Cera: Today?

Matthew Temple: Oh no. On the day. I was like, Okay, now I'm not responding. And you're probably like, okay, now he's just not talking. Whatever. He's shutting down. But actually I just felt like I wanted to cry. And I translated my sadness and wanting to cry from I'm angry. Now. I'm sad, and I want to cry. And I'm gonna be quiet. You know. So I wrote: 

‘I feel better now forgiving and not seeing that I need to resolve it. Like, we're not going to resolve this today. And I'm going to be okay with that. And then also I felt better  knowing that it comes from something that is not personal about you. My anger towards you is not personal. And on your part, the way you were acting towards me was not personal.’

Cera: Yeah. So for me, it feels different. This is what I wrote:

'So I was too upset on Tuesday to think about forgiveness. I didn't even know how or what to think about forgiveness, I was too upset. But after a few days, I didn't even feel like I need to forgive you. There was nothing I needed to forgive. I just needed to process the whole thing and let it go and learn some things from it.'

So I think if I had done it, if I had forced myself to do this journaling on Tuesday would be like, I need to forgive you for this and for not seeing me. But today doing it was just like I could see the whole thing had nothing to do with you. It was just that I was mourning my time. I was mourning my money. And I was just mourning a certain way that I've been thinking about my business for the last two years. That is what was happening for me. And it had nothing to do with you. But because I was too upset. I just made it about you.

What Does It Take To Forgive Yourself?

Matthew Temple: Well… there was something that you said that made me feel like you actually had to forgive yourself. Is there any truth to that? When you were even thinking that you know what, I want to be my word? Yeah, you know, and I wasn't able to -so that bothers me a little bit. I think you said something like, I was annoyed with myself for not being able to be my word?

Cera: I am annoyed with myself for not... 

Actually, I think the huge thing is like, I need to forgive myself for making a mistake for three years. Like, how was I so blind to this? Why didn't I come to this conclusion sooner? I've known this for a while but I think I just needed someone else to tell me like stop wasting your money.

For me. It's really humbling. I don't think I've fully forgiven myself so I'm still in the mourning process. I'm still sad. You know, if I keep talking I'm gonna start crying. Because I'm really sad about the mistake that I made and the way that my business is going. It's just sad.

I'm not even sure if it's forgiveness. But I feel like even when I speak I feel the sadness in my voice.  Usually when we do the podcast, I'm more upbeat. But today, I'm just sad.

Matthew Temple: Right. Therefore, I think that's really important. Because the prompt was, forgive them, forgive yourself. And you brought up this thing at the beginning. Which is I need to let go. So in some ways, this is so fascinating to me that letting go is what you need to do for what I brought to the table, but forgiveness is what you need to give yourself.

Cera: Yeah. And I do need to forgive myself for my mistakes. And I think I'm not even ready to forgive myself. Like, I think I need to go through the process to come to forgiveness. And that's why as we're talking about it, I think the reason forgiveness is huge is actually because we need to go through some process.

So I haven't fully gone through the process of like, what did I go wrong? Why didn't I make any changes along the way. And then when I come to that, I can forgive myself.

But I really haven't done that, I haven't processed it all. What I have processed is like, I couldn't do the podcast, I can show up. I can be my one on Tuesday than I can let go. But the fact of like, what I did, and the steps that I took and the money that I've wasted, and the time that I've wasted, I am still mourning that and I need to go through that process.

Matthew Temple: So, last thing: Other thoughts, ideas and realizations. I don't even remember what I wrote. But I'm gonna read it here.

So Cera didn't want to journal. She wanted to talk through it. Since it was so raw. I also have to honor her commitments versus letting things be and go with the flow.

So I think there were two things that came up for me. One was that, I have to honor my commitments or our commitments, and balance that with letting go when it just doesn't work. And that there's not a right way or a wrong way. It's a balancing act. Yeah, I think that's one of the things that I came to.


I also came to this realisation that journaling is important. I'm glad we didn't do our podcast that day. Because this is a process of journaling, and conversing about it. Without taking that time to really process and write it down, it would not have served us and our commitment. And I don't think it would have served our readers and our listeners as much unless they would have come back and said Oh, she didn't write and this one was a total disaster.

Cera from Interracial Couple Podcast

Cera: I think if I had done the journaling that day, two things would have happened. I would have been a very angry woman on the podcast or I would have cried the entire time.

Matthew Temple: Okay. Both would have been good television -as they say. So instead the viewers were treated to not as good television.

Cera: Correct. Instead, I went and took a nap, meditated, had tea and yeah…

Matthew Temple: And here we are. Anyway, let us know where you are with your journaling process. And always if you have questions, thoughts, insights, comments, please do share them with us below or via We look forward to hearing from you.


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