How to forgive yourself (with Josh Harris)

In this podcast (#521) and blog, I talk to author and former pastor Josh Harris about forgiving yourself, why curiosity and challenging what you believe is important, how to deal with losing a community, and so much more.

As human beings, we are designed to learn, change and grow. Indeed, as I have discussed many times before on my podcast and in my blogs, the brain is neuroplastic, which means that it is always changing in response to external and internal stimuli. We are meant to be curious and change our minds. 

However, so often we can get stuck in belief systems that trap us in the past, affecting our well-being and relationships. This is something Josh himself experienced. He spent the first 40 years of his life promoting what he now sees as narrow, controlling, fear-based religious systems. Today, he is an advocate for the freedom to change, grow, and walk away from systems and beliefs that no longer fit. He wants to see religious and non-religious communities become healthier.  

People often say they want to “grow”. Yet the reality is that growth always involves change. This is often uncomfortable, and doesn’t always fit the box that others put us in, or the box that we have put ourselves in.  

Change can be scary. It can come with a lot of regret and take a lot of time, and yet it can’t always fix what you did or take away the pain you may have caused. It can take a lot to admit you were mistaken, and it can be hard to deal with the consequences of shifting your perspective. But unlearning negative mindsets is worth it, no matter how hard it is to admit you were wrong. You cannot live according to standards you no longer believe in—sooner or later this cognitive dissonance will catch up to you, affecting your wellbeing and your relationships. 

Indeed, when you find your sense of self in anything, then it can be incredibly chaotic to change. Through this experience, you come to realize that you are more than the box you put yourself in, which is difficult to process, but worth the struggle. Staying where you feel comfortable cuts you off from so much of humanity and other parts of yourself. But when you step outside of your box, you can learn to accept yourself fully—as you were, are and will be. You experience resurrection in a sense; you realize your life is more than the thing that used to give you so much security, and that you have so much room to grow, learn and discover who you are. You learn to change, which is really our true “superpower” as human beings!  

For more on challenging your beliefs and forgiving yourself, listen to my podcast with Josh (episode #521) and check out his work. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).           

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Podcast Highlights 

1:45 We are designed to be curious & change our minds

3:10, 9:10 Josh’s story  

10:00 Josh’s experience with purity culture

17:10 Change can be chaotic & scary but it is worth it 

21:40 Redefining your story through deconstruction & reconstruction 

30:00, 37:20 Overcoming religious trauma  

Switch On Your Brain LLC. is providing this podcast as a public service. Reference to any specific viewpoint or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by our organization. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact       

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional. 

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