“I have learned, that the person I have to ask for forgiveness from the most is: myself. You must love yourself. You have to forgive yourself, everyday, whenever you remember a shortcoming, a flaw, you have to tell yourself “That’s just fine.” You have to forgive yourself so much, until you don’t even see those things anymore. Because that’s what love is like.” ~ C. JoyBell C. …
Following yesterday’s inspiration on accepting ourselves, I would like to delve a bit further into some of what self-acceptance entails: that being self-love. No person is perfect; we all make mistakes in our lives. Yet regardless of this truth, there is no one more deserving of our compassion and gentleness than we are; even more importantly, there is no one more deserving of our forgiveness than we are. Unfortunately, however, there is usually no one who receives less of any of these things from ourselves than us.
Somehow, many of us are more willing to forgive others for their mistakes than we are to forgive us for our own. But by setting unrealistic expectations of ourselves, many of us condemn ourselves to the perpetual cycle of unhappiness–we get down on ourselves and beat ourselves up for not reaching a bar that we never really allowed ourselves to reach.
The result of not being able to forgive ourselves is exponentially negative. First off, it restricts our growth, robbing us of so much of the joy and purpose that is available to us in life. The resulting unhappiness we begin to feel is then spread to others–because we treat ourselves poorly, we also begin to treat others poorly, essentially poisoning the well of life-water for all those around us.
The next time you find yourself in error, ask yourself, “What would I say to someone else who made the same mistake?” Then, resolve to treat yourself with that same compassion, kindness, and understanding. After all, mistakes are for learning from, not for disparaging and demoralizing ourselves. By instead allowing them to teach us and to help us understand ourselves better, we grow stronger and more complete. And it is only from such a place of wholeness that we will ever find happiness, purpose, and peace in life.
Make amends with your past mistakes and find personal forgiveness.
Questions to consider:
Do you ever tend to get down on yourself for your shortcomings and mistakes? If so, when? Why?
Why do you think other people tend to be so hard and unforgiving of themselves?
Can someone who is hard on themselves be gentle and caring with others?
For further thought:
“Often, we are harder on ourselves than others are. If we cannot forgive ourselves, how can we forgive other people? How could I express compassion to anyone when I didn’t know what it was since I couldn’t even express it to myself? . . . . Everyone’s lesson is to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, even those things we feel ashamed about, and learn to accept ourselves for who we are, knowing that we can always gently work on making improvements. For me, the true experience of inner peace began only once I was able to forgive those around me, my parents, and myself. Of course, forgiveness is a continuing process.” ~ Patrick Wanis, PhD