Forgiving yourself and others is an essential step to take if you wish to experience more peace and contentment in your life.
Most, if not all of us, have been programmed from an early age to be self-critical and to believe that we are never good enough. Holding judgement, anger and resentment towards ourselves and others is a major drain on our energy and also pollutes our inner space.
Practicing forgiveness can free up a tremendous amount of energy and vitality, not to mention joy and happiness!
While we are often willing to forgive others for fairly major indiscretions, there is a tendency in many people to beat themselves up for relatively trivial things.
Why are we so hard on ourselves?
We are programmed from an early age to be self-critical.
When we were little, our unconscious parents, teachers and society projected their own
judgements and insecurities onto us, as their parents did to them.
There is no judgement in this statement, for they were truly innocent.
Lacking the capacity to discern truth from untruth, we simply absorbed, as truth, everything we were fed. We live in a society where judging, criticising and blaming are the norm.
If you tell a two year-old that they are bad or stupid it is taken as truth. These patterns are so firmly imbedded in our psyche that on a deep, sub-conscious level we still believe that we are basically flawed and never good enough. We then constantly find justification for that belief in our selective interpretation of the events and circumstances of our lives.
I hope that, in reading these words, you are already feeling a little more love and compassion towards yourself.
When you clearly understand the roots and causes of self-judgement, forgiving yourself becomes much easier.
After years of criticism as a child, I grew up to be very hard on myself. We don't realise as children that the adults around us have their own issues. Our interpretation of criticism is that there is something wrong with us.
The day I saw through this and proclaimed myself "innocent of all charges" was one of the sweetest of my life ... what a relief to know that, given my upbringing, I could not have come to any other other conclusion about myself.
For me , this shift occurred from understanding that:
• I had no choice over the beliefs and programming that I took on board as a child.
• My parents, my teachers, the society were not to blame either. They did the best they could according to their own level of awareness.
• Every choice I have ever made in the past was the best I could make at the time. If I had known better, I may have made different choices.
• To be imperfect, to make mistakes, to be flawed, weak or afraid is simply part of being human.
You Are An Ass, I Am An Ass!
will finish by sharing some words I love from spiritual teacher and author, Anthony de Mello. He says
that, until people become spiritually aware, they will inevitably screw
up (that's my words!) and make unconscious choices over and over. When
we are asleep we will act like asses.
So, the next time you do something stupid or someone else acts in a stupid manner, ask yourself: "What do you expect from an ass?"
Which reminds me ...another key factor in forgiving yourself is to develop the ability to laugh at your own imperfections and not to take yourself or your life too seriously
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