“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” C.S. Lewis
“It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.” Steve Maraboli
“Letting ourselves be forgiven is one of the most difficult healings we will undertake. And one of the most fruitful. ” Stephan Levine
There is so much talk about forgiving others and that is as it should be. However, I believe we have forgotten to include ourselves in the mix. I hate to admit I have made a mistake. It is demeaning to me to be found in the wrong, I feel so terrible. I can assume we all get that sense when we honestly confront ourselves about an issue and find that we are wrong. It is so difficult to apologize and even harder to forgive ourselves. I think it is easier to forgive others than me. Sometimes it feels as if my pride has been wounded when another finds me to be at fault. Maybe it has to do with pride. We have an image of who we are and we like others to see that perfect image. We don’t have faith in this image of ourselves. However, when involved in the world it is easy to get caught up into big and minor situations that compromise our views. Many times we go along to get along. We admit to ourselves that you can’t fight city hall or the throngs of people.
Depending on the gravity of the situation, we might feel compromised and it can leave us devastated at how we so easily tossed our integrity aside. This can happen within the home, workplace, dealings with others or anywhere else. The main idea is we are forced all the time to choose, choose, choose. It can defeat all of us. After all, we get tired, angry and anxious to deal with those issues we deem to be more important in our lives.
Those of us who work in factories building planes are not necessarily for war or bombs being placed on these planes. Maybe we work on benefits for families and are relegated to denying certain applications of those who don’t qualify. In our hearts, we want to help and maybe after a while, it gets to us. Unfortunately, every move we make has an effect on other things and other people. It also has an effect on us. The effect of what we say and do is so far-reaching. I don’t say this to cause us any more anxiety than we already endure but to open our eyes to the need for thought in all areas.
The simple actions towards our children every day tell them something about how we think and feel about them. We can’t profess one thing yet portray another thing. Maybe in a sense, we are teaching our kids how to get along in the world with compromising. Words have little effect when actions are clearly obvious and brutal.
For instance, to encourage kids to refrain from drinking will not work if they see us over-drinking a lot of the times. In order to promote an environment that is healthy we must act accordingly. Not easy. Kids for sure make us evaluate what we do and say. So many of us refrain from foul language when the kids are very young. As they mature our language also matures and manifests with anger. We are perpetuating foul language. Coming to terms with this isn’t easy. Our spirits are fragile. The sudden onslaught of vulgarity for any reason flies in the face of love.
I believe that is why we begin losing faith in us and our ability to be good or worthy. At this point, if we give it up we have taken the easy road. We suspend all efforts of improving. I for one feel like a coward when I do this. Giving up is also what we are doing when we compromise our values and integrity. That is why it hurts so much and at times we hate to forgive ourselves. Of course, in time we don’t know who we are anymore.
Just as we can’t take the easy route and surrender so too we can’t withhold forgiveness from ourselves because our actions are so abominable. Life is not a game of winners and losers. It is a journey towards a coming together of body mind and spirit. It is the courage to open up the large boxes one at a time, until at last we reach the gift in the last and smallest box. We can’t begin with the last box. It is impossible. But as each one is opened it feels good because we are closer to the treasure which is to be found at the end of our journey.
If we fear to approach the gifts and want to remain comfortable doing and repeating our mistakes, we will never get closer to the goal. Learning soccer and hockey and any sport is a step by step process. Learning a musical instrument or any field of knowledge is step by step. Include in the learning, acquiring the information we need to improve our souls. If we are willing we can do it but it is tedious and again step by step.
Mentioning souls is like talking about a taboo subject. Deep down the majority of us have faith in the notion of having a soul yet none of us or a few of us would ever discuss our souls with another individual. We barely recognize it in our own minds. It makes us and others uncomfortable. How ridiculous is that when our purpose for life is to learn and improve our spiritual being. the rest is fluff. If we don’t understand that, we can get on with the unimportant things in life. If we do comprehend the magnitude then we have taken the first step and opened the first box. Life will never be the same.
Forgiving others and ourselves is paramount. Just ask yourself if you would expect your six-year-old or ten-year-old to do calculus or organic chemistry. We would all laugh. The same is true with our souls’ learning. We can’t expect to have all of the answers. Refusing to give up our efforts is crucial. That is the key to acquiring anything. The power of perseverance is liberating in so many ways. By steadfastly working towards our improvement and possibly helping others along the way we are fulfilling our journey towards a better understanding about the meaning of our life.
Always pardon your own mistakes with only one prerequisite, honest remorse. We can’t compare our own sorrow with another person. We feel it in our own unique way which doesn’t make us worthier or less of a person than another. By pardoning not only others but ourselves included, we allow us to begin again. We have that option of hope and the ability to attempt to do things in an improved way. I always believe in baby steps. They appear simpler and more manageable. They lead to the same end as a giant step. We can’t forget the turtle won the race, not the rabbit. Maybe being more like the turtle we are allowed to have time for thought and reflection.
If the turtle gave up as he observed the rabbit bounce further and further out of sight, he would not have won. If we give up we have already lost. there may be obstacles and even backward movement. So what. It isn’t a big problem. We just need to pick ourselves up and continue reaching for the treasure. We can all make progress and exceed or excel. Have faith hope and forgiveness towards one’s self.
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” Alexander Pope
We are all mistaken sometimes; sometimes we do wrong things, things that have bad consequences. But it does not mean we are evil, or that we cannot be trusted ever afterward.” Allison Croggon
“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” Will Smith
“I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.” C.S. Lewis