“How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.” Publilius Syrus (85BC – 43 BC)
Lately, I have been reflecting a lot on the past – regrets, mistakes. I often find myself wondering, what could I have done differently? From there, it is so easy to start blaming myself for things that didn’t go right. In my experience as a reader, I’m not alone in this.
In my search for answers and understanding, I turned to a deck of Goddess cards that I have. In several readings and meditations, the card for Kuan Yin kept coming up. I always knew of her as the bodhisattva of compassion, but I always thought in terms of compassion for others. But, reading a little more, I realized that she reminds us to have compassion and mercy for ourselves as well.
The fact is, everyone makes mistakes. The most important thing is that you learn from them. It is too easy to focus on the “what if’s” and “if only’s”. The best way to start to move past mistakes and learn from them is through forgiveness.
We are taught from a very young age the value of forgiveness. By forgiving one that has hurt you, you can let go of the pain and move forward. But that teaching is so often focused outwards. Love thy neighbor, forgive and forget, etc – but not love thyself, forgive thyself. I find that we will harbor guilt and resentments towards our own perceived failures that we would never subject a loved one to.
When we forgive someone who has hurt us, we are able to feel lighter – no longer weighed down by negative emotions. Look at the things in your life where you “failed”. If these “failures” were confessed to you by a friend, what would you say to them? How would you console them? Take those words and direct them towards yourself. Forgive yourself for not being perfect, because no one is. Forgive yourself for your failures, because now you know what to avoid in the future. Forgive yourself for the past, because you cannot change it – but you can learn how to be happy today.
Still need a little perspective on how to forgive yourself? Come see me this Friday and Sunday at Cafe Tu Tu Tango for a reading!