In those moments when we bring the hammer down the hardest on ourselves, is precisely when we should be the most compassionate.
Bringing love and acceptance into our lives where they are typically painfully absent, this is a gift we give ourselves.
But it’s hard work. Forgiveness is not something we do naturally. In fact, we are genetically predispositioned against it.
Debotton, my favorite modern philosopher, explains how humans weren’t properly equipped by our histories:
The whole idea of compassion and forgiveness wasn’t evolutionarily advantageous, so it’s not something we got good at. We are frightened creatures always looking out for signs that we have grown soft, he writes. We are aware that, by being kind to ourselves, we may overindulge our undeserving characters, miss valuable insights and ruin our potential.
Makes sense, right?
Let’s take a look at my greatest hits album as a case study.
Forgetting appointments, missing alarms, losing possessions, breaking dishes, making social blunders, smashing my fingers in the door, these are just a few of the experiences in which my inner voice becomes more negative than normal.
Resulting in calling myself awful names that a friend or family member would never dare say to me.
Can you relate to that?
And yet, in these moments, there is a change to broaden our perspective of our wrongs. Instead of deciding our sense of competency has been undone by a single mistake, we can play a more loving and curious script inside our heads.
What if you aren’t a stupid person, simply a person who has acted stupidly?
What if you are not a good or bad person, simply a person who has good and bad traits and who does good and bad things?
Clearly, it’s not natural to ask these questions of ourselves.
But the script our genetics have given us may no longer fit the story we want to live. That old voice inside our heads doesn’t have to be the arbiter of our reality.
We can forgive ourselves for being human.
We can deliberately act lovingly rather than critical toward ourselves.
It takes the same amount of energy, it’s simply a matter of channeling it into the most compassionate direction.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What if deliberately forgiving yourself for not being perfect comforted you?