April 23, 2013

Setbacks, and Self-Forgiveness

What else is embedded in setbacks? The opportunity for self-forgiveness.

Oops, I guess I have been hard on myself in the aftermath of what I call "my Skype fiasco."  I wanted to fix things with everyone, and explain and make sure I learned all the lessons, so I might not repeat them again.

And I also wanted to go and "correct" folks who take the meeting into their own hands and initiate the call, when the host (in this case, me) is supposed to do it.

All water under the bridge, the past is past, so forgiveness really is the healthiest option, so as to move forward in God's grace.  

The Savior tells us in his Holy words, that we must forgive others seven times seven times. So, why should I not do the same on my own behalf. And forgive myself when I miss the mark that I have set, for achievement? 

Hmm. Exactly why do I not forgive myself? Or look for a scapegoat when I CAN'T forgive myself?

Most times I AM much better at forgiving others, than I can forgive myself. I treat others gently, and hold myself to a higher standard. I might on get mad at someone else when they get in my way of being good enough. 

"Seeing myself objectively is challenging, as I am locked in my own mind. To see myself objectively I have to see myself as I would see another person, in the same situation. When another person hurts me, I am able to perceive the pain as coming from outside of me, so it is possible for me to choose anger or forgiveness for them."

 When I have self-blame it is so much harder to see what I did as separate from the pain. If I have self-blame it is harder to understand its source, and what to do with it. When I take time to be aware of the ways I hurt myself, I can begin to understand myself better and forgive my actions towards myself.

Yes, I can see that setbacks offer me ample chances to practice self-forgiveness! Each time I slip in establishing a new discipline, there is that opportunity. 

A crossroads, actually.  Recognizing that crossroads, consistently, is the hardest part. It is when I see that I have a choice, between judgment and forgiveness, that I have the real power to forgive. 

Do you think that self-criticism is way to reinforce discipline?  To forgive oneself, does not diminish the commitment, rather it acknowledges that we are human and will slip. We deserve forgiveness for our honesty. We don't need to be whipped in order to persevere.

When I forgive myself I don't make excuses, or pretend something did not happen. Instead, i say, "You made an error, and I feel compassionate towards you for trying."  Forgiveness allows me to  let go and move forward and learn from the mistake. 

Whenever I commit myself to change, there will always be set backs, or opportunities to relearn (or unlearn). When I practice self-forgiveness, it benefits those around me, too. Through practicing self-forgiveness, and experiencing its effect on ourselves, we increase our capacity of compassion for others' mistakes too.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to think about treating others as I would like to be treated--not being judgmental or blaming them. Hard to do in practice but my fourth step tells me to look at my part and my ninth and tenth steps tell me to make amends and admit when I'm wrong. Good for me to think about.


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