I know I am getting a little personal about my life and I have to admit, I hate doing it but I also don’t want to be bound by strict rules that can diminish more than replenish. There is power in sharing, even on a blog. I’ve been thinking for a while about what I want to write about and today, while listening to the Ted Radio Hour podcast which covered compassion, I realized that the whole show was about compassion towards others. Then it clicked. We extend ourselves and risk something when we show compassion and for those whom sanity still has left some seeds, we get back some joy from that act of compassion. But this is mostly targeted at others, so why not show that same compassion to ourselves. How can we really know what compassion truly feels like unless we bestow it onto ourselves.
Our culture has its fangs deeply into this need to be perfect. We strive daily in our lives to be a perfect worker, perfect parent, perfect child, perfect partner, perfect lover, perfect friend, etc etc. We get judge quickly for not being so perfect and we shape this image in our mind based on this perfect criteria. I can’t say how many times I’ve seen that nervous look in a women’s eyes who has for year’s judged themselves based on their beauty and when it begins to fade or has faded, they find themselves in an uncomfortable place due to the lack of attention. I want to reach out and tell them, I enjoy their company and their character and they don’t need to worry, but I hold back and shut up.
But it goes deeper. Forgiveness has a healing effect on the brain and bitterness, hostility and unforgiveness can demolish a being. The part most get wrong is that they think they have to confront the person they need to forgive, but the truth is that it’s internal and you don’t need any confrontation. They will most likely not change and possibly it is not healthy to be around them, but you can forgive them in your heart for being something they can’t help.
“Our physical brain changes and experiences “renewal” when you choose to forgive. Learning to forgive yourself is not about about forgetting. We may never be free of the actual memory of a painful event, but we can be free from the pain and anger associate with memory”
The point of this post is not about them though, it’s about ourselves. Like the old saying goes “The son of the shoemaker has no shoes”. We put the needs of others ahead of our own repeatedly. Yes, we are the most important. More important than even our Children but not because of anything selfish. Our children form their identity by monitoring us and if they see a happy Individual, they have a chance at learning those habits and if we are negative, they will dwindle in it. I once heard a great advise about marriage that went something like “Make sure your children know they come second to you and your wife so that they learn that marital relationship and grown up needs come first”. Sadly, we were so in love with our kids that we forgot about each other and when the times got bad, the relationship wasn’t strong enough to hold.
So where do I start forgiving myself. How do I go about it? I guess the best way for me is to monitor the thoughts and when I can deal with it in a forgiving manner, do so and when I can’t, hopefully recognize it soon enough. I should recognize the patters and make notes. Maybe it’s a person or a place. Maybe it’s a routine that bring about my state. Maybe write notes to help me see those patters better. It needs to be a daily occurrence and gradually it will build up and become a part of me. Ofcourse, I need to be healthy of mind and body so exercise and meditation and anything that creates that space of silence and freedom is essential.
I haven’t watched the recent Brando documentary based on his recordings, but after reading about it, I found out that he talked to himself and put himself in some sort of a meditative state. I kind of like that. He started with “Listen Marlon…”. Kind of cool actually as long as you don’t start talking back loud! We don’t really acknowledge ourselves and our existence fully. I think we all do it in little portions and as it applies to the situation, hence it make sense if we have a very distorted vision of ourselves and an outsider sometimes can see us more clearly.
So go on, it’s ok, try and start to forgive yourself for all you thought you have done wrong. For all the things we’ve crucified ourselves. For all the things that veered us off the path we thought we should be travelling. It’s OK. You can do that, I can do that. Forgive myself.