Warning: Some strong language ahead!
In many ways, this interesting and challenging topic of self-forgiveness comes down to one main point. We have all been assholes in the past and we will all definitely be assholes in one way or another in the future.
It just kind of comes with the territory of being human.
In the state of natural human confusion in which we live each day, it can be challenging just to get through the day and survive. We are all just trying to make the best of it, and often this includes reacting, lashing out, saying the wrong things and offending people.
And, generally, we don’t like this part of being human. We don’t want to screw up; we want to get it right. Unfortunately, getting it right doesn’t exist, so we are constantly disappointed.
Our sense of self struggles to handle this disappointment. It is too fragile, and the fact we have “fucked up” in the past and are definitely going to make a mess of everything again in the future is painful. This is why it is so important that we each get better at being at home with our own hurt. We can do this by letting ourselves become softer.
I rarely think of myself as a soft person. I like bold colors and have the absolute opposite of a soft voice—when I speak normally it often sounds like I am screaming.
But softness doesn’t look like being a quiet person. It looks like telling ourselves, Good try, you’ll do better next time, when things don’t go quite right, and seeing that our mistakes weren’t purposeful assaults on our barely held-together lives, but simply mistakes.
Softness looks like seeing our own innocence.
We make a comment that offends someone and we feel the sting of being put in our place, and instead of lashing out at ourselves by talking trash to our own selves in our minds with words such as, What an idiot I am or, How can I keep being such a loser? we can choose to see our own innocence.
Mostly, we are just trying to do our best, anyway. We are just trying to get our needs met, feel a little love or feel like we are heard,.
Okay, sometimes it happens that we are mad and want to hurt others, but can we see the innocence even in this choice? Can we see our sensitive ego trying to make things right, in the only way it knows how, even if it is misdirected?
Most of the time we are misdirected, but that is simply because no one has ever told us what direction to go in—and that is because there is no direction to go in, and we really don’t like this reality at all.
At least the ego doesn’t.
We have all had the experience of our minds going quiet.
Maybe when we have been between awake and asleep, or maybe when we have had a euphoric experience in nature or during sex.
In this state, we are immersed in the soft innocence of existence.
The more time we choose to spend in this state of reality, where the mind is quiet and we embody the moment instead of judging and rationalizing it, the less identified we are with our own egos.
From this place, self-forgiveness becomes pretty easy.
We see that we are confused, and we understand this confusion is a natural state of the human condition.
The term, “letting go” gets thrown around a lot. “Just let that go,” people tell you when you are mad or resentful. But mostly, people have no clue how to let go. We think we need the pain in order to keep ourselves in line to avoid mistakes in the future.
But from a place of understanding our own innocence, it is easy not to hold on. We use love and compassion to say to ourselves, Oops, you tried your best, no big deal, and from this place we walk away. We let go.
We don’t need to learn a lesson.
We don’t need to punish ourselves.
We see that all emotional and physical states are temporary and we let the one that has just come up pass easily through our systems by not grabbing onto it with judgment and shame. We soften, and we apologize to ourselves for being mean and judgmental, and we press the reset button on our consciousness and come back to center or neutral, which looks like a quiet mindful moment.
Then we start again.
We let the present moment be new and fresh, and not tainted with judgment for what happened five minutes ago, five years ago or 15 years ago.
It is over.
And we were innocent and confused when the thing we need to forgive happened, and we will be innocent and confused when the next faux pas happens, and the more we forgive the last moment, the easier it will be to forgive the next moment.
This is how we become kinder people.
There is so much hardness in the world, and often we feel like we need to be hard, tough and mean to survive. And perhaps there are moments where this is true.
But let’s not forget getting soft and connecting with our own innocence as a means of healing. Let’s not forget letting it all settle down, to absolute stillness, where all we see is the perfection of the moment, and the innocence of this incarnation where all we have to do is improve our personal karma through kindness and forgiveness, it doesn’t seem that hard when put that way, does it?
Forgiving Ourselves: How to Let Things Go.
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Toby Israel
Images: Stew Dean/Flickr // L. Whittaker/Flickr
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