We are often reminded of the importance of forgiving others. When we fail to forgive and harbor resentment, we usually only hurt ourselves (though we often feel self-righteous certainty that we alone were right. And sometimes we are right, but we certainly don’t hurt the other person — at all — by holding onto negative feelings).
However, I think it is much harder to practice self-forgiveness. Once we give up the illusion that we can (or want) to be perfect, we are going to have to come to terms with the fact that we aren’t perfect and that can be OK. In fact, we are going to mess up…sometimes we are going to mess up royally (at least I have anyway). Or at the very least, we are going to piss other people off because we aren’t going around with our usual people-pleasing antics.
In her book, the Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown talks about a related concept of self-compassion and the gifts that forgiveness and compassion of the self can bring us on daily basis. I’m trying to keep them in mind.
Self-kindness: Being understanding rather than critical when we fail or feel inadequate.
Common humanity: Recognizing that feelings of failure or inadequacy are common to everyone and in fact can be the key to connecting with others.
Mindfulness: Staying in the present moment and neither minimizing nor exaggerating our current feelings about the situation.
I don’t think that it is a coincidence that I got this stone from a friend (thank you Ms. Moser)… I think it can be hard to have the guts to practice self-forgiveness unless we get permission from someone else. Today, I hope to pass that gift onto you — forgive yourself — whether it be for a small or large transgression. By doing so, you give others permission to do the same.