September 11    

Today's quotation:

Being gentle means forgiving yourself when you mess up.  We should learn from our mistakes, but we shouldn't beat the tar out of ourselves over them.  The past is just that, past.  Learn what went wrong and why.  Make amends if you need to.  Then drop it and move on.

Sean Covey

Today's Meditation:

There's no one more deserving of our compassion and gentleness than ourselves.  There's no one more deserving of our forgiveness and kindness than ourselves.  Usually, though, there's no one who receives less of any of these things than ourselves.

It's hard sometimes to be kind to ourselves when we have artificially high expectations of ourselves.  Somehow we are more willing to forgive others for their mistakes than we are to forgive ourselves, and this tendency often has pretty drastic effects on ourselves.

One rule of thumb that I use is pretty simple:  what would I say to someone else who just made the same mistake that I did?  And what would I say to someone who was even more vulnerable due to a particular emotional or mental state?  And then I treat myself with the same kindness and compassion I would show this other person.  Being hard on myself serves absolutely no purpose other than to keep me trapped in the past due to a lack of forgiveness, and I don't want to ruin tomorrow because I'm so caught up with what I did yesterday.

I want to learn in life, and I want that learning to help me to become a stronger, more compassionate person tomorrow.  If I'm so busy being mad at myself for yesterday's mistake, though, how can I be more loving and compassionate with others?  The way I treat others definitely is affected by the way I treat myself.

Questions to consider:

On what occasions do you tend to beat yourself up?

Why are so many people so hard on themselves?

Can someone who's hard on themselves be gentle and caring with others?

For further thought:

Often, we are harder on ourselves than others are.  If we cannot forgive ourselves, how can we forgive other people?  Everyone's lesson is to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, even those things we feel ashamed about, and learn to accept ourselves for who we are, knowing that we can always gently work on making improvements.  For me, the true experience of inner peace began only once I was able to forgive those around me, my parents, and myself.

Patrick Wanis

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