The Gentlest Kindness… Self-Forgiveness.
So, none of us are perfect. In fact, we are perfectly imperfect. We have proclivities that can go awry. And we can do some damage to others and ourselves, thanks to our free will and our lack of insight and awareness. So what do we do now after our actions? We have to be humble enough to call it what it is….human error.
Welcome to the human race where none of us know it all or do it all right. But it is in the reflection of our offense that we have the opportunity to become the better person and grow to be the best we can be during our time on earth.
We all have a human debt list, with different items on it. Ours may not be the same as someone else’s, but you can be sure we all have one. How backlogged is yours?
But all is not lost if we can learn from the experience, rethink our actions, move through the uncomfortable feelings and resolve to increase in awareness before we venture out again and repeat the same action. And when appropriate, repair the damage to the relationships it impacted especially the relationship you have with yourself.
Most of us tend to lose a measure of trust, self-respect and self-esteem when our actions are hurtful to others and to ourselves. Without addressing the actions, it is easy to see how we can tie up emotional energy in the wrong direction…toward the hiding from ourselves and others into the darkness of guilt and shame rather than toward the light of inquiry, compassion, insight, resolve and awareness.
But what keeps us from wanting to release its painful grip on us. Perhaps it is because we do not do the work noted above and we think we deserve some kind of punishment. Those of us who have a belief in a punitive God or Higher power rather than a merciful God or Higher Power tend to have a more difficult time with self-forgiveness.
It is interesting that in America, according to a poll taken when America reached the 300 million population mark on Tuesday, October 17, 2006, the majority (close to 70%) believe in a punitive God or higher power. Some studies show it keeps you more honest and less likely to cheat if you believe in a punitive God/Higher Power.
I believe this reflects more our own level of moral development (see Kohlberg’s theory of moral development). The first level of moral development (pre-conventional) has us in obedience out of fear of punishment. If we have the highest level of moral development we would be honest as a practice stemming from value based living rather than rules or convention. But only we can move forward to higher moral development with inquiry, compassion, an understanding of humanity, insight, resolve and awareness.
Is it easy to forgive ourselves? If you have the courage to bear and tolerate discomfort and pain, you will succeed. If we tend to escape this task and hope it goes away by itself we will find ourselves building a dark pool of toxic emotions that keep us from embracing our whole self. It is a journey of many emotions and not all are pleasant but in the end with gained understanding, empathy and resolve we are the better. And this is the gentlest kindness of the gift of self-forgiveness, a better, more understanding and kinder you toward yourself and others.
Many want to take shortcuts and make it an intellectual experience sidestepping the varied emotions evoked. But self-forgiveness is largely emotional with appropriate self-talk and processing guiding the experience.
So think about where you stand in your ability to forgive yourself. Think about the higher power you believe in: punitive or merciful and think about your courage to face and live through uncomfortable emotions.
If you can learn the gentlest kindness: self-forgiveness and truly get to know a merciful Higher Being, you will want to be kind, compassionate and empathetic with everyone and live these qualities out daily with others for this relationship of love, not fear, with our higher being, inspires us to build the bridges of unity. It is in the recognition of our human condition that we can unite and empower each other to be the best human we can be so we can live in the most evolved state of being… a love consciousness that desires each to develop to our fullest in all our human dimensions.

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.
http://www.mariahildapinon.com

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