How to Be Compassionate: Forgive yourself as you would a friend
It’s really so easy to get down on ourselves. One slip-up and we’re quick to start calling ourselves the kinds of names that we would usually reserve for the worst kinds of villains. When it comes to judging our mistakes in life, we act like the bully on the playground who picks out a single flaw and magnifies it to the point of cruel parody. We say things to ourselves that we would never consider saying to someone we love.
If someone were to speak to us with the kind of vindictive judgment we reserve for ourselves, we would be very quick to take offense at it. We might refuse to allow that person into our lives. And certainly, we would rush to the defense of a friend if someone described them with the kinds of words we use to describe ourselves.
So we need to practice compassionate forgiveness towards ourselves when we slip up in life. We need to see ourselves as worthy of the kind of compassion and forgiveness we would gladly offer those we love.
Forgiveness is not always an easy thing. Many of us struggle to forgive those who have hurt us. We need to see forgiveness as a deep spiritual practice. And I say “practice” because we need to practice at it to get good at it. Perhaps if we practice forgiving ourselves, lovingly, gently, compassionately, and consistently — when the need comes to forgive others, we will know how to do it, because we have practiced so well on ourselves.