How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself. Publilius Syrus
Many of us live with regrets and those regrets never let us enjoy our life to the fullest. There is always that lingering feeling of uneasiness that mars our bliss, spoils our fun and restrains our exuberance. What compounds our misery is that our regrets are of our making, they are often not life threatening but would certainly qualify to be life altering and they can be overcome with patience and resilience, provided we are prepared to let go the hurt, erases the pain from our heart and mind and accept the reality that the past cant be changed. Most regrets are relationship related and we could either be the culprit or the victim and it takes tremendous fortitude to overcome the past and forgive ourselves.
We do not forgive our selves particularly when we have hurt people very close to us or when we realize that we have let down those close to us because of our own folly. Many a time children regret their rather brash and rude behavior with their parents much later in life and by then there is a perceived divide that the child in us cant forget but which the parent has forgiven and possibly forgotten. Anger is a key trigger that ignites uncouth behavior and threatens relationships. When in anger we resort to plain speak often bordering on the uncouth, make wild and hurtful accusations, twist facts to hurt and humiliate others at whom we are angry and even lapse into making wild assumptions that translate into pitiful laments and harsh accusations. Then when we are more clear headed, we often become remorseful and regret our actions and continue to wallow in self pity.
Our plight is made miserable by the reality that the past can’t be undone and much as we wish we cannot erase those memories from our life. The challenge for us is to get to terms with this reality and realize that just as we have the power and the need to forgive others, we have to exercise this power to forgive ourselves too. To do this, we first need to accept the reality that the past can’t be changed nor can the painful memories be erased. Then possibly we can attempt to minimize the guilt by apologizing to the aggrieved party/ parties if possible. This is very very tough because it is an admission of our own errors and to admit that means hurting our own ego. Thereafter it is then essential that one genuinely feels sorry for the indiscretions (Catholics have the sacrament of Confession which is wonderful heart cleanser if practiced with earnestness). In cleaning our heart and mind by using the twin detergents of apology and remorse, we will have forgiven ourselves.
No sooner we manage to forgive ourselves a big burden is lifted off our backs and we begin to breathe easy, feel rejuvenated and begin to view our surroundings in new light. There is a spring in our step, a glow o our face and a warmth in our hearts that will automatically be transmitted to all those whom we come in contact with. There is no more regret, no more guilt and no more unhappiness.
Remember: Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting. ~William Arthur Ward
- Recollect at least 3 situations when in your anger you have either hurt/ humiliated/ insulted /ignored /answered back / accused unfairly / shouted at someone. Ask yourself if you now regret that behavior. Do you still carry the burden of that indiscretion. If yes work out a way to forgive yourself of that guilt.
- If someone who hurt you and insulted you terribly sought your forgiveness would you be able to forgive easily and freely. If not ask your self if your digging a grave of regret for yourself. If you can forgive freely, examine your own feelings thereafter and feel yourself unburdened and relaxed.
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