Many people have a hard time forgiving others, but for some people, the hardest person to forgive is themself. They seem to hold themselves to a higher standard that does not deserve forgiveness. I have found that some of the nicest and kindest people feel this way. I love these wonderful and kind friends but this kind of thinking equates to holding love back from yourself and you need your love!
I recently came across a similar and highly instructive example of this in the newly published book, “meditations on a blue vase, The Collected Papers of Arthur J. Deikman.” In this section Dr. Deikman relates an experience that occurred while he was in charge of a psychiatric ward where patients would often think they were a hopeless cause. In group therapy…
“Each patient would be asked his or her opinion as to whether or not the other patients were hopeless. The patient being questioned would invariably say that none of the patients were hopeless. Then when asked about himself or herself, the patient would affirm vigorously that he or she, however, was hopeless.
The same procedure would be repeated with each patient in the group until each patient had maintained that he or she was hopeless while the other were not, and the absurdity of the situation became too evident to be ignored. After a while, the most resolutely hopeless patient would begin smiling despite the grimmest of intention.”
So if you feel that you are one of these people that feels that others are to be forgiven but not yourself, please image a circle of friends or strangers. Listen to their imaginary stories. If you knew their whole story, would you forgive them? Imagine someone else telling your story. Direct your kind and forgiving nature to that person. Send them all the love and compassion that you normally feel for others and then, when ready, redirect that feeling towards yourself.
You deserve the same level of forgiveness that we all do. It can be a great release to realize that you don’t need to be more perfect than anyone else and that you are allowed to make mistakes just like everyone else. We are all in this together. When you forgive yourself you will able to lead others who used to think like you did. So I will start a new circle, “I love and forgive myself and I love and forgive you”. Pass it on!