I am my worst critic.
I have an elephantine memory. There are things that I may have done, unintentionally, in the distant past. Maybe no one else remembers something inconsequential like me refusing to write an article just because the editor of a magazine changed. But I remember. And there are times that I still curse myself for doing that. That refusal cost me the connection with a big media house at that time. While I have written for many other media houses since then, I feel that I lost out on some opportunities just because of that one mistake that I made. The editor has changed since then, but my association with that particular magazine is still affected.
This is just one example. While at some level, I sincerely believe, that there are no accidents. That everything happens for a reason. Yet, there are so many things from my personal experiences as well that I curse myself for doing. Those incidents are over and done with. Life has moved on, and beautifully. But still these incidents are haunting reminders of the mistakes that I have made in my life.
When I started practicing forgiveness I realised how very freeing it is. It frees me up from the uncomfortable past. Forgiveness just frees you up from emotions that unnecessarily get clogged somewhere in your body-mind. I say "body-mind" because of all the research that shows that unresolved emotional issues create all sorts of blocks in your physical body, hence leading to disease.
You may not even go up to someone to tell them that you've forgiven them. Just forgiving someone in your heart is extremely powerful. While I occasionally forgive people who may have harmed me, intentionally or unintentionally, I know that the most important person that I need to forgive is MYSELF. We are often the harshest on ourselves. We need to understand that none of us are perfect. Just an honest and constant effort to be the best that you can be is enough to lead a deeply fulfilling life.
There is a lovely prayer that encourages you to practice three-fold forgiveness.
- forgive someone who may have harmed you intentionally or unintentionally
- forgive yourself for harming someone intentionally or unintentionally (this includes forgiving yourself if you may have harmed yourself as well)
- forgive yourself if there's still a situation that you're not ready to forgive
We all have grudges with family or friends, colleagues and at times even strangers. When we harbour these grudges we stay connected to those uncomfortable situations through our mind/emotions. Forgiveness just helps you release all the energy that you end up holding unknowingly. Go ahead and give it a try!