Acceptance. Accepting others and accepting ourselves. The former comes at ease, the latter lastly, hopefully not too late.
I find myself often in states of self loathing, which eventually blossoms into self compassion once I give myself enough to time to reevaluate, reflect and honestly ask myself “did I do the best in that situation given what I knew then and what I know now?”
Reflection and gazing into the past does have its risks. Eventually I got to stage where the amount of regret regarding past decisions (eg jobs) was suffocating me with stress in the present. That was until one little realistion put a crack in this concept to give me some much needed breathing space. It was that the best decision at the time, may not be the best in the long run.
For the pressures and circumstances of a given situation, trying to make the best move, may the worst move.There were times where I had to act, and I did.
This is how I started to understand acceptance, self compassion and forgiveness. Life is speeding by, time is limited, and the value of the present moment is ours to define in comparison to the past which only has worth based on the lessons we can derive from it. Lessons that also only have their worth, if applied, to the present. Not to the future, because the future itself, will only arrive as a present moment. Credit to one of my favourite philosophers Alan Watts for his beautiful speeches on that topic.
Keep in mind, there needs to be limits to this approach. The difficulty will be encountered not attempting to breach these limits to reach a certain level of acceptance , but in actually enforcing them. You are both the passenger and the gatekeeper. You must know when to accept and release yourself from the prison of the past, and when a degree of prosecution justified. By taking responsibility, we can focus on rehabilitation , and just like a reformed convict, hopefully emerge a better person.
I’ve pulled a great quote from The Six Pillars of Self Esteem (Nathaniel Branden) “I cannot forgive myself for an action I will not acknowledge having taken”
With this in mind, I have started to get better idea why I do certain things, why I feel certain ways. Accepting what is, and looking at why rather than seeking to justify. This is all a prerequisite to the next step which is improvement and change. I hope you join me in doing the same.