” the image in the mirror has been and will always be by your side from the birth to death, forgiving oneself is the best long term strategy.” – Kelechi Oji
In life, we make mistakes as children, and as adults, the former is easygoing; the problem is in the latter. Growing up as kids, when we made mistakes, we were reprimanded and disciplined by parents, teachers, and other adults in our lives, yet we moved on quickly. We moved on to commit other errors requiring such sanction as the first, but we still moved on. We grew up looking back at those whimsical days of error with a smile and pride of maturity. Now we are all adults, with a thousand free choices and no one watching our every move. The responsibility to succeed at anything lies in our hands and our abilities to see it through. When we fail, we are left with no one but ourselves. Who will reprimand us? Where is the penalty for error as it was in the good young days? Who will rule over us and tell us to be right and correct our wrong? No one emerges to take responsibility for the question asked. Just before we think we are alone, the man in the mirror appears as the ideal perfectionist, criticizing our very existences, lacerating our errors, and degrading any success we may have achieved. This puritanical reflection condemns us in the most deconstructive manner. Then we are left alone with two parts of ourselves, the “oppressed self” and the “oppressor of self .”
The question is, who will save us from this distasteful version of us? Who will redeem us from our oppressor? Well, this is a one vs. one battle, and whatever the outcome is, you will be both the winner and the loser—the contradicting duality of oneself. The struggle never truly ends. If you win, your life improves, seeing your error as a lesson. If the other side wins, you will become resentful, hateful, and depressed. There is more to this ongoing battle. Who is the judge to declare the winner? I mean, if the judge doesn’t end the battle, then there isn’t a winner or loser, and if the judge concludes the war, he would have to declare who the winner is based on specific criteria. So, in short, this is not a duality but rather tripartite(the good, the evil, and the judge).
How can we forgive friends, family, and colleagues yet find it difficult to forgive ourselves? This unforgivable mistake you committed if an external person committed such an error against you, how long will you hold a grudge? How long will you need to forgive this loving friend? Not long, I guess. Forgiveness is essential for the reign of peace and harmony. You have to move past the current circumstance, so you are left with no option but to show mercy or at least ignore it.
Think about any seemingly unforgivable error but change the actor from yourself to someone you love, your spouse or mother. How easy will you forgive them? If you will forgive the ones you genuinely love but not yourself? Then maybe you don’t love yourself, and if you don’t love yourself, how dare you say you love someone else. I mean, you can only pour from a filled cup.
You are the best you got, or at least you should be the best you have. You must love yourself more than anyone else will or can. If you can’t practically adore yourself, then set up a standard of what you define as love, then pursue to meet those standards; this will help you know when you or an external person isn’t giving you what you consider the best version of love.
Forgive yourself, pick your good self and fight the wrong side with love that only you can give. Empower yourself with positive affirmation; condemn anything that condemns you deconstructively. Unforgiveness is the strength of the terrible side. Expose yourself to the possibility of love, treat yourself as one worth respecting and taking care of. Look at the reflection in the mirror and define the image you want to see. You see the image, and you are the creator of such an image. List out things you feel that are unforgivable, make an effort to change the issues that can be changed, for the problems that can’t be changed, write out lessons you have learned from them. Think deeply before writing any lessons down; lessons are essential for growth. Then move on. Speak to friends, and family that genuinely love you, ones you can share bad news with, listen to how they respond to your plight. You can gain one or two from their responses.
In the end, you are the judge; you determine when the battle is over, and you alone can declare the winner of such contests. So don’t end this fight until you stand above all the deconstructive criticism.