The Importance of (Self) Forgiveness
There is a song by the Velvet Underground called “Candy Says”. I was listening to it the other day, cleaning my house, not really paying much attention, when one line jumped out and struck me like a lightning bolt. It had a deeply sobering and somewhat saddening effect on me. It asked, “what do you think I’d see, if I could walk away from me?
It didn’t make me question whether others thought I was kind. Or loving. Or thoughtful. Or compassionate. In fact, it didn’t make me consider what others thought of me at all. It made me wonder if I saw myself, interacting with a stranger or loved one, waking up in the morning or going to sleep at night, in my best times and in my worst times, what would I think of me?
Would I be proud of how I live my life? Would I respect the decisions I make? Would I regret the way I’ve acted, the things I’ve said or done? Do I live by my code of honor? Do I even know what my honor code is?
Really looking inside of yourself. Really delving deep enough to find your true, raw self is a journey many people choose not to take. I’ve only skimmed the surface and have had some very difficult realizations.
Forgiveness is not easy. But let’s be honest, it’s much easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. And because of this, that ball of guilt and shame grows larger and larger and more and more consuming until we don’t know who we are anymore. We don’t know what we actually value and what we hold as our truths. If you haven’t done so in a while, ask yourself what you need to be forgiven for – and then do it. You are a different person today than you were yesterday and will be tomorrow. And life is about learning and living and a lot of times that means making mistakes. Forgiving yourself doesn’t mean accepting, it means creating space for growth and actualization.
Once you’ve acknowledged your mistakes and let them go ask yourself what you would like to see if you could step outside yourself and look back at you. And then do it. Live it. Be it. Embody it. That is your personal honor code, and only by living according to that will you achieve true happiness.