There are a lot of infographics doing the rounds on social media that encourage us to forgive ourselves, be kind to ourselves, love ourselves. And let’s face it, the world is full of bastards who want to grind us down. We need to be kind to ourselves.
But not too kind. We need love, but sometimes we need tough love.
Pick a random person and analyze their life. Ruthlessly pick through their actions and thoughts. Make a note of all the things they did wrong, the ideas they misunderstood, the people they let down, their multitudinous failures. Be merciless in your analysis. The mistakes are so easy to see if you look closely.
Now look at your own life. Can you spot the mistakes so easily? Are you aware of everything you did or said that could have been done or said better? Can you tell which of your beliefs are fundamentally wrong? If you could go back and live your life again, would you do it better next time?
The problem is that it’s hard to see our own mistakes. We’re biased. We can mis-spell a word and our error sits there in plain view on the page, mocking us openly. We just don’t see it.
Others see our mistakes all too clearly.
Some will use our failings to put us down. Avoid those people.
Some will make helpful, constructive comments that we can learn from, if we are open to learning.
Some will gloss over our faults, forgive us unconditionally and heap praise on us, however small our achievements. We all need people like that in our lives. But not too many. Because if we are going to reach our goals in life, we need to know when we are moving in the wrong direction.
To accept our failings and correct them we first need confidence. We need to know that we are capable of loving and being loved. That we have infinite potential for good. That each one of us is a living miracle with unique and valuable skills. That we are truly remarkable individuals.
So first we need to make ourselves strong. Then we must recognize and fix our mistakes.
And then we can help others become stronger and better too.